August 3, 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
-- NIGHT SKY NETWORK WORKSHOP (6-12+)
-- SEE HUYGENS DESCENT TO TITAN
-- GOING TO EXTREMES (2-4)
-- NASA MATERIALS THE EASY WAY
-- PERSEID METEOR SHOWER PEAKS
-- TEAM AMERICA ROCKETRY CHALLENGE (7-12)
-- TOYS IN SPACE RESOURCES (K-12)
Are you a member of an astronomy club that's interested in public outreach? Or an educator for grades 6-12 looking for hands-on demonstrations and activities on advanced astronomy topics like black holes and extrasolar planets?
A special Aug. 12 workshop provides an opportunity to try out the Night Sky Network's toolkits for formal and informal education. The network, sponsored by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has assembled themed kits containing demonstration materials, activities, PowerPoint presentations, images and animations, star charts and thorough training videos.
The workshop takes place 9:45 a.m.-3 p.m. on the UW campus. Five clock hours will be available for $15. After the activity demonstrations, workshop participants will have a chance to play with Washington NASA Space Grant's four different Night Sky Network kits, which may be checked out for events and classroom activities. For more information, go to
This Titan descent data movie, built with data collected during the European Space Agency's Huygens probe on Jan. 14, 2005, shows the operation of the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer camera during its descent and after touchdown.
The four-hour-long operation of the camera, funded by NASA, is shown in less than five minutes. The first part of the movie shows how Titan looked to the camera as it acquired more and more images during the probe's descent. Each image has a small field of view, and dozens of images were made into mosaics of the whole scene. For more information and a link to the video, go to
Do you think the North and South poles are boring, lifeless places that have no impact on your life? Think again.
The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) 11th annual art contest challenges U.S. students in grades 2-4 to pick a polar region, explore it and then draw a picture showing what they learned. This year's themePolar Exploration: Going to Extremes!relates to the upcoming 2007-2008 International Polar Year (IPY), a coordinated effort by the international science community to learn more about the roles of the polar regions in global processes.
The winning artist will receive a $250 savings bond, and his or her artwork will be printed as the 2006 IGES holiday card. Second- and third-place winners receive a $100 and $50 savings bond, respectively. Entries are due Nov. 10. For more information, go to
Teachers looking for NASA materials to use in their classrooms this fall will want to download the new flier, Four Easy Ways to Obtain NASA Educational Materials. The two-page flier lists the types of educational materials available electronically from the NASA Web site and from alternate sources.
NASA offers a wealth of classroom activities, educator guides, posters and other resources are available for use in the classroom. Materials are listed on the agency Web site by type, grade level and subject. The informational flier is available at
The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower will peak this year on August 12, but some meteors should be visible from July 23 - August 22. A nearly-full moon will be a problem this year, hiding all but the brightest meteors.
A calendar of upcoming astronomical events from now until the year 2015 is available at
The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) in partnership with NASA and the Department of Defense are proudly sponsoring the 5th Annual Team America Rocketry Challenge, the world's largest model rocket contest. This year's challenge is to design, build, and fly a model rocket carrying a raw egg and return it safely to the ground while staying aloft for a predetermined amount of time. Whoever is the closest wins!
Team members must be students who are currently enrolled in grades 7 through 12 at a U.S. school. The application for a team must come from a single school or a single U.S. incorporated non-profit youth organization (excluding the National Association of Rocketry, Tripoli Rocketry Association, or any other rocket club or organization). Applications will be available online on September 6, 2006. For more information and an application, visit
Two resource guides are now available for NASA's Toys in Space film series. Toys in Space II Video Resource Guide, geared to grades K-12, introduces different toys and compares their behavior on Earth with their behavior in the microgravity environment of the space shuttle. Explanations, activity suggestions and a glossary are included in the guide.
The International Toys in Space Video Resource Guide (grades 5-12) introduces toys from around the world and compares their behavior on Earth with their behavior in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station. Explanations, activity suggestions and a glossary are included in the guide. The guides are available at the following URLs:
Toys in Space II Video Resource Guide
International Toys in Space Video Resource Guide
Both films are available in either videotape or DVD format through the NASA CORE catalog at
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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