November 22, 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
-- POLLUTION & GRID PROBLEMS (K-12)
-- EXPLORE GRAVITY LESSONS (K-12)
-- WHAT IS A PLANET?
-- HOWARD HUGHES INSTITUTE LECTURE ONLINE (9-12)
-- NSIP POSTERS AVAILABLE (K-12)
This week NASAexplores features two new articles. "Space Shuttle Bingo" looks at the coordinate system used on the Space Shuttle; "Parachutes and Clean Laundry" focuses on the effects of pollution and the importance of recycling.
In the first article, students learn how astronauts use a grid system much like the one that players use in the game Battleship to identify and find things aboard the Space Shuttle. Activities, depending on grade level, range from solving a puzzle to building a quadrant and using it to determine the user's latitude. The second looks at water pollution issues. To access the articles and lessons, go to
The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), launched last spring, will map the Earth's gravity fields by making accurate measurements of the distance between the two satellites, using GPS and a microwave ranging system. A variety of classroom activities are now available on the Web site. Other topics covered include weather, climate and oceans. To download activities by grade level, visit
The latest edition "Universe in the Classroom," the teachers' newsletter for the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, features an article by the discoverer of brown dwarfs, Dr. Gibor Basri of the University of California at Berkeley.
After his initial discovery, there was a debate about what brown dwarfs should be called: a failed star? a planet? With the variety of new kinds of objects being discovered, scientists need to define just what is and is not a planet.
In this article, Dr. Basri introduces many of the new objects and the process that your class and scientists might use to come up with a usable definition of just what a planet is. For the full story, go to
A holiday lecture series from the Howard Hughes Medical Center--"Scanning Life's Matrix"-- offers a detailed look at genes and genomes. Educators interested in using these free Web casts in the classroom must fill out an electronic registration form.
The four lectures, scheduled for Dec. 5 and 6, are primarily intended for high school students in honors and Advanced Placement biology classes. Detailed synopses of these lectures are available at
Posters for the 2002-03 NASA Student Involvement Program (NSIP) competition are available from the Space Grant office on a first-come, first-served basis. The colorful posters include full guidelines for the K-12 competitions.
Competition categories include Design a Mission to Mars (5-12); Space Flight Opportunities (9-12); My Planet, Earth (K-4); and Science and Technology Journalism (K-12). To receive a poster for your classroom, e-mail a note with your name and mailing address to
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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