November 8, 2002
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
-- ARE WE THERE YET? MARS WORKSHOP(4-9)
-- ASTRO ADVENTURES PREVIEW AT NSTA (4-12)
-- FLY THE VIRTUAL SKIES WITH NASA (9-12)
-- LIVE FROM THE AURORA (K-12)
-- NASA HELPS TRACK AND PREDICT WEST NILE VIRUS
-- DARK RINGS: JUPITER'S SECRET REVEALED
-- IMAGINE MARS (K-12)
Movies and television often present accomplishing a human trip to Mars as a matter of overcoming engineering and technology challenges. However, human physiology itself presents enormous challenges that must be overcome before long-duration human space flights become a reality.
On Dec. 7, NASA Solar System Educator Debby Salter will present activities that will put human exploration of Mars into context, plus the latest information on NASA's Mars programs. The workshop, which takes place from 12:30-4:30 p.m., is sponsored by Washington Space Grant and the NASA Regional Educator Resource Center.
All presentations are tied to the state Essential Academic Learning Requirements and/or the National Science/Math Standards. For more information and registration, visit
Astro Adventures, the Pacific Science Center's popular astronomy curriculum, has been revised and updated. Authors Dennis Schatz and Paul Allan have also created a second version geared to the upper elementary levels. Both books will be available for viewing at the center's booth at the National Science Teachers Association conference in Portland, Nov. 14-16.
At the NSTA conference, the authors will also be presenting a special workshop where teachers can discuss the book and actively engage in two of the lessons. The workshop will be take place Nov. 14, from 4:45-6 p.m. Astro Adventures was developed with funding from WAshington Space Grant.FLY THE VIRTUAL SKIES WITH NASA (9-12)
High school educators will enjoy the newly released "Virtual Skies," an integrated, standards-based science Web site, which uses air traffic management as its metaphor. The site offers a wealth of information and interactive problem-solving scenarios involving weather, aeronautics, navigation and more.
Each section exposes students to related careers and offers interactive 'affinity checks' to evaluate a match between students and careers. A teacher's desk allows teachers to will enjoy a wealth of lessons that incorporate biology, trigonometry, statistics and physics concepts. The site, created by the NASA Ames Educational Technology Team, can be found at
In February, students and educators will be able to "join the search" in preparation for NASA's Sun-Earth Day 2003. Many exciting opportunities for both formal and informal education communities are planned for the time leading up to the live interactive broadcasts from Alaska on Sun-Earth Day, March 18.
For example, the documentary "Auroras-Living with a Star" will air on Feb. 11 and will be divided into short video segments by topic. Each topic will be supported with a series of activities including a Web quest. Educators may use any of the segments as hooks to entice students to learn more either by guiding them through the quest or having their students use the information to do independent research.
To learn more about this, as well as other programs, activities, and resources leading up to Sun-Earth Day 2003, visit
NASA centers are researching methods to identify environmental indicators that highlight factors relevant to West Nile Virus transmission. For more information, see
In 1974, Pioneer 11 flew through Jupiter's rings, but no one knew it at the time. This week NASA's Galileo spacecraft did it again ... and scientists were ready. Unlike Saturn's rings, which are made of bright, icy chunks as large as houses, Jupiter's rings consist of fine dust akin to the particles in cigarette smoke. To read the whole story, go to
Bill Nye the Science Guy and dancer/choreographer Debbie Allen will explore what a community might be like on Mars during a live interactive Web cast Dec. 13. The broadcast takes place from 11 a.m. to noon (PST).
Nye will talk with students, artists and scientists about life here on earth and how it might be different on Mars, from what we eat to how we breathe. Afterward, Debbie Allen will get participants out of their seats to explore movement on Mars. How will reduced gravity and strong winds change the way we move? Debbie and student dancers from her academy will demonstrate in a choreographed professional performance, then the audience get to try!
For more information, including an activities guide, go to the Imagine Mars Project at
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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