November 5, 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
-- SPACE WEATHER: THREATS TO MODERN TECHNOLOGY
-- FREE MARS MANIA WORKSHOP (3-10)
-- DISCOVER SCIENCE IN DAILY LIFE (2-8)
-- TEST LIGHT AND FOSSIL DEMOS (6-8)
-- CHALLENGER LEARNING CENTER WORKSHOPS
-- FIRST LEGO ROBOTICS COMPETITION (K-8)
-- 2003 YOUNG PRODUCERS CONTEST (K-12)
Last month, massive solar eruptions - one of them the third largest recorded - blasted the Earth, triggering spectacular northern lights over the Pacific Northwest, damaging satellites and causing havoc with aircraft radio communications.
Prof. Dan Baker, director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Colorado and pioneer in space weather research, will give a free public lecture on Nov. 18 on the impacts of "space weather" on our technology and international efforts to find solutions.
The talk, part of the Mindlin Foundation lecture series, takes place at 7:30 p.m. in Kane Hall, Room 110, on the University of Washington campus. For more information, see Events at
When the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Spirit and Opportunity land in January 2004, the Red Planet will be all over the news. Join Debby Jacobson - NASA solar system educator and middle school teacher - on Dec. 13 to learn about new NASA hands-on activities for classrooms and the plans for coverage of the MER landings and missions.
The free Saturday workshop takes place from 12:30-4:30 p.m. in Room A216 of the UW Physics and Astronomy Classroom Building, located on the northeast corner of Pacific Way and 15th Avenue Northeast. Clock hours are available. For registration, go to
"Online Science-athon" helps students discover the science in their daily lives. The Web site is organized around four areas: How Tall Am I? (Grades 2-3), the Marble Roll (Grades 4-8), Catching Sunshine, and the Chocolate Melt.
Events are organized to be easily integrated into instruction, to align learning with academic standards, and to get students investigating their world in ways that are fun and instructive. Each produces class data and includes questions for exploring student-generated data. For more information, visit
The Pacific Science Center is looking to test two new science demonstrations and workshop. All three are geared to middle school students and can be combined into a three-hour Saturday or Sunday event. There is no charge for the presentations.
The first demonstration, "Light," uses "light sabers" and "Star Trek Jordy glasses" to help students determine the type of gas seen in a distant star, learn about what light actually is, and get a taste of how scientists learn about objects light years away. In the second one, "Fossils," students will recreate layers of the Earth using costumes and then explore the fossil record with real fossil replicas.
Both are demonstrations are 25 minutes or less. In the two-hour workshop, students participate in a NASA-style mission to send a Rover to a distant planet in order to search for life. To participate, contact Kyle M. Doane, Origins curriculum development supervisor, at 206-443-2910 or by e-mail at
The Museum of Flight will offer four Challenger Learning Center Teacher Workshops on Saturdays in November and December. Teachers planning to book a center mission are strongly urged to attend one of these workshops.
The Nov. 15 workshop will focus on the moon; Nov. 22 and Dec. 6 on Mars; and Dec. 13 on comets. Workshops are fours for new teachers and a two-hour refresher for returning teachers. Attending a Challenger Learning Center workshop in advance of your scheduled mission entitles you to receive a $50 discount on the cost of your mission. Clock hours are also available.
This fall the museum is also offering workshops on aviation, Mars, the Hubble Telescope and more. For details on these and other workshops, go to
On Dec. 6, the FIRST Lego League Robotics contest will bring together several hundred middle-school children and their mentors to pit their Lego robots against each other in a formal environment.
The contest takes place 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. at Newport High School, 4333 Factoria Blvd. S.E. in Bellevue. The event is a great chance for younger children to see what can be accomplished by and to spark their curiosity about robotics. For more details, go to
The annual Young Producers Contest, sponsored by the Earth & Sky radio series and the National Science Foundation, gives students around the world a chance to create their own science radio programs. The five best shows will air on the Earth and Sky program in the spring, 2004. The deadline for entries is Dec. 15.
For contest information, go to
Join Tutangiaq the Canada goose and explore Alaska from a unique perspective. The Alaska Space Grant Program, with funding from NASA, has developed an interactive site that follows Tutangiaq on his migration path across the state.
In addition to science and remote sensing, the interdisciplinary site also touches on topics such as mathematics, history and Native American languages. It also includes a modest compilation of other web-based resources. The site address is
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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