December 20, 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
-- RETURN TO THE MOON CHALLENGE (4-8)
-- AVIATION ART CONTEST (1-11)
-- GETTING METRICS RIGHT (K-12)
-- NASA ERC OPEN DURING HOLIDAYS (K-12)
-- OBSERVE THE UNIVERSE! (9-12)
-- WOMEN IN PHYSICS GALLERY
The Space Day 2005 Design Challenges, built around the theme of returning to the moon, let students become scientists, engineers, and explorers working on the space frontier to design a totally unique solution to some "out-of-this-world" challenges.
There are three design categories this year: "Inventors Wanted," which has students design a unique device to make living or working on the moon easier; "Mission: Explore," where students plan a space mission and build a rover to successfully accomplish it: and "Space Day Star," where students explore the Moon and create an electronic newspaper to tell everyone back on Earth what it's like to live there.
Space Day design challenges are open to students in grades 4-8. Teams that submit solutions by February 15 will be considered for national recognition and receive a certificate of appreciation. Stellar Design Challenge teams will be recognized at the Space Day Opening Ceremony on May 5, 2005, in Washington, D.C.
For more information, go to
The Washington State Department of Transportation invites students ages 6-17 to explore aviation and art through the 2005 International Aviation Art Contest. This year's art contest theme is "Create an Air Show Poster: More Than 100 Years of Human Flight." Artwork will be judged, according to age group, for its creative use in relation to the aviation world.
Winning artwork will be displayed at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. The top three winners will go on to compete for national awards in Washington, D.C. and winners of that competition will compete internationally. Entries must be postmarked by January 10, 2005.
For complete information, visit
The U.S. Metric Association (USMA), Inc. offers a variety of resources for teaching the International System of Units, known by the abbreviation SI, or the modern metric system. In March 2000, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) adopted the official position that SI (metric) should be taught as the "primary measurement system" in schools.
Their educator resource page list includes "Teaching Metric to Very Young Children" for grades K-2 and "Recommended Year-round Metric System Activities." For more information on metrics, go to
Need materials to supplement your classroom instruction on astronomy, Earth science, aeronautics or space studies? Consider a visit to the NASA Regional Educator Resource Center (ERC) during the holidays. The ERC located just off the University of Washington Campus in Condon Hall 313 is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Thursday, the weeks of Dec. 20 and 27.
The ERC offers curriculum packs, posters, llithographs, bookmarks, brochures, cds and videos on many NASA topics. Most materials are free (there is a nominal charge for copying videos, $5, and cds, $3). Books and some kits of hands-on materials can be checked out for a month.
Educators who can't visit in person may contact the ERC by e-mail to order materials delivered by U.S. Postal Service. Please include your address, the grade level(s) that you teach and specific information about the topics that you are covering in class.
NASA materials received by the ERC change frequently and no comprehensive catalog is available. However, a listing of the available videos available can be found at
For more information, including directions and information on parking, contact
When NASA launches its new X-ray observatory Astro-E2 in February, a team of highly motivated, independent high-school students will have a chance to conduct their own observation and research. From January to April 2005, the Astro-E2 program will accept and review observing proposals from high-school teams for the use of data from the satellite.
Each entry will describe a research project and an astronomical observation (anything from galaxies or black holes to supernova remnants or stars) to be carried out by Astro-E2. The winning team will work with professional astronomers and present the results of their analysis at the summer meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
Students participating in this program will learn about cutting-edge research problems in astronomy and astrophysics, work with professional astronomers and understand the challenges of any research project. For more information, go to
People often ask why aren't there more women physicists? There are two easy answers to this question. In centuries past, institutions of higher learning and scientific laboratories and institutes denied women access. For example Agnes Pockels who pioneered study of the physics of surface films was denied a university education because she was female. Nevertheless she made original and important contributions to physics.
When women breached the barriers to higher education, however, they became major players in astronomy, mathematics, and physics. Many of these women are unknown outside their fields even though their contributions are well known. This website provides biographies of 886 eminent women physicists. Explore their stories at
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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