September 25, 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
-- HISTORIC MERCURY VIEWING
-- FREE ASTROBIOLOGY LECTURES
-- SPACE OUT! WORKSHOP (4-12)
-- BLAST BACK TO SCHOOL (K-12)
-- GALILEAN NIGHTS (K-12)
On September 29, NASA's Messenger spacecraft will fly by Mercury, the only one of the eight planets in our solar system that has not been fully seen.
An hour before the Mercury encounter, the Messenger science education team will begin covering the flight live on Twitter and Facebook. The group will work with the mission scientist for the next two days, providing live coverage of the preliminary results from the data streaming to Earth.
There is also a blog with information on how classes can connect and participate, as well as ideas for lessons leading up to and after the Mercury flyby, and full details of the specific questions that scientists are going to be asking through the spacecraft's instruments. For more information, go to
Life and the Universe, a free series of six lectures at the University of Washington, celebrates the ideas of Galileo and Darwin and takes stock of how those ideas fostered the emerging interdisciplinary science of astrobiology, which asks fundamental questions about the phenomenon of life in a cosmic context.
The lectures will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday evenings, beginning Oct. 6, in Kane Hall, Room 120. Speakers will include George Coyne, S.J., director emeritus of the Vatican Observatory; NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay; and Peter D. Ward, paleontologist and author of "Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future."
To reserve a free ticket, go to
"Space Out!" -- an interdisciplinary educator workshop combining visual art, science and social studies -- looks at how people looked at space travel (real and imagined) before the first manned moon landing.
The workshop, presented by the Museum of Flight and the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum (EMP/SFM), takes place Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m at the EMP/SFM. Registered educators will receive copies of exhibition images for classroom use, audiovisual materials and handouts. Clock hours are also available.
For more information, go to
Blast Back to School offers educators an easy way to add a little space to their classrooms. The page provides quick links to educational resources for use in kindergarten through college, as well as resources for the informal education community.
Galilean Nights -- the International Year of Astronomy's cornerstone project -- takes place October 22-24. For three nights, amateur and professional astronomers, enthusiasts and the public will take to the streets around the globe and point their telescopes to the wonders that Italian astronomer Galileo observed 400 years ago.
Galilean Nights focus on objects that Galileo observed, including Jupiter and the moon, which will be well-positioned in the night sky for observing. The site offers resources to organize events and educational material for classroom activities. To learn more, 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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