December 6, 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 WORKSHOPS FOCUS ON SOLAR SYSTEM (3-12)
-- EARTH SYSTEMS SCIENCE GRAD COURSE ONLINE (5-9)
-- LONE NEUTRON STAR CAPTURED
-- VISIT THE INT'L SPACE STATION
-- LEARN MORE ABOUT COASTAL EROSION
Our solar system and NASA's search for life on our neighboring planets will be the focus of the NASA Regional Educator Resource Center's free Saturday workshops this winter.
On Jan. 27, Debby Salter -- a Meadowdale Middle School teacher and NASA Solar System Educator -- will present classroom activities and the latest scientific results on the search for life in the solar system. "Origins: NASA's Search for Life," aimed at grades 5-12, goes beyond imaginary aliens and challenge students to question the very notion of "what is life."
On Feb. 10, Island Park Elementary teacher Thelma Ritchie brings the astronomy EALRs alive as she demonstrates her favorite activities for learning about the phases of the moon, as well as the characteristics and distance scale of the planets. Ritchie is active in Project Astro, Opportunity Skyway and the Museum of Flight Teacher Advisory Committee, as well as serving on the science curriculum committee for her district. The workshop is geared to grades 3-8.
Workshops take place from 1-4 p.m. at the Washington NASA 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
The WestEd Eisenhower Regional Consortium will provide a NASA-sponsored, online Earth Systems Science course for middle school teachers, beginning Feb. 5. The 16-week graduate course implements a student-centered, science-based classroom where participants learn from the student's point of view. Enrolled teachers work in collaborative groups to tackle problems and can directly use the content in their own classrooms.
Earth Systems Science (ESS) is the interdisciplinary scientific field that investigates how our planet works and evaluates the effects of human impacts. The course was developed at the Center for Educational Technologies, Wheeling Jesuit University.
The $75 materials fee includes Earth Systems Science reference books, CDs and Activity Guides. Graduate credit, 3 units, will be available for an additional $30. For more information about the course and an application, go to
Several hundred million neutron stars may be found in our galaxy, but NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured the one thought to be closest to Earth. The runaway neutron star is believed to be 200 light years away. Known as RX J185635-3754, it is expected to swing by Earth at a safe distance in about 300,000 years.
A neutron star is the remnants left behind after a supernova explosion, as the material at the core collapses into a dense mass of neutrons. The star has the mass of the sun packed into an area about 12 miles in diameter. For Hubble images and more information, visit
"Inside the Space Station" premieres on the Discovery Channel at 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. The one-hour feature shows what the finished station will look like and how astronauts will build this ambitious project. Viewers will meet more than a half-dozen astronauts, as well as the engineers who create such wonders as spacesuits that shield astronauts from blistering and freezing temperature extremes.
Astronauts describe the challenges of living in zero gravity, along with the satisfactions (and very real risks) of working in space. The show also reveals the exhaustive training ISS astronauts must undergo, including a Canadian wilderness "boot camp" that tests teamwork along with emotional and physical stamina, and extensive training in a 6.4-million-gallon neutral buoyancy lab that simulates weightlessness and allows astronauts to rehearse their
On Dec.12, the Northwest Geological Society meeting will feature Orrin Pilkey of Duke University speaking on shoreline erosion in southwestern Washington. The lecture begins at 7: 30 p.m. and is free.
Pilkey, recipient of the GSA's 2000 Public Service Award, began the fight against unwise building and attempts to control the shoreline with "How to Live With an Island," a book about Bogue Banks, N.C. As a result of his efforts, the state enacted regulations banning the use of hard shoreline stabilization as a response to shoreline erosion and became a model for others. He's since advised states and countries on coastal issues, battled the Army Corps of Engineers, and trained a generation of coastal scientists.
The NWGS meeting takes place at the University Plaza Hotel, NE 45th Street in Seattle. A dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. Dinner reservations and payment required by Thursday before meeting. For reservations and cost, contact Art Coulter at
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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