January 7, 2004
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
--"LONELY PLANETS" AUTHOR TO SPEAK
--MARS NEWS STRAIGHT FROM THE SOURCE (K-12)
--WEATHERFEST: SCIENCE AND WEATHER FAIR
--TWO NEW SATURDAY WORKSHOPS (3-9)
--NASA TRACKS THE SAVANNA SMOG
--DEADLINE TO PRESENT AT NSTA SEATTLE
--NEW SOLAR SYSTEM SITE (K-12)
"LONELY PLANETS" AUTHOR TO SPEAK
On Jan. 22, the Pacific Science Center will present an evening lecture and book-signing by David Grinspoon, author of "Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life."
Entertainment Weekly has called astrobiologist Grinspoon's work "definitive proof that life on this planet is intelligent and funny." But humor isn't the only thing this long-time NASA advisor brings to the table. "Lonely Planets" starts with the astronomical and social history that enabled reasonably learned minds to hypothesize about other worlds and the possibility of life on them, then continues with what has been learned during the past four decades about the solar system and what lies beyond it.
Grinspoon, principal scientist in the space studies department at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder and an adjunct professor of astrophysical and planetary sciences at the University of Colorado, will be speaking at 7 p.m. in the Eames Imax Theatre.
The lecture is part of a monthly series being presented in conjunction with the exhibit, Space: A Journey to our Future. Admission to the lectures is free with regular Pacific Science Center admission. For more information, go to
NASA'S Jet Propulsion Laboratory offers the best source of up-to-the-minute information from Mars. To track the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, see the latest images of the Red Planet and more, go to
On Jan. 11, the American Meteorological Society will host WeatherFest as part of the annual meeting being held Jan. 11-15 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in downtown Seattle.
WeatherFest, which takes place from noon to 4 p.m., is an interactive four-hour science and weather fair designed to promote the fascinating field of meteorology, oceanography and related sciences to Seattle area families, students and teachers.
WeatherFest will feature more than 40 cool science exhibits including hands-on experiments, educational information, career guides and much more. For more information, go to
The announcement of two free workshops marks the re-opening of the NASA Regional Educator Resource Center in its new location on the third floor of Condon Hall.
On Jan. 24, science educator and author Ed Sobey will present Take Flight, an afternoon of constructing and flying novel "gizmos" suitable for the grade 3-8 classrooms. Participants will make and fly hand-o-coptors, boomerangs, and more while examining the science principles that make these models fly.
On Feb. 21, NASA Aerospace Education Specialist Brian Hawkins will present a workshop based on the NASA CONNECT video, "Having a Solar Blast," which deals with interactions between the sun and Earth. This workshop is geared to grades 5-9.
Both workshops take place from 12:30-4:30 p.m. in Room 311 of Condon Hall, 1100 N.E. Campus Parkway. Clock hours are available. For more information and registration, go to
Each August in southern Africa, literally thousands of people equipped with lighters or torches go out into the African savanna, a region dotted with villages and teeming with animals, and intentionally set the dry grasslands ablaze.
Unlike in the United States or Europe, where such burning would cause a national panic, it is a welcome occurrence in Africa during the late dry season. In fact, together with fires touched off by lightning, those started by people are a necessary part of the ecosystem on the savanna. Though all these activities are vital to life in Africa, they have a downside in the form of pollution.
For the full story, see
Have a great classroom idea that you'd like to present at the National Science Teachers Association's regional convention in Seattle Nov. 18-20? The deadline to submit proposals for presentation sessions is Jan. 15, 2004.
Sessions are an hour in length. They can relate to a specific classroom activity or curriculum, or to one of the convention "strands" (how people learn, assessment, etc.). For details on how to submit a proposal, see
The redesigned NASA Solar System Exploration Web site is now live. New features include an interactive introduction to the solar system intended to intrigue and inspire further investigation of the planets and unmanned missions; an interactive history timeline to showcase where we've been; and an interactive calendar.
They have also added an image gallery, a kids page and a section for science and technology spotlights. Visit NASA Solar System Exploration at
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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