October 19, 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
-- WANT THE MOON IN YOUR CLASSROOM? (K-12)
-- MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENTISTS NEEDED (6-8)
-- LUNAR ECLIPSE VISIBLE OCT. 27
-- DESIGN THE AIRCRAFT OF THE FUTURE (6-8)
-- SOLAR MINIMUM COMES EARLY
-- CURRICULUM TESTERS WANTED (5-12)
University of Washington undergraduate astronomy majors are available to do talks on the moon. Potential topics include phases, eclipses, Apollo exploration missions and more.
The classroom teacher and undergraduate student will work out the exact content of the presentation. The undergraduates are doing this as part of their Astronomy 497B course during fall quarter. To arrange a student visit, contact Dr. Ana Larson at
The popular Astro-Venture Web site has added a new module, Atmospheric Science Mission. In this module, students role-play atmospheric scientists as they analyze data from Mars and Venus for human habitability.
The interactive, multi-media Web adventure immerses students in the real science of planetary research using scientific inquiry and feedback from actual scientists. All activities meet National Science Education Standards and are free of charge, no registration required. For more information, go to
On Oct. 27th, North Americans can see a total eclipse of the moon. According to folklore, October's full moon is called the "Hunter's Moon," or sometimes the "Blood Moon." The name comes from hunters who tracked and killed their prey by autumn moonlight, stockpiling food for the winter ahead.
This year the moon will first seem pale and cold, as usual. And then ... blood red. It's a lunar eclipse. Beginning at 9:14 p.m. EDT (6:14 p.m. PDT), the moon will glide through Earth's shadow for more than three hours. For more information, go to
When cars were invented, scientists and engineers had to design a ground transportation system with roads and traffic rules. A similar system was designed for air transportation. Now middle school students can become NASA researchers designing the air transportation system of tomorrow.
NASA's Future Flight Design website offers an interactive, problem-based learning environment teaching about the forces of flight and the engineering of air transportation and aircraft systems of the future. Online biographies highlight careers in aeronautics and aerospace engineering and two educator guides are available. The guides include a student log to help guide students through the activities. All activities meet National Science and Technology Education Standards.
For more information, visit
Something strange happened on the sun last week: all the sunspots vanished. This is a sign, say scientists, that solar minimum is coming sooner than expected. Solar minimum and solar maximum"Solar Min" and "Solar Max" for shortare two extremes of the sun's 11-year activity cycle. For the whole story, go to
The NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future program is seeking teachers to help test some award-winning science curriculum supplements. By committing to help in this evaluation, teachers receive the materials for free. All that's required is that teachers use the supplements in their classrooms and then provide data on their effectiveness.
Researchers will provide participants with a pre-test and post-test for students to complete along with consent forms. The products being tested are Astronomy Village: Investigating the Universe®, Astronomy Village: Investigating the Solar System®, BioBLAST®, and Exploring the Environment®.
COTF is also beta testing an ecology unit called Journey to El Yunque for grades 6-8. This project seeks to improve students' understanding of ecology and changing ecosystems. Teachers must apply in pairs to test this product, one will be randomly assigned to serve as a control for 2005-06 and implement in 2006-07; the other will do the two-day workshop in summer 2005 and implement in 2006-07. Internet access is required. For participating teachers, a $120 stipend is provided for attending the two-day training workshop in West Virginia. Expenses for travel, lodging, and meals are provided.
Two modules in the International Space Station Challenge® also require teachers of grades 6-8 for beta testing. Farming in Space and Electricity and Power in Space are both offered through the Classroom of the Future. Each module requires 15 teachers for testing who will receive a free set of classroom materials for their participation.
To participate in the evaluations, contact Judy Martin at 304-243-249, or e-mail
For more information on the Classroom of the Future program, visit
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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