May 26, 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 METEROLOGY COURSE (K-12)
-- ANIMATION OF DAY & NIGHT
-- KNOW A GREAT TEACHER? (K-12)
-- BLACK HOLES: GRAVITY'S RELENTLESS PULL
-- COMPUTER ANIMATION WORKSHOP (9-12+)
-- PLANETARIUM ON YOUR COMPUTER
A free 12-week meteorology course, sponsored by the American Meteorological Society and NOAA, is available to K-12 science educators. Participants earn 4.5 quarter graduate credits through State University NY-Brockport.
This is primarily a distance learning course. Participants are matched to a mentor (Northwest Weather Service forecaster, EVCC professor, or high school master teacher), complete weekly textbook readings and online activities, and attend three group meetings, including a tour of the NWS office in Seattle. They also receive free textbooks, weather radio, and other curriculum materials.
The course begins the first week of September and enrollment is capped at eight students. For more information, contact Dave Weller, AMS LIT leader, at
The Length of Planet Earth's Day and Night Web site is an excellent way to explain for changes in daylength with season. The flash animation depicts the seasonal variation in the circle of illumination viewing from above the north pole. An inset shows the earth's revolution around the sun. To view it, visit
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is looking to honor up to seven extraordinary teachers who inspire their students in math and science. Nominations for the the AIAA Foundation Educator Achievement Award are open to classroom teachers of grades K-12 who are or will become AIAA Educator Associate members.
Nominations can be done online and are due September 30. The award will be presented April 2007 in Washington, D.C. at the Aerospace Spotlight Gala. To nominate a teacher, go to
Black holes are places where ordinary gravity has become so extreme that it overwhelms all other forces in the Universe. Once inside, nothing can escape a black hole's gravitynot even light.
The Space Telescope Science Institutes Office of Public Outreach has created a special feature on Hubblesite to provide an in-depth look at the nature of black holes. The site includes various interactive multimedia activities and experiences such as Journey to a Black Hole (fast internet connection recommended).
There is also a black hole encyclopedia that presents the site's contents sorted by topic. Visit
The NSF SPRITE project, which uses a curriculum that integrates art, music, and student-created computer animation to teach math and science concepts, is offering a free teacher institute this summer. The curriculum is especially directed to girls and other high school and college students traditionally underrepresented in many areas of math and science.
The SPRITE Teacher Institute takes place from July 24 - Aug. 4, and provides training in developing and implementing practical animation curriculum for use in individual classrooms. Teachers receive a $700 stipend for their participation, 5 free graduate education credits from Seattle Pacific University, and a free license for the use of the necessary software for both teachers and students.
For more information or to apply, go to
Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. The program includes over 120,000 stars from the Hipparcos catalog; images of nebulae; a realistic atmosphere, sunrise and sunset; the planets and their satellites.
New multilingual versions have been released for Windows and Linux systems. A Mac OS X version is pending. To download a copy, 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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