October 21, 2005
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
-- ASTROBIOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM (6-12)
-- TEAM AMERICA ROCKETRY CHALLENGE (6-12)
-- HALLOWEEN ASTRONOMY
-- GIS, MODELING AND GAME DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS (9-12)
-- PRINT YOUR OWN HUBBLE PHOTOS (K-12)
On Nov. 12, the NASA Regional Educator Resource Center will present an "astrobiology sampler" with Denise Thompsonan Orting High School teacher and veteran of last summer's intensive astrobiology educator workshop at the NASA Ames Research Center. This one-day workshop is geared to helping teachers fit this fascinating new discipline into their middle school science curriculum or even design an entire astrobiology course for high school students.
Workshop participants will receive copies of many astrobiology education materials. The workshop runs from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Participants should bring lunch; beverages and snacks will be provided. Six clock hours are available from WSTA for $15. To register, call 1-800-659-1943 or e-mail
For more information, go to
Take part in the world's largest rocket contest. Team America Rocketry Challenge requires student team members, which can be from schools or nonprofit educational groups, to design, build and fly the rockets themselves. Winners will share $60,000 in cash and savings bonds.
The 2006 rules require the team to launch a rocket 800 feet in the air and keep it aloft for 45 seconds. As in the past, the rockets will carry a raw-egg payload that must return unbroken. The competition is sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry. The Defense Department and NASA are both government partners in the fourth annual TARC and 39 AIA member companies are supporting the event financially.
The application deadline is November 15, 2005. Teams have until April 9, 2006 to qualify for the final round of competition, scheduled for May 20 at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va. The registration fee is $110. For more information, visit
Believe it or not, Halloween is an astronomical holiday. Long ago, the Celts of the British Isles used cross-quarter days like Halloween to mark the beginnings of seasons, says John Mosley of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. "Winter began with Halloween, [or as they called it, 'Samhain']. Halloween marked the transition between summer and winter, light and darkand life and death."
This year Halloween has a new astronomical significance. On Oct. 31, the planet Mars is making its closest approach to Earth for the next 13 years. For the whole story, visit
In 2006, the Rural School Science and Information Technology project will again offer teacher workshops aimed at bringing increasingly complex information technology applicationsGeographic Information Systems, modeling/simulation and game developmentto high school curriculum in environmental sciences.
The GIS/GPS teacher workshop will take place June 19-30; the Modeling/Simulation teacher workshop, July 17-28; and game development, 2007. Teachers receive WASL-keyed curriculum and software, 70 clock hours and a $400 stipend for each summer workshop and camp, plus food, lodging and travel. They also receive a $750 stipend for academic year activities. In addition, school technology coordinators will receive training and stipends to provide backup support.
Applications are due January 17, 2006. Preference is given to applicants from rural schools. For more information, go to
You can't travel to the Eagle Nebula or the Whirlpool Galaxy, but in three steps you can have pictures as perfect as if you'd visited with a camera and tripod.
These gallery-quality images, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, are designed to be printed out by a photo store, photo kiosk, or online photolab, though you can also use a home printer. To get started, 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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