August 8, 2000
WSGC Newsletter for Educators
The Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium's electronic newsletter for teachers provides curriculum ideas, Internet links and other resources to help you better meet the Washington EALRs and the National Science Education Standards.TABLE OF CONTENTS
--FREE ERC WORKSHOPS RETURN THIS FALL (GRADES K-12)
--LAUNCH YOUR CLASS PROJECT
--EXPLORING IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE (GRADES 1-12)
--AMAZON RESEARCH FACILITY OPENS
--EVALUATE QUEST'S NEW AIR TRAFFIC SITE (GRADES 9-12)
--IS THERE WATER ON MARS? (GRADES 9-12)
--SUMMER ERC AND NEWLETTER SCHEDULE
This fall, the NASA Regional Educator Resource Center will again offer free Saturday workshops at the University of Washington's Seattle campus. These popular events provide teachers with the latest science information and hands-on activities for the classroom.
The workshops begin Sept. 23 with Ed Sobey, author of Fantastic Flying Fun with Science: 69 Projects You Can Fly, Spin, Launch and Ride. Sobey's session on nonchemical rocket is aimed at grades 3-12. On Oct. 28, Julie Lutz, UW astronomy professor and Space Grant associate director, will teach a session on stars and constellations. This workshop, suitable for grades K-12, also includes a one-hour session on how to draft a mini-grant proposal.
On Nov. 18, NASA educator Brian Hawkins returns with a workshop for grades 4-12 on meteorites and moon rocks in the classroom. Participants will be certified to borrow samples of moon rocks and meteorites from the NASA Centers.
Workshops take place from 1-4 p.m. at the Space Grant office, Rm. 401, Johnson Hall. Free parking is available on campus. Pre-registration is required and clock hours are available. To register, call (206) 543-1943, or e-mail
Are you a student or teacher with an idea for an experiment to fly on the Space Shuttle? The Space Experiment Module Team needs your passive experiment ideas for a 2001 flight opportunity. SEM experiments focus on questions such as whether a crystal grows the same in space as it does on earth, or whether heat transfers differently in zero gravity.
SEM-09 is tentatively scheduled for June 2001 and proposals must be submitted by Sept. 1. Previous participants include elementary schools. For more information, including the applications, visit the SEM Web site at
The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies has developed a series of hands-on classroom activities to teach students about the consequences of climate variability and change. One package of lesson plans in geared to grades 1-4. The rest are aimed at grades 5 and up.
The activities were funded through NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency. With the exception of the section on agriculture, which are available online, all lesson plans download as pdf files. Curriculum packages are available at
AMAZON RESEARCH FACILITY OPENS
In July, a new research facility opened near the Amazon River city of Santarem in northern Brazil. Sponsored by NASA and the Brazilian government, the facility is part of an experiment to study the region's impact on global change and develop information for sustainable resource management solutions.
Studies, started this summer during the region's dry season, include first-of-a-kind experiments on the impact of logging on tropical ecosystems. Over 150 scientists and students from Brazil, the United States, Europe, and several South American countries are involved in research at the facility. The studies are part of the "Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia" (LBA), which integrates meteorological, hydrological, ecological an land use research across the Amazon.
The LBA Web site -- which provides information in English and Spanish, as well as Portuguese -- can be found at
Virtual Skies -- the new interactive Web site from NASA Ames Research Center's Educational Division -- uses engaging classroom activities correlated to the respective national standards in geography, mathematics, science and technology to teach students the air traffic management system and new technology being developed for future aviation needs.
Students will apply mathematical concepts in real world applications and experience the science involved in aviation while acquiring communication skills and decision-making skills necessary to manage air traffic. They will also take an online quiz that will become the basis for their participation in two nationwide air traffic control projects. The first collaborative project will require the students to examine a radar scope flight scenario. The second will feature a real time experience of students in the roles of air traffic controllers directing "virtual airplanes" across "virtual skies".
High school teachers and their students are needed to serve as evaluators during the upcoming school year. Teachers will be given a two month time frame to complete their evaluation of assigned modules with corresponding lessons as well an opportunity to experience one of the collaborative projects. Total time frame for teachers should not exceed 5 hours outside the classroom and 10 hours of instructional time with the students.
To participate, contact Susanne Ashby, curriculum specialist at NASA Ames Research Center, at 650-604-2588, or at
"Is There Water on Mars?" is now available online. The NASA educator guide, designed to explore earth, physical and space sciences, includes seven activities and a package of Mars maps and images. The guide is part of the Mars Exploration Education Program and has been reviewed by NASA scientists and field-tested by educators. The guide can be downloaded from
The Washington NASA Space Grant Newsletter for Teachers appears once a month during the summer. We will return to our regular twice-monthly schedule in September.
Looking for posters or new lesson ideas to start the school year? The NASA Regional Educator Resource Center, located in the Space Grant office on the University of Washington campus, is open daily through the summer. To meet with Associate Director and ERC Coordinator Julie Lutz, or arrange to pick up classroom materials, call (206) 543-1943, or e-mail
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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