October 7, 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
--- HELP CREATE AN ORBITAL SPACE COLONY (6-12)
-- FREE SATURDAY ASTRONOMY WORKSHOP (K-12)
-- NEW "HELPING YOUR CHILD LEARN MATH" AVAILABLE (K-5)
-- THE WEATHER CONTEST OF THE CENTURY BEGINS (K-12)
-- NATIONAL SPACE EXHIBIT TOUCHES DOWN
-- NASA/IEEE ANNOUNCES 'VINNY' AWARD (K-12)
-- HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES ON ROCKETS AND MICROGRAVITY (5-9)
NASA Ames Research Center is holding its annual Space Settlement Contest and inviting students from around the world to develop their designs for permanent space communities. The contest is open to students in grades 6-12.
Participants can be individuals, small teams of two to six, and large teams of seven or more (even whole classrooms with teacher leadership). Grades 6-9 and 10-12 are judged separately, except for the grand prize. Contestants are invited to submit their models, artwork and stories by mail to Bryan Yager at Mail Stop 236-7, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035. Deadline for submissions is March 31, 2004. For details, go to
NASA Educator Resource Center Director Dr. Julie Lutz will discuss the stars and constellations of autumn, winter and spring at free Saturday workshop on Oct. 18. "Simply Stars" uses the setting of the University of Washington Planetarium to explore prominent constellations, stars and special objects like nebulae, star clusters and planets.
Dr. Lutz will relate readily observable objects to the processes of stellar evolution and to NASA's plans for solar system exploration. Participants will make star finders and receive materials about stellar evolution and NASA solar system missions. All presentations are tied to the state Essential Academic Learning Requirements and/or the National Science/Math Standards. Clock hours are available for $15 (cash or check).
For more information, go to
The second edition of "Helping Your Child Learn Math" is for parents of children in kindergarten through fifth grade. It includes a variety of activities that will help children learn and apply mathematical concepts such as geometry, algebra, measurement, statistics, and probability.
All of the activities in this book relate math to everyday life and complement many of the math lessons that children are learning in school. The activities use materials that are easy to find. For more information, go to
On Dec. 17, 2003, there will be an attempt to recreate the Wright brothers historic flight at Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Students are being challenged to predict what the weather conditions will be on this day, the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight.
The 2003 Flight Forecast program is a national contest developed by the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission and The Franklin Institute Science Museum. It provides teachers with fun and interactive activities and historical weather data that students can analyze as a basis for predicting the weather at Wright Brothers National Memorial. All activities align with the National Science Education Standards, the National Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, or some combination of both.
The deadline to register on line and participate is Nov. 3. Forecasts will be collected in three grade groupings -- K-4, 5-8 and 9-12 -- with the complexity of the forecast increasing at the higher grade levels. Forecasts must be submitted online no later than Nov. 17 and prizes will be awarded for the most accurate forecasters within each grade group. To participate, go to
"SPACE: A Journey to Our Future," touches down at Seattle's Pacific Science Center on Nov. 22. Created in collaboration between NASA and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the SPACE exhibition is 12,000-square-foot, making it one of the largest touring space exhibits ever developed.
SPACE, which is geared to ages 9-17, immerses the visitor in past discoveries and explorations. It introduces visitors to today's explorers who are shaping our destiny in the universe. The sights and sounds of space exploration envelop the visitor through live performances, easy-to-use interactives, state-of-the-art projection and audio technology that brings this epic story to life. Highlights include opportunities to ride a lunar module simulator to a surface facsimile of the moon and a visit to a simulated scientific base camp on Mars.
The exhibition will be on display in Seattle through May 9, 2004. A teacher's guide complements the exhibit and is available on the Internet at
Named after Leonardo da Vinci, the Vinny is an award for the best one-minute videos explaining how science, technology, engineering, or mathematics can help solve common global problems such as pollution or food distribution.
The award is sponsored by the NASA Center for Distance Learning, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and Christopher Newport University. The teacher and students will receive cash prizes and recognition of their achievement. Student teams must be composed of students from who are all within the same grade range. The videos can be produced in either English or Spanish.
Registration is now open to K-12 teachers and students worldwide. For more information, go to
A team of four University of Washington students who are applying to fly an experiment on NASA's KC-135 (the Vomit Comet) are available to visit classrooms in the Puget Sound area. The visits are part of their proposal to NASA.
The visit includes hands-on activities on rockets and reduced gravity environments with students. The team has a water rocket launch platform and videos on KC-135 experiments. Visits will take place January to May 2004. Teachers interested in having the UW students visit their classrooms, contact Steve Isley before October 10 at
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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