February 17, 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
-- FREE LECTURE: ROVING MARS TODAY AND BEYOND
-- BIG AIR ON THE MOON AND MORE
-- GIRLS ON ICE: GLACIOLOGY FOR TEENS (9-12+)
-- PEGGY VATTER MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
-- BECOME A MESSENGER FELLOW (K-12)
-- WORKSHOP ON SUN, MOON & ECLIPSES (3-12)
Steven Squyres, a primary investigator on the recent NASA Mars rover missions and an astronomy professor at Cornell University, will speak at a free lecture at the University of Washington Feb. 28 on Spirit and Opportunity, from their initial conception through their launch, landing, and operations on the surface of Mars.
The twin robotic explorers landed on Mars in January, 2004. Expected to last for only 90 days, they have now been exploring the martian surface for more than a year and a half. Their objective is to search for evidence of past water on Mars, and to determine if Mars ever had conditions that would have been suitable for life.
The lecture will take place at 7 p.m. in Kane Hall, room 130. The lecture is free, but a ticket is required. To obtain a free ticket, visit
"Go big or go home." That's what US Olympic ski jumpers say, and when they say "big," they mean it. Big means "big air," 20 meters above the ground, as high as a five-story building. In a NASA interview, gold medal winner Eric Bergoust discusses the wonderful possibilities of ski-jumping on the moon.
For the complete interview, plus links to other lunar Olympic videos and the math and physics behind the ideas, go to
Girls on Ice is a unique 10-day program for teenage girls that combines leadership, mountaineering and science inquiry. The program is free to girls who qualify via a merit-based application process.
The program, based on Mount Baker,takes place Aug. 6-15 and is open to girls ages 15-19. The curriculum focuses on gathering glaciology data in the field by using a combination of science and outdoor skills.
The program is taught by Erin Pettit, a UW glaciologist who spends six weeks a year studying the glaciers of Antarctica. For applications and more information, go to
Applications for the Peggy Vatter Memorial Scholarship, sponsored by Washington Science Teacher Association and intended to increase equity education in science and mathematics, are now available.
The scholarship provides up to $1,500 in funds to pursue certification in science education or in elementary education with an emphasis in science. The funds may also be awarded to certified teachers who show intent to improve skills in providing equitable science education through professional development.
The application packet must be postmarked by May 1. For more information, go to
Take part in the current golden era of solar system exploration by becoming a NASA MESSENGER Educator Fellow, bringing the excitement of this daring mission to Mercury into classrooms across the nation. MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) will be only the second spacecraft to ever visitand the first to orbitthis enigmatic planet. The robotic spacecraft, launched in 2004, will not only dramatically increase our understanding of Mercury, but also help reveal the story of the solar system's formation.
A cadre of 30 MESSENGER fellows will be trained to conduct teacher training workshops nationally, reaching 27,000 educators over the life of the mission. Selected fellows will participate in a five-day, all-expenses paid training workshop in Washington, D.C. next summer. For more information, go to
On March 11, the NASA Regional Educator Resource Center will hold a workshop in honor of Sun-Earth Day (March 29). If you are looking for new activities and multimedia materials on the sun, moon and eclipses, "Sun-Earth Day 2006: Eclipse in a Different Light" is the workshop for you.
University of Washington astronomers Julie Lutz, Kristine Washburn and Toby Smith will discuss topics such as what causes eclipses and why they don't occur every month. They will also do activities related to the moon and sun, as well as show a new video on eclipses. Participants will receive coppies of the video along with the 2006 Sun-Earth Day packet (including DVD and cd).
The workshop will take place from 12:30-4:30 p.m. in Johnson Hall Rm. 162 on the Seattle UW campus. The workshop is free, but pre-registration is required. Four clock hours may be purchased for $15. On-campus parking is free after noon on Saturday. 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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