K-12 Student Research

Early engagement in authentic STEM research motivates students to enter into and persist on a STEM path toward becoming a STEM professional, and the Green Bank Observatory provides many opportunities for students to practice science and engineering. Some require your presence onsite, but we also have online opportunities. If you are an undergraduate or graduate student, please visit [the undergraduate/graduate programs] page to learn more about opportunities for you.

Pocahontas County Science Fair

The Green Bank Science Center hosts the annual county-wide science fair for students in grade 3 and up. We’ll visit your school and help students design science and engineering experiments. On Fair Day, students spend the whole school day at the Observatory and participate in hands-on activities and demos, as well as having their projects judged of course!

Radio Astronomer for a Day – Grades 5+

What sets a scientist apart is that they tackle questions that don’t yet have answers. You can’t just “google it” when you are doing science. School groups and youth groups of all kinds and ages may visit the Observatory for an overnight stay or participate virtually. Conduct observations with a working radio telescope! For in-person visits, we supplement the program with tours and hands-on activities as well. This program meets NGSS Nature of Science standards.
Program cost: Free!
Room & board: Costs vary, contact gro.y1716986913rotav1716986913resbo1716986913bg@sn1716986913oitav1716986913reser1716986913
For more information visit our field trips page.

Skynet Junior Scholars

Sharing the Universe with youth. That’s what Skynet Junior Scholars is all about. Youth Leaders and Educators sign up for Skynet Junior Scholars (SJS) and can then enroll students in an SJS Club. That’s when the fun begins!

Leaders and youth gain access to research grade telescopes around the world including a 20 Meter Radio Telescope here in Green Bank! Through a series of fun observational astronomy activities, you can take images and radio data, do experiments, earn online badges, and participate in research projects like tracking asteroids. Collaborate with others via our online forum and team projects. All the learning and observing is online, so what are you waiting for?

Visit the website to learn more

image of centaurius A
Centaurus A imaged and processed by SJS member Surfer9

Pulsar Science Collaboratory

The Pulsar Science Collaboratory (PSC) is a joint project between the Green Bank Observatory and West Virginia University (WVU), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The goal of the PSC  is to give high school students, early college students and their teachers experience doing real research, all while helping pulsar astronomers analyze mountains of data to search for new pulsars!

basic image of a pulsar
Basics of a Pulsar CREDIT: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

Would you like to join the team? Twice each academic year we hold a six-week online course to prepare you to be diligent researchers. Students, teachers and professors can sign up. Once you pass muster you will be granted access to “raw” data, and the research begins. Active teachers and students may apply to summer camp and attend annual capstone events as well. We have a dedicated website for the project. Learn more and apply to become a PSC member!

Physics Inspiring the Next Generation: Exploring the Cosmos Summer Camp

PING began as collaboration between the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP), the Green Bank Observatory (GBO) and Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) to expose traditionally underrepresented minorities to science and engineering with a focus on physics and radio-astronomy. Launched in 2014, the the PING program focuses on multiple levels of the physics and astronomy pipeline, and includes a two-week summer camp that engages middle school students in physics and astronomy.

PING Summer Camp. Rising 9th-graders will attend camp for 12 days in 2024, and will be immersed in the research activities of Green Bank Observatory. Students will work in small teams supported by an undergraduate student mentor and a staff scientist (astronomer, physicist, engineer, etc.) to conduct research by observing the universe with a 40-foot diameter radio telescope. Supplemental educational activities, including bench experiences building electronic circuits, and coding activities complement the primary research theme and enhance our engaging atmosphere. In addition, fun group activities like star gazing, games, hiking, and talent-share sessions (where mentors teach campers anything from a new language to origami) will take place to promote community building and the overall camp experience.

Applications are due May 27th, 2024. For more information, including application instructions, check out the website below!

The program targets specifically two national initiatives, My Brother’s Keeper which is working to address the education needs of young men of color, and a second effort to promote interest in science among girls.  However, all current 8th-graders (rising 9th-graders) are welcome to apply!

Questions about the PING program?  Please contact ude.o1716986913arn@t1716986913niase1716986913ds1716986913

WV Governor’s STEM Institute

Green Bank Observatory hosts the WV GSI for 60 talented 8th graders from around the state who love science, engineering and math. This two-week residential program engages students in radio astronomy research, STEM explorations, outdoor activities and community, all set within an internationally renowned federal research center (the Green Bank Observatory). Applications are submitted to the WV Department of Education. We also seek teachers and undergraduate student mentors to help lead this program. For more information about the application process and links visit: https://wvde.us/gov-schools/