January 19, 2006
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
-- COMETS...AND MORE COMETS! (5-10)
-- SCIENCE CENTER OPEN HOUSE FEB. 4 (K-12)
-- PLUTO: UNLOCKING NEW SECRETS
-- SUMMER GEOSCIENCE POSITIONS (K-12)
-- NOW ALL STUDENTS CAN TOUCH THE SUN (K-12)
-- STUDY EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE THIS SUMMER (5-8)
Last weekend NASA's Stardust mission returned home with its amazing samples of dust from the Wild 2 comet, which is believed to have formed during the earliest days of the solar system. If you want to learn more about the Stardust mission and the elusive substance aerogel that was used to collect the samples, NASA's Regional Educator Resource Center has a workshop for you.
On Feb. 4, astronomers Julie Lutz and Kristine Washburn of Space Science Network Northwest will give an overview of comets, the clues they provide to the formation of the solar system, and new breakthroughs gleaned from recent NASA missions. Walter Harris of the UW Earth and Space Sciences Department will talk about his research group's plans to observe Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 when it comes streaking by in April 2006.
The workshop will take place 12:30-4:30 p.m. at Johnson Hall, Room 162. Participants will receive solar system education materials, including a complete set of Stardust materials. The workshop is free, but pre-registration is required. Four clock hours can be purchased for $15. On-campus parking is free after noon on Saturday. For more information, go to
For information on the Stardust comet sample, visit
On Feb. 4, the Pacific Science Center will hold an Educator's Open House from 8:30 a.m. until noon. Educators -- and up to three guests each -- are invited to preview field trip program options such as the exhibit "Raise the Roof," which explores the inner workings of buildings from homes to skyscrapers.
IMAX film previews include Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D and Dolphins. In the morning only, educators will get a sneak preview of Mysteries of Egypt. part of the ancient civilization package that highlights the fall exhibition, Discovering The Dead Sea Scrolls. This exhibition is a West Coast premiere and will be in Seattle from Sept. 23 to Jan. 7, 2007.
There will also be a laser show, planetarium shows and behind-the-scenes information about the Tropical Butterfly House. There will be ongoing demonstrations and roving discovery carts. Educators should enter via the doors at the Seattle Rotary Discovery Lab at Second Ave. North.
For more information, contact the Pacific Science Center at 206-443-2001.PLUTO: UNLOCKING NEW SECRETS
On Jan. 19, NASA launched its first mission to Pluto. New Horizons will cross the entire span of the solar system and conduct flyby studies of Pluto and its moon, Charon, in 2015. The seven science instruments on the piano-sized probe will shed light on the bodies' surface properties, geology, interior makeup and atmospheres. For more information on New Horizons, go to
Seventy-six years ago, English schoolgirl Venetia Phair suggested the name for Pluto. To hear and read an interview with the retired schoolteacher, visit
The Geological Society of America is offering 41 paid summer positions for 2006 on BLM lands and in national parks and national forests including Yellowstone National Park, Denali National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Grand Canyon National Park, Gallatin National Forest and more.
Applications must be postmarked no later than Feb. 3. For application information and a complete list of positions, go to
Touch the Sun, a new book developed in partnership with NASA, allows blind and visually impaired students to experience images of the sun and solar activity by feeling transparent raised textures bonded to the pictures. These raised patterns embossed over the colorful images, translate shapes, places of solar and magnetic activity and other details of the sun and space weather.
The book incorporates Braille and large-print descriptions for each of the book's 16 photographs, so it is accessible to readers of varying visual abilities. Approximately 2,500 copies will be printed. The book is a follow-up to Noreen Grice's book, Touch the Universe. For more information, go to
Want to make your students part of NASA's research into climate change? NASA is looking for teachers and students interested in collecting and reporting cloud observations and sun photometer data at the GLOBE Program Web site as the information is gathered by the CALIPSO, CloudSat and Aura satellites.
NASA Satellites Study Earth's Atmosphere: CALIPSO, CloudSat and Aura Partner with the GLOBE Program (CCAG), an educator workshop for participating teachers, will be held July 9-15 in Hampton, Virginia. Participants will receive a stipend and travel expenses.
Support also will be provided for participants to present at regional workshops. Applications are due March 10. To apply, visit
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
If you are not a regular subscriber and would like to receive our newsletter, simply go to UW's Mailman and fill in a subscription form. Concerned about spam? Please note Space Grant does not sell its address lists.