STARLAB® is the first truly portable planetarium invented back in 1977 by Philip Sadler and his class of middle school students in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Today STARLAB® is the most widely used planetarium in the world. It continues to provide a universe of opportunity to many people who previously did not have access. STARLAB® is the product of the efforts of many different people: students, educators, family members, and friends. Many have seen the promise of portable planetaria, and these teachers, museum educators, university professors, and school administrators have helped to guide and influence the development of STARLAB®, its supporting materials and the unique ways it has come to be used in schools and museums around the world.
The first curricula developed exclusively for the STARLAB® in 1979 were the product of a grant from the Nebraska Department of Education that were aimed at helping teachers utilize the STARLAB®s supplied by Nebraska’s Educational Service Units. These guides were found to be so effective that they became part of the materials sent with every STARLAB®. As classroom teachers and curriculum developers began to adapt the STARLAB® to their own particular needs, Learning Technologies maintained a policy to distribute these lessons free of cost to interested teachers. STARLAB® has become a part of many peoples’ lives. Along the way, it has been adopted by many different groups:
- intermediate units, large organizations that serve many schools,
- school systems to use throughout their districts,
- science museums for outreach activities,
- individual schools, both public and private,
- camps and scouting groups,
- and individuals, often bringing astronomy to rural schools for the first time.
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