January 24, 2001
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
-- NASA ERC ADDS EVENING HOURS
-- OBSERVING THE WORLD AROUND US (K-6)
-- WEBCASTS SET FOR NATIONAL ENGINEERS WEEK
-- MIXING MATH AND WEATHER (5-8)
-- EXPLORING THE PRECIOUS EARTH
The NASA Educator Resource Center (ERC) is now open from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday nights. The addition of evening hours will make it easier for K-12 teachers to utilize the wide range of science and mathematics materials available at little or no cost.
These include curriculum packets, education briefs, posters, lithographs, bookmarks, videotapes, slides and books. Some items such as curriculum packets and posters are free; others such as books and slides may be borrowed for up to one month. Videotapes may be copied for $5.
The ERC is located in Room 401, Johnson Hall, on the University of Washington campus. Daytime hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Materials can also be mailed to teachers. For more information, contact .Dr. Julie Lutz by phone at 206-543-0214, or by e-mail at
"Threads of Inquiry: Observing the World Around Us" is a series of 10 hands-on investigations focused on the changing seasons and other aspects of our everyday experience. The lessons look to answer questions such as why the Sun doesn't always rise in the same place each day and where does it go at night.
The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory developed the curriculum working with elementary schools in Massachusetts and it meets National Science Education Standards. Each Thread is divided into sections based on three grade level divisions: K-2, 2-4, and 4-6.
For more information, including curriculum downloads, go to
Johnson Space Center (JSC) is pleased to sponsor and participate in National Engineers Week 2001 for the tenth consecutive year. JSC's participation is designed to encourage students to pursue careers in engineering, math, science and technology.
This year JSC has expanded its E-Week programs to include six new Web casts between Feb. 27 and March 1 in an effort to reach more students and enable classrooms from across the country to have an interactive discussion with a NASA engineer. For the Web address and password, go to
"Project SkyMath: Making Mathematical Connections" uses the science and language of patterns to explore weather.
Designed for use by middle school mathematics teachers, lessons include topics such as reading Celsius and Fahrenheit, and describing room temperatures. The curriculum targets four process standards and nine content standards from the National Mathematics Standards.
The project's Web site offers masters which can be downloaded and reproduced in either English or Spanish. A letter that can be sent to parents explaining the activities of the modules is also available in both languages. For more information, go to
Scientists are drawing a portrait of how Earth looked soon after it formed 4.56 billion years ago, based on clues within the oldest mineral grains ever found. Tiny zircon crystals found in ancient stream deposits suggest that Earth harbored continents and liquid water remarkably soon after our planet formed.
The findings by two research groups, one in Australia and the other in the United States, suggest that "liquid water stabilizes early on Earth-type planets," said geologist Stephen Mojzsis, a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute's University of Colorado, Boulder, team. "This increases the likelihood of finding life elsewhere in the universe" because conditions conducive to life can evidently develop faster and more easily than once thought.
For the story and an illustrated timeline, go to
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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