September 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
--CLIMATE RESOURCES FOR CLASSROOMS (K-12)
--EXPLORING THE EXTREME (GRADES 5-8)
--FREE ERC WORKSHOPS RETURN (GRADES K-12)
--TIPS TO NAVIGATING NASA SITES OFFERED
--FREE MUSEUM OF FLIGHT MEMBERSHIPS
--GRANTS OFFERED TEACHER-SCIENTIST TEAMS (K-14)
--AIRCRAFT OF THE FUTURE BOOKMARK AVAILABLE
After three years of El Nino and La Nina with their often devastating climate consequences, the Pacific is finally calming down in the tropics but still shows signs of being abnormal elsewhere, according to the latest satellite data from the U.S.-French TOPEX/Poseidon mission.
Data, taken during a 10-day cycle of collection ending August 17 show that tropical Pacific sea levels, which indicate how much heat is stored in the ocean, have returned to near-normal (green) after three years of dramatic fluctuations. To see the results, go to
Other useful resources to supplement classroom lessons include the latest animation of the TOPEX/Poseidon El Nino/La Nina data at:
Information on the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a decade-long (or decades long!) climatic pattern that seems to be following our La Nina conditions, is available at
Lastly, to use drama to compare an El Nino to a normal condition, visit this site for skit production ideas and background:
The NASA educational poster "Exploring the Extreme" features the F-15 ACTIVE, an aircraft used by NASA to explore the extreme limits of aerospace technology. The poster, available online, also includes activities for measuring the angles of wings of different types of aircraft. Copies may be downloaded at
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 having trouble locating specific items within NASA's online community? "Searching NASA," the latest article in Spacelink's Educator Focus can help.
"Searching NASA" describes how to use Spacelink's search engine to make more effective searches. The article also provides tips for planning a search and how to interpret the results. "Searching NASA" can be found at the following Internet location:
The Museum of Flight in Seattle is offering complimentary three-year family memberships for certified Washington primary and secondary teachers. To become a member, teachers must complete a standard membership form and submit documentation showing that they are actively teaching K-12 in a public or private school.
The museum offers school and youth programs, as well as professional development workshops for teachers. Members will receive periodic newsletters e-mailed from the museum's education department. For membership information, call (206) 764-5711, or e-mail
Space Telescope Science Institute's IDEAS program -- Initiative to Develop Education through Astronomy and Space Science -- offers grants to innovative start-up proposals by teacher-scientist teams. Grants range from $10,000 for small one-year projects to $40,000 for large two-year projects.
The IDEAS Grant Program is a NASA Office of Space Science (OSS) initiative to fund educational outreach projects that will enhance science education through astronomy and space science via collaboration between professional astronomers/space scientists and professional educators.
Projects funded last year include training high school students as astronomy teachers for grades K-8, creating a kinesthetic astronomy curriculum for at-risk students, bringing together astronomers and the public through an online community called Starstuff.org, and developing a package of inquiry-based classroom lessons specifically designed to integrate the K-4 National standards in mathematics (NCTM) and astronomy (NSES) using existing NASA science resources.
The deadline for applications is Oct. 27, 2000. For a copy of the Call for Proposals and other past projects, go to the IDEAS Web site:
A bookmark containing background on Blended Wing Body (BWB) aircraft and instructions for building a ring wing glider is now available online.
The BWB, a revolutionary flying wing configuration, has a thick airfoil-shaped fuselage that combines engines, wings and boy into a single lifting surface. A BWB could carry as many as 800 passengers over 7,000 miles at a cruise speed of about 560 mph. The bookmark is available at
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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