July 5, 2011
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
-- YOUTH ROBOTICS COMPETITION (8-12)
-- WATCH THE LAST SHUTTLE LAUNCH
-- SPACE SHUTTLE ART COMPETITION (4-12)
-- CHECK YOUR LOCAL UV LEVEL
-- NEW NASA CLASSROOM RESOURCES (K-4)
-- SPHERES ZERO ROBOTICS CHALLENGE (9-12)
Entries are now open for the youth robotics competition at 2011 Space Elevator Competition being held August 13 at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond. Participants are being challenged to build and program autonomous, tether-climbing robots that simulate carrying satellites into orbit.
The Space Elevator Conference is a three-day technical conference focusing on a futuristic space transportation system aimed at accessing space less expensively than is possible with chemical rocket technology. The application deadline for the student competition is August 5. For complete rules and registration information, go to
More information on the Space Elevator Conference is available at
On July 8, The Museum of Flight in Seattle will open at 8 a.m. to allow the public to watch live NASA TV coverage of the final, historic space shuttle launch on the big screen in the Museum's William M. Allen Theater. Weather permitting, the space shuttle Atlantis (STS-135) is scheduled to launch at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 8:26 a.m. PDT.
Admission to the theater is free for this event, separate admission required to enter Museum galleries. For more information, go to
The NASA Space Shuttle Art Competition commemorates the history of the Space Shuttle Program by inviting individual students, ages 9-17, to create original artwork that symbolizes its impact on our planet and people. Participants will also write a 250-word essay explaining their artistic entries.
The submissions will be reviewed by an expert panel of artists and the top six entries will receive a cash prize, a private tutoring session with an accomplished USA TODAY graphic artist, and a certificate of accomplishment. The deadline for submission is August 5, 2011.
For more information, see
Ultraviolet (UV) light can cause sunburn or even skin cancer, and can also damage eyes.
The Environmental Protection Agency's SunWise Program offers an interactive tool to check the strength of solar UV radiation locally, either by zip code or city and state. The index, developed by the National Weather Service and EPA, indicates the strength of solar UV radiation on a scale from 1 (low) to 11+ (extremely high).
To check local UV levels, visit
NASA offers two new educational resources for elementary school teachers.
The High Flyers Alphabet Activity Book for grades K-2 introduces basic aeronautics terms. Students can color and practice letter writing, learn new words, solve simple addition problems and more. To download the activity book, go to
Why Do We Explore? is an animated storybook for grades K-4. To view the storybook, go to
Zero Robotics is a student competition that takes "arena robotics" to new heights, literally. The robots are miniature satellites called SPHERES, and the final tournament is aboard the International Space Station.
Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, are used inside the station to test maneuvers for spacecraft performing autonomous rendezvous and docking. The three satellites that make up SPHERES fly in formation inside the station's cabin. Each is self-contained with power, propulsion, computing and navigation equipment.
The SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge requires high school student teams to write their own algorithm to fly the satellites in the station. To participate, teams must register before Sept. 5, 2011.
For more information, go to
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