November 9, 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
-- VIRTUAL APOLLO CONFERENCE FOR EDUCATORS
-- FREE ASTROBIOLOGY LECTURES
-- DINOSAURS ON ICE LECTURE
-- STS-129 BUTTERFLIES IN SPACE (K-8)
-- ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH CONTEST (9-12)
-- NASA IPHONE/IPOD APP
-- THE FALL OF THE MAYA
On November 10, experts from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum will host the Apollo Space Program Virtual Conference, a free one-day online conference, exploring the challenges of President Kennedy's goal of landing a man on the moon, one of the most significant achievements of the 20th Century.
The conference examines the remarkable technologies that made the moon landings possible, discusses Apollo's impact on American and world history and our lives today, and explores ways to teach students how to use primary source materials. The program includes sessions of general interest and sessions for secondary teachers with ties to the NASA History Advanced Placement and Human Geography Advanced Placement projects.
For more information, go to
Life and the Universe, a free lecture series at the University of Washington, continues in November. The series 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. To reserve a free ticket, go to http://depts.washington.edu/astrobio/PubLec_tickets.htmlDINOSAURS ON ICE LECTURE
On November 12, Antarctica researcher William Hammer of Augustana College will give a free lecture at the Burke Museum on Jurassic dinosaurs, scavenging theropods, a new sauropodomorph, a "beaver-like" tritylodont, a pterosaur or flying reptile, as well as other Jurassic finds from his over 30 years of research into the secrets of Antarctica.
The lecture will take place 7 p.m. at the museum on the University of Washington campus, Seattle. For more information, see
On November 16, a flock of Painted Lady butterflies will fly aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station (ISS). The butterflies will spend several months in space as part of an exciting experiment to observe their life cycles and behaviors in microgravity. Photos and video will be transmitted back to Earth.
Classrooms are invited to join the investigation in real time, taking part in concurrent activities with their own butterflies. For a teacher's guide and more information, go to
The 2010 Thacher Environmental Research Contest, an activity of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, will award cash prizes to secondary school students whose projects demonstrate the best use of satellites and other geospatial technologies or data to study Earth.
Entries must be postmarked April 5, 2010. In the case of team entries, the cash award will be split equally among the winning team members. In addition to prizes for the winning students, the teacher/coach of the winning students or teams will receive a $200 amazon.com gift card.
For more information, go to
A NASA application for the iPhone and iPod touch is available free of charge from Apple, delivering a wealth of information, videos, images and news updates about NASA missions to people's fingertips.
Users can access NASA countdown clocks, the NASA Image of the Day, Astronomy Image of the Day, online videos, NASA's many Twitter feeds and other information in a convenient mobile package. Users can also track the current positions of the International Space Station and other spacecraft currently orbiting Earth in three views: a map with borders and labels, visible satellite imagery, or satellite overlaid with country borders and labels.
For more information, visit
For 1200 years, the Maya dominated Central America. At their peak around 900 A.D., Maya cities teemed with more than 2,000 people per square mile. Even in rural areas the Maya numbered 200 to 400 people per square mile. But suddenly, all was quiet.
What happened to the once vibrant Maya society? Some NASA-funded researchers think they have a pretty good idea. For their theory, see
Ideas, comments and Web sites of interest to other teachers should be sent to Irene Svete, newsletter editor, at
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