February 4, 2008
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
-- ETHICS IN SCIENCES WORKSHOP (7-12)
-- BLAST OFF TO LEARNING (K-5)
-- TEACHER TO RANGER SUMMER (K-12)
-- GLOBE AT NIGHT
-- SURPRISES FROM MERCURY
-- TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE FEB. 20
The Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR) is offering a day and a half workshop focused on effective strategies for incorporating ethical issues into science classrooms.
This short course on ethics will focus on classroom resources for engaging students in discussions about the interaction of science and society through case studies, decision-making frameworks, structured academic controversies, and Socratic seminars. Participants will receive the newest version of our popular Ethics Primer.
The workshop will take place February 29-March 1 at the Waterfront Activities Center at University of Washington, Seattle. The registration deadline is February 15. The fee is $25 with credit card or $20 with check, and includes meals and 8 clock hours. Scholarships are available. For more information, go to
On February 16, join Space Grant Associate Director Julie Lutz for a morning of math and science activities designed to stimulate and motivate your young learners.The workshop will use "NASA 3, 2, 1...Liftoff!" (math) and "NASA Space Food and Nutrition" activity books to get your kids going "out of this world".
Workshop activities are particularly appropriate for kids ages 5 to 8, or for slightly older English Language Learners. Participants will also learn about the lunar eclipse coming up on February 20 and other astronomical events in 2008. Out-of-school time programs and parents are welcome to attend. The workshop is free and will be held in Johnson Hall 162 on the UW campus from 9 a.m. to noon. Clock hours will be available for teachers. To register, call Washington NASA Space Grant at 206-543-1943 or e-mail
The National Park Service's Teacher to Ranger to Teacher (TRT) Program offers links the National Park units with teachers from low income school districts.
Under this program, selected teachers spend the summer working as park rangers, often living in the park. They perform various duties depending on their interests and the needs of the park, including developing and presenting interpretive programs for the general public, staffing the visitor center desk, developing curriculum-based materials for the park, or taking on special projects.
Then, during the school year, these teacher-rangers bring the parks into the classroom by developing and presenting curriculum-based lesson plans that draw on their summer's experience. For additional information, go to
The year of 2008 marks a monumental shift in human history when more than half the people on Earth are expected to be living in cities. Because of the ambient light of urban landscapes, many city dwellers have never seen a sky full of stars.
From February 25 - March 8, Globe at Night invites teachers, students and their families to observe and record the magnitude of visible stars as a means of measuring light pollution in a given location. Last year, there were 8,491 observations reported from 60 GLOBE countries. Fliers, classroom and family activity packets are available in English and Spanish. For more information, visit
After a journey of more than 2 billion miles and three and a half years, NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft flew by Mercury on Jan. 14, 2008, and it has beamed back some surprises.
"This flyby allowed us to see a part of the planet never before viewed by spacecraft, and our little craft has returned a gold mine of exciting data," said Sean Solomon, MESSENGER's principal investigator at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. See the whole story at
For the latest images and information, go to
On February 20, there will be a lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves into the shadow of the Earth. This happens occasionally around the time of full moon. The moon moves through the umbra, the darkest part of the Earth's shadow.
Below is an approximate viewing schedule for Washington state. Please note: Lunar eclipses are complex. All times are Pacific Standard Time (PST) and are good to within a few minutes.
For western Washington: The full moon will rise in the east about 6 p.m. on February 20. Partial phase of the eclipse will have started already. The exact time of moonrise varies with where you are within a time zone (in our case, Pacific Standard Time) and what your eastern horizon looks like (flat, mountains, etc.).
5:45 p.m. -- Start of partial eclipse (moon moves into umbra of earth's shadow)
7:00 p.m. -- Beginning of total phase (moon entirely in umbra)
7:50 p.m. -- End of total phase (moon exits the umbra)
9:10 p.m. -- End of partial eclipse (moon entirely out of umbra)
In Eastern WAshington, times are just a bit earlier. For example, moonrise will be about 5:45 pm for Spokane. On the Washington coast, times are a bit later. For example, moonrise would be about 6:15 pm for Forks.
For more information on lunar eclipses, 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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