November 17, 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
-- NASA ERC GIVEAWAY THIS MONTH
-- ASTRONOMY ACROSS THE CURRICULUM (1-8)
-- MOON PHASES AND ECLIPSES MADE EASY (1-8)
-- FOSSILS AS EVOLUTION EVIDENCE (6-12)
-- UNDERSTANDING CLIMATE CHANGE (6-9)
-- NASA PODCASTS AVAILABLE
Next month, the NASA Educator Resource Center will be moving into its new quarters in the remodeled Johnson Hall on the University of Washington campus. To accommodate the move, the ERC will be closed from December 1, 2005 to January 9, 2006.
Between now and November 30, the ERC is holding a special "moving" giveaway featuring books, stickers, "last of its species" posters, curriculum books, supplies, etc. Stop by the old ERC in the Space Grant offices on the third floor of Condon Hall from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. to peruse the materials.
The ERC will be closed November 24 and 25. Convenient street parking is available all around Condon Hall. The parking kiosk takes coins (nickels, dimes, quarters) and credit cards. For directions, go to
On Dec. 10, learn how to use astronomy to enhance your teaching of reading, writing, social studies, art and music, plus satisfy many of the level one and two benchmarks of the Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs). ERC Director Julie Lutz is offering a workshop on this topic from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.
"Incorporating Astronomy into Reading, Writing, Social Studies and Art" will illustrate how the astronomy GLEs for grades 1-8motions of the Earth, moon and sun, seasons, solar system and starscan do "double duty" in other subjects. Participants will be explore trade books, sing songs and use their creative skills to invent constellations, make "comets on a stick" and construct paper plate planetary systems for other stars. They will also learn about ancient observatories in various cultures and receive the Ancient Observatories, Timeless Knowledge resource packet. Other topics include the Stardust comet mission, which is returning a sample to earth January 15, and the plans for Sun-Earth Day 2006.
Consider partnering with a fellow teacher or come on your own. The workshop is free for museum members; $25 for all others. Four Washington state clock hours are available for $8, payable on arrival. To register, call the Museum of Flight at 206-764-1384.MOON PHASES AND ECLIPSES MADE EASY (1-8)
The Astronomy Education Review provides an excellent article on student understanding about phases of the moon and eclipses, and effective teaching strategies and curriculum resources for making the concepts clear to students.
National Science Education Standards recommend that students learn to explain moon phases and eclipses by the time they graduate from eighth grade. It is clear from the research literature, however, that misconceptions about moon phases and eclipses are widespread and resistant to change, even among adults. While much research needs to be done, the studies reported here are fruitful in offering ideas for how teachers and curriculum developers can help students meet the standards.
For the complete article, go to
Evolution is one of the fundamental underlying concepts of modern sciences and it explains the patterns observed in the history of life on earth and the biogeographic distribution of the groups that we see today. This winter, fossils as evidence of evolution will be the topic of the UW Earth and Space Science Department's class for middle and high school teachers (ESS 406).
This three-credit classtaught by Liz Nesbitt, curator of paleontology at Burke Museumis designed to give teachers the tools to use fossils as indicators of geologic time and biologic evolutionary change, biodiversity and mass extinctions within the context of the history of the Earth. The course will use diverse strategies to tackle these topics, such as hands-on activities, musuem visits, guest lecturers, and topical recent literature.
The class is offered Tuesdays from 4:30-7:20 p.m. For more information, e-mail
This winter, the UW Atmospheric Sciences Department is offering Understanding Climate Change (ATM 493)a three-credit science course designed specifically for middle and high school science teachers.
This course explores the physical and chemical processes determining the evolution of our climate system. It supports the middle school science curricula STC/MS Catastrophic Events and FOSS/MS Weather and Water; the high school series, EarthComm from It's About Time, Inc.; and reinforces the national and Washington State standards (EALRs). For more information, go to
Professors Jerome Patoux and Heather Price are also seeking input from school districts outside the Seattle area on where courses might be offered in the future, and from districts that would be interested in hosting a weeklong course in the summer for 20-30 teachers. Please e-mail them directly at
Science@NASA is now offering news stories as podcasts A podcast is basically a series of audio files available for download, with a special kind of web page (called an RSS feed) describing when new content is available.
The mission of Science@NASA is to help the public understand how exciting NASA research is and to help NASA scientists fulfill their outreach responsibilities. There are now three basic ways to listen to the Science@NASA stories in audio. 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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