September 16, 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
-- DESIGN A MARTIAN (5-8)
-- ONLINE ROBOTICS COURSE OFFERED
-- BECOME A NASA EXPLORER SCHOOL (4-9)
-- SNIFFING OUT DANGER (K-12)
-- MUSEUM OF FLIGHT OPEN HOUSE FOR EDUCATORS
-- CREATE A PRACTICAL FLYING CAR (9-12/COLLEGE)
Beginning Oct. 13, classrooms around the world will investigate what makes our planet and others habitable with the final goal of designing a life form that could live on Mars.
Students will use Astro-Venture online tools to find the different characteristics of our planet and star system, as well as to discuss why they are important. They will compare Earth to Mars and research what characteristics are important in supporting human life before designing their Martian.
The deadline to submit their final designs is Nov. 28. The following week they will hear feedback from NASA scientists. For more information, please visit
Starting Sept. 29, the NASA Robotics Education Project will offer a series of live webcasts about the similarities between Earth and Mars, the fascinating region of the Rio Tinto (Red River) in Spain, and testing planetary robots.
Join an international group of scientists as they delve deep into the "red" waters of the Rio Tinto searching for subsurface life within this river system. A bonus lecture will also be posted on the course website to discuss NASA communication technology used to connect this remote site to the United States and Spain.
Webcasts are offered in English and Spanish. Participants can watch the lectures for fun or register for class credit through San Jose State University. There is also a special webcast, "Exploring Earth to Prepare for Mars," scheduled for Oct. 9. For more information, visit
Applications are now being taken to become a NASA Explorer School. Selected schools or school districts enter into a unique three-year partnership with NASA to bring exciting opportunities to educators, students, and their families. The NASA Explorer Schools (NES) program is sponsored and implemented by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration through a cooperative agreement with NSTA.
Educators and students in a NASA Explorer School will become involved in the excitement of NASA research, discoveries, and missions through participation in engaging learning adventures and scientific challenges. The 2004 program will focus on content for grades 4-9. Materials will be grade-specific in appropriate concepts from national education standards. NASA Explorer Schools receive grants of up to $10,000.
The NASA Explorer Schools program will be accepting applications through an online application. The deadline for applications is January 30, 2004. For more details, click on
This week NASAexplores is sniffing out danger in "The E-Nose Knows," a look at the tool to let astronauts in space know if fumes are reaching dangerous levels. A second article explores the future of supersonic commercial flight.
NASAexplores provides free weekly K-12 educational articles and lesson plans on current NASA projects. Printable and downloadable, these supplemental curriculum resources meet national education standards. For more information, visit
The Museum of Flight's 2003 Educators' Open House takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4. This free event will include drop-in activities and abbreviated versions of popular education programs such as The Flying Gizmo Show, the Aviation Learning Center and portable planetarium programs.
Educators and their families are invited to attend a special lunch with astronomer David Levy. Levy is co-discoverer of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet, which became famous in July 1994 when it crashed into Jupiter. Since 1984, he has discovered some 20 comets.
The lunch is free for educators and their families. However, advance reservations are required and space is limited. To make a reservation, call 206-768-7142 or send your name, school/organization name, address, phone number and the number of people in your party to
NASA is sponsoring its second national student competition for Revolutionary Vehicles: Concepts and Systems. The contest includes separate categories for high school and college students.
Students and faculty should craft a focused project that can be successfully accomplished in a few weeks short of two semesters. Letters of intent are required. The awards in the university division for 2003 ranged from $5,000 to $1,000. The awards in the high school division for 2003 ranged from $1000 to $500.
Entries are due in the spring and awards will be announced in early summer. An award-centered event, including student presentations of winning projects, will be held in conjunction with a national aviation event, such as the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture.
Full details on the competition, including past winners, are posted at
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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