August 3, 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
-- SPACE SPOT ON TOUR (K-12)
-- STUDENT WINNERS TO RESEARCH AT NASA (9-12)
-- BECOME A SUNWISE SCHOOL (K-12)
-- PBS AIRS ORIGINS MINISERIES (6-16)
-- ASTRONOMY/ASTROBIOLOGY COURSES ONLINE (7-12)
-- FUEL EFFICIENCY, SHUTTLE COOLING AND MOLECULES IN SPACE (K-12)
The Space Spot, Pacific Science Center's free traveling astronomy and space exhibit, will be touring shopping malls throughout the state in August and September.
Designed to bring basic astronomy and space science to communities that do not have easy access to a science center, The Space Spot offers a visually-exciting and educational hands-on experience for all ages. The exhibition includes a free take-home activity guide that visitors can use long after the The Space Spot leaves the community. For a schedule of appearances by The Space Spot, visit
In the Hyper-G competition, students from across the country compete for a chance to run their own hyper-gravity experiment on the International Space Station Test Bed Centrifuge (ISSTBC) at NASA Ames Research Center in 2005. Astronauts, animals and plants traveling in space experience not only reduced gravity, but also increased gravity called hyper-gravity. Experiments conducted in hyper-gravity help NASA predict how things might behave in environments such as one might encounter in deep space or on Mars.
Student teams will receive feedback on their proposals by NASA scientists and engineers. A team of NASA scientists and engineers will evaluate all proposals and select a winner. The selected students will conduct their experiment and analyze their data for submission in a final report to NASA. In addition, the winning student team will tour NASA facilities and participate in on-site activities.
An announcement of opportunity will be posted in September. For more information, go to
The SunWise School Program is an environmental and health education program that teaches children and their caregivers how to protect themselves from overexposure to the sun. Through the use of classroom-based, school-based, and community-based components, SunWise seeks to develop sustained sun-safe behaviors in schoolchildren.
SunWise Partner Schools receive materials that facilitate cross-curricular classroom learning. The program also encourages schools to provide a sun-safe infrastructure, including shade structures (e.g., canopies, trees) and policies (e.g., using hats, sunscreen, sunglasses) that promote sun protection in a school setting. For more information, go to
Has the universe always existed? How did it become a place that could harbor life? What was the birth of our planet like? Are we alone, or are there alien worlds waiting to be discovered?
This fall, the Public Broadcasting System will air "Origins," a series of four one-hour NOVA programs. The series is hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. The first two shows will air Sept. 28; the second two on Sept. 29. Check local listings for times.
The "Origins" website contains interviews with biologists, astronomers and geologists, as well as interactive activities and slide shows. A resource guide for teachers will be available after Sept. 6. Most Nova broadcasts are available for purchase after airing. For more information, go to
Two NASA-funded courses"The Invisible Universe Online: The Search for Astronomical Origins" and "Astrobiology for Teachers"headline the fall semester courses from National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN) for K-12 science. The NASA courses are available at reduced prices and teachers can earn 3 graduate semester credits. Courses begin from late August to early October and run 7 to 16 weeks.
"The Invisible Universe Online: The Search for Astronomical Origins for Teachers" covers the long chain of events from the birth of the universe in the Big Bang, through the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets by focusing on the scientific questions, technological challenges, and space missions pursing the search for origins in alignment with the goals and emphasis of the National Science Education Standards.
Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and destiny of life in the universe, defined as an interdisciplinary science at the intersection of physics, astronomy, biology, geology, and mathematics, to discover where and under what conditions life can arise and exist in the Universe. For registration and more details on NTEN's full list of fall courses, go to
This week NASAexplores features a trio of topics"Start, Stop; Start, Stop," on fuel costs and fuel efficiency; "Why Astronauts Are Cool," on cooling the Space Shuttle; and "Mob Rules," on how groups of molecules behave in space. Lessons are available in packages for grades K-4, 5-8 and 9-12. To access the articles and lessons, please visit
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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