August 24, 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
-- GENESIS SPACECRAFT RETURNS TO EARTH (K-12)
-- CURRICULUM FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED (5-12)
-- TAKE THE DESIGN CHALLENGE (7-12)
-- DOWNLOAD FREE NASA VIDEOS (K-12)
-- VISIT THE SCIENCE LAB (K-12)
-- IDEAS GRANTS AVAILABLE (K-14)
-- FOCUS ON KNOWLEDGE OLD & NEW (K-12)
On Sept. 8, NASA plans to make an astonishing mid-air capture of the Genesis Sample Return Capsule (SRC). Professional stunt pilots flying helicopters with special retrieval equipment swoop in and swipe the solar wind samples Genesis has collected during its two-and-a-half-year solar bath.
In planning the mission, Genesis scientists and engineers faced an enormous challenge: how to recover these solar specks safely? And, what is the likelihood that the minuscule contents -- which amount in mass to a few grains of sand -- return undamaged? Genesis learning materials, kids' activities and more mission information are available at
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) and the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind (CSDB) working with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory have created "The Evolving Universe," materials focussed on the origins of the universe and adapted for use by visually impaired students.
The materials, part of the Adaptive Curriculum Enhancement (ACE) program, are based on the module, "Genesis Cosmic Chemistry: Cosmogony." Throughout the materials, students act as scientists as they study tactile models of specific features of the present universe. They will develop an understanding of the difficulties of conducting science on very large time and distance scales by indirect observation and inference.
For more information, go to
The Engineering Design Challenges Program connects middle and high school students with the challenges faced by NASA engineers as they design the next generation of aerospace vehicles. These design challenges help students achieve national goals in science, mathematics, and thinking skills.
Working under the supervision of their teachers, students design, build, test, re-design, and re-build models that meet specified design criteria. Students employ the same analytical skills as engineers as they improve their designs. The design challenge culminates in the classroom with each student team preparing a poster that describes the process and results of their work. For more information, go to
TeacherLINK out of Utah State University is offering free downloads of NASA educational videos. The files are in a compressed video format and users will need to download a free VideoLAN Client Player (VLC player) to view the materials. The player works with most operating systems (OSX, Windows, Linux) and a link to the VLC website is provided. For information, go to
The Science Lab acts as a portal to a wide range of science-related websites. Categories range from agriculture to technology with topics from archeoastronomy and cosmology to fluid mechanics and nanotechnology. Visit The Science Lab at
The Initiative to Develop Education through Astronomy and Space Science (IDEAS) Grant Program is designed to provide start-up funding to explore innovative, creative ways to integrate astronomy and space science into U.S. education and public outreach venues through partnerships between the astronomers/space scientists and education professionals.
A key component of IDEAS is an active partnership between an astronomer/space scientist and an education professional. The later must be a professional educator with five or more consecutive years experience in the K-14 or informal science education community and be currently employed by a U.S. institution/organization with a formal education or informal science program.
Grants provide up to $20,000 for programs to be completed in one year and from $20,001 to $50,000 for programs requesting up to two years to complete. The deadline for applications is October 22, 2004. For more information, go to
For information on potential science partners, go to the Space Science Network Northwest website
or contact S2N2 Director Julie Lutz at
This year, the focus of NASA Sun-Earth Day will be "Ancient Observatories, Timeless Knowledge." The website will feature both ancient and modern observatories from around the world.
An interactive timeline now available covers our observations of the sun from the Newgrange Megalithic Passage Tomb built in Ireland in 3000 BC to the International Space Station and Solarmax, a 2000 IMAX documentary of new satellite images which can be viewed online.
Sun-Earth Day takes place March 20, 2005. Teacher guides, activities, and a wealth of educator information will be posted through the year. Educators are asked to register. For more information, go to
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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