August 7, 2009
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
-- PERSEID METEOR OUTBURST
-- NASA ENDEAVOR FELLOWSHIPS (K-12)
-- WHAT IS A PLANET? (9-12)
-- NEW LUNAR PORTAL
-- NASA ENGINEERING CHALLENGE (5-8)
-- ARTCIC LIFE & WARMING (5-8)
This year's Perseid meteor shower could be even better than usual.
Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office said that a filament of comet dust has drifted across Earth's path. When Earth passes through it, sometime between 1-2 a.m. PDT on August 12, the meteor rate could surge to twice its normal value.
For the whole story and links to a Perseid app for iPhones, go to
The NASA Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate Project awards one-year fellowships each year to over 40 current and prospective teachers.
Endeavor Fellows take five graduate courses online and learn to apply research-based pedagogical strategies and cutting-edge science, technology, engineering and mathematics content in their classrooms.
Teachers seeking their first science endorsement or endorsements in additional science content areas are especially encouraged to apply. Applications will be accepted through Sept. 30, 2009. For more information, visit
In 2006, astronomers at a meeting of the International Astronomical Union, known as the IAU, debated the definition of a planet.
In the "What is a Planet?" activity, students in grades 9-12 take part in a similar debate over whether the fictional solar system object Pandora is a planet. For an educator's guide and more information, go to
MyMoon, an expanding lunar education new-media portal from the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), is a collaboration with lunar scientists, educators, artists - and the public - to bring together science content, diverse media exhibits, events, and opportunities for involvement. For more information, visit
NASA's Waste Limitation Management and Recycling Design Challenge for middle schoolers is based on the theme that it's time to go back to the moon and stay.
Students in grades 5-8 are challenged to form small engineering teams to design a sustainable water recycling system for the moon. The first place team will win a trip to the Kennedy Space Center. For more information, go to
"The Important Little Life of Dylan Diatom," a short film sponsored by the National Science Foundation, is designed for middle school students to witness the role of phytoplankton in the Arctic and the effects of warming.
Diatoms (part of a family of ocean algae, most of which are too tiny to see without magnification) are thought to absorb carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, in amounts comparable to all the world's tropical rain forests combined. To watch the film, 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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