Our History

In the beginning, Hands-on Universe (HOU) was a major US project.

The Hands-On Universe (HOU) project began in 1994 when Carl Pennypacker, a supernova research astronomer at University of California Berkeley, invited a group of astronomers and educators to a meeting at the Lazy-K Ranch near Tucson Arizona USA. In sharing of ideas about how to make astronomy education better, the idea of making real telescopes and telescope images available to teachers and students took root. Along with that, image processing software tools became necessary to provide, as well as cooperation among astronomers and observatories to make telescope instruments available for use by schools.

Staff members at TERC, Jodi Asbell-Clarke and Tim Barclay, were enlisted to devise curriculum guides for teachers and students to use image processing software and observatory images in classroom activities. Hundreds of teachers were trained in the curriculum techniques. Lawrence Hall of Science (UC Berkeley) staff were involved at the first progenitor workshop at Lazy-K Ranch. Later starting in 1998, with NSF and NASA grant projects, HOU involved hundreds more high school and middle school teachers.

Several years after that, a conference was held in Sweden. There were people there from every continent who wanted to play a part. “G” was added to HOU thus the Birth of GHOU: In 1996,  led by teacher Jan Engstedt of Stockholm, the first GHOU conference was held in Sweden.  Many nations learned of this effort and wanted to join, to help revitalize their education systems. Eventually,  an association was formed as a non-profit organization with partners worldwide.