September 3, 2003
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
-- DARK MATTER AND THE INVISIBLE UNIVERSE
-- SOLVE THE CASE OF THE WACKY WATER CYCLE (3-5)
-- EARTH EXPLORERS ART CONTEST (2-4)
-- A SCIENTIST IN YOUR CLASSROOM
-- EDUCATOR GUIDE FOR EXCAVATING CRATERING (8-10)
-- CELEBRATE WORLD SPACE WEEK (K-12)
-- SPACE SCIENCE FOR EXCEPTIONAL NEEDS STUDENTS (3-12)
On Sept. 7, Michael Turneran internationally recognized cosmologistwill explain the latest theories about "dark matter" and "dark energy,v the invisible components that scientists say make up most of the universe.
Turner, professor and chairman of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, will speak on "The Dark Side of the Universe: Beyond Stars and the 'Starstuff' We Are Made Of." The free public lecture is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Kane Hall 120 on the University of Washington campus.
The lecture is sponsored by the UW Office of Research and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics as part of the Eighth International Workshop on Topics in Astroparticle and Underground Physics. For more information, go to
On Oct. 15, the NASA SCIence Files will begin airing "The Case of the Wacky Water Cycle." In this episode, the tree house detectives' efforts to raise money with a car wash dry up when the city is hit with a summer drought. Through problem-based learning, the entire group learns all about the water cycle, the water table, global climates and much more to get their project going.
The distance learning initiative is designed to integrate and enhance the teaching of mathematics, science, and technology. Each episode includes hands-on classroom and home activities, virtual field trips, subject-matter experts, and Dr. "D," the tree house detectives' next-door neighbor and mentor. The detectives are an ethnically diverse cast of inquisitive school children who use PBL strategies and scientific inquiry to investigate a variety of issues and problems.
Each program supports the national mathematics, science, and technology standards and includes a 60-minute video broadcast, an educator's guide, and Web-based activities and materials. For more information, go to
People have always explored the Earth. First, sailing across oceans to discover new lands. Then, flying through the sky to reach far away places. Today, we launch rockets into space to see Earth from above. The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) encourages children to draw Earth explorers from the past, present or future. Then enter the IGES Eighth annual art contest for children in grades 2-4.
This year's contest supports the National Science Education Standards, Content Standard G for K-4: History and Nature of Science. Winners in first, second and third place will receive a U.S. savings bond and their artwork will be displayed on the IGES Web site. All those who enter will receive a certificate of participation. Entries must be received by October 31.
For more information, visit
Many teachers agree that working with scientists can help students better understand science content and provide them with positive role models and solid information about science as a career.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is working with NSTA to explore a potential new program to expand the use of volunteers, such as scientists, engineers, or others with science backgrounds, in the classroom.
Take a minute and fill out a brief questionnaire about how you find or can't find the volunteers you need. Go to
How do you make a seven-story, football field-sized crater into a comet? Excavating Cratering is a student inquiry into that very question.
The lessons are designed to provide students with experience in conducting scientific inquiries, gain a greater understanding of scientific modeling and get students involved with the excitement of a NASA mission in development.
For more information, visit
This year, World Space Week has a galaxy of activities to excite students about math and science including a chance for students to meet Space Week spokesman, Lance Bass of NSYNC. There is also a chance for teachers to receive a $500 grant simply by reporting on how they use space in their classroom during World Space Week.
The annual festivities, declared for Oct. 4-10 by the United Nations, is celebrated in some 50 nations. K-12 teachers can get activity ideas in the free activity guide. For more information go to
NASA Space Science Network Northwest (S2N2) is planning for a 2004 workshop to provide standards-based space science activities and content to educators of students with exceptional needs.
Presenters and participants will share their knowledge and professional experiences through short presentations, interactive activities, and group discussions. Participants are encouraged to simulate a variety of physical disabilities using visual impairment goggles, hearing impairment simulators, and other materials and devices. Discussions regarding learning disabilities, for example ADD and ADHD, are held throughout the workshop.
The Seattle workshop will take place July 18-22 at the University of Washington. Registration opens in March 2004. Organizers are currently trying to determine how many Washington educators might attend so they can make sure space is available to accommodate all who wish to participate. If you would be interested in attending, please e-mail Nancy Cooper at
For more information on the workshop content and format, 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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