Update your bookmarks! Our new website url is http://windows2universe.org!
If you haven't already, please respond to the email about forwarding UCAR subscription information to NESTA (sent from firstname.lastname@example.org and subject: For Windows to the Universe Educators). If you missed this email, it will be sent out again next month. It's easy - only two clicks of the mouse!
We are entering a very busy time now, as we prepare this newsletter. As you see below, we have many workshops at the upcoming NSTA Area Conferences. In addition, we recently participated in two additional events. The National Academies is hosting a Climate Change Education Roundtable, which recently had an education workshop in Washington DC (October 21-22). The discussion was very informative, and numerous valuable reports were provided at the meeting, including research results provided by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. I will make a point of sharing these resources in the next newsletter.
The following weekend, NESTA and Windows to the Universe participated in the first USA Science and Engineering Festival, also in Washington DC. It was a wonderful event, with hundreds of exhibitors and events, and many tens of thousands of members of the public - particularly parents and kids interested in science - enjoying the many resources available. It was an exhausting event, but well worth it. We thank all the volunteers who helped out at the event - 24 in all - including high school students from local schools, local teachers, members and leaders of NESTA (including NESTA Past-President, Dr. Michael Passow, and our Share-a-Thon Coordinator and Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, Michelle Harris), and even my daughter! We couldn't have done it without you!
As usual, we have lots of partner announcements in the lower part of the newsletter, so be sure to scroll down, as many of these will benefit you and your students, and may have deadlines associated with them.
At this time of year in the U.S., thoughts run to giving thanks for our blessings, even in these difficult times. I have so many blessings to be thankful for - my wonderful family and friends, the great people I have the honor to work with, and the incredible opportunity I've had to work on this project since February 1995, sharing the Earth and Space Sciences with people around the world. I'm also so pleased to know that what we do has made a difference for teachers and students, and thank all the people and organizations that have been responsible for working on, contributing to, and sponsoring Windows to the Universe!
As we all consider what we are thankful for this year, I'd like to encourage you to consider joining Windows to the Universe as an Educator Member and/or making a donation to the Windows to the Universe project. Over the past six months, we have undertaken a brave new adventure, working to develop a sustainability model for this website and our professional development program (with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation), so that these activities are not so dependent on a continuing supply of Federal funding.
Even though Windows to the Universe is one of the most successful and least expensive science education websites ever developed on Federal funding, eventually granting agencies find it difficult to continue funding projects, irrespective of how successful they are, as they are required to support new programs. Based on our large audience of over 15 million users annually, we are working to develop an array of funding strategies to help support the project and reduce our dependence on Federal funding. These strategies include providing opportunities for membership (providing access to members-only special benefits and services), a partnership program with scientists and institutions, an online store (which helps support our programs through commissions from vendors), additional professional development offerings, advertising, and donations. We hope to use these resources to not only support Windows to the Universe content and professional development activities, but also to support NESTA. If this website is a valuable resource for you, please consider supporting it in one or more of the ways described above - your support is much appreciated!
I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Teacher Members of Windows to the Universe in the U.S. should log in to get details of an opportunity to help with the review of a new curriculum over the coming months. You can earn some extra money in the process! Hurry - this is a first come, first served opportunity! See our Special Offers page for additional information about this and other opportunities. Not a member? Join Today!
We've added data for 2010 (so far!) to our "Graphing Sea Ice Extent in the Arctic and Antarctic" activity. A decrease in the thickness and area of Arctic Sea ice has been one of the early warning signs of our planet's warming climate. This graphing activity helps students explore the changing nature of the polar regions by plotting seasonal and long-term changes in sea ice extent around both poles using actual (and current!) data. The Arctic ice pack made headlines in 2007 as it reached historical lows. How has it been doing since? See for yourself...we just added data through September 2010 to this activity.
We've also added 2010 data to our interactive sea ice map viewer, which now includes images spanning 1979 through 2010. Use it to make side-by-side comparisons of maps at different times in the Arctic and Antarctic.
Don't forget, the Great World Wide Star Count is underway from now until Friday, November 12th, so there's plenty of time for you and your students to participate.
Star Count is an easy, fun, and engaging campaign to measure light pollution worldwide! All the background information needed is on our web site. Simple step-by-step instructions (along with a free extension activity) are provided in the 2010 Activity Guides, now available for download in eight languages.
Since 2007, more than 30,000 participants in 64 countries have contributed observations. Please help us to reach our goal of 10,000 observations in 2010!
Did you know that only about 2.75% of the water on Earth is freshwater? And that most of that (~2%) is frozen in glaciers? That leaves only a very small fraction of Earth's water to support the needs of people around the world, and it is clear that this resource is only going to become more limited as the global population is increasing quickly.
November's Geography Awareness week focuses on freshwater, and so it seems like a great time to take a few minutes and think about the ways we use this critical resource every day, as well as ways we might be able to conserve water.
For instance, did you know that even a very quick shower in a typical American house uses at least 4 gallons of water, and that using an automatic dishwasher on its shortest cycle uses about twice that much? Even brushing our teeth uses a half gallon, and that’s only if we don’t let the water run while we brush—otherwise it could be much more!
There are some really easy ways to conserve water. Installing low-flow showerheads and faucets in your home can save 45 gallons of water per day in a typical American household. Installing a low-flow toilet can add another 50-75 gallons in savings per month, and together those two steps can cut a typical household's water use (and water bills!) in half. We can also be careful in the ways we use water, like only watering the grass at night when less of it will evaporate, and only running the dishwasher or washing machine when it’s full.
The World Health Organization estimates that people around the world need at least 20 liters of clean water per day, and that much of the world's population will have difficulties accessing safe water supplies by 2025. With that in mind, please think about how you can help conserve water and make our limited supplies stretch even further.
Do you want to learn more? Read about the World Health Organization's latest studies of water resources. Access some really good tips on water conservation. Use a water consumption calculator to determine your water footprint. Then challenge your household to bring that number down!
Since 1997, communities across the country have come together on November 15 to celebrate America Recycles Day, a nationally-recognized initiative by Keep America beautiful dedicated to encouraging people to recycle more at home, at work, and on the go. Recycling reduces waste, energy usage and helps mitigate future climate change. "I Recycle" is the theme of America Recycles Day 2010. America Recycles Day 2009 featured 750 registered organizations conducting 2,375 events that involved 7,700 participating groups. This year, you can organize recycling events or find events in your community online at http://www.americarecyclesday.org/.
The Leonid meteor shower is expected to peak this year on the evening of November 17th. The Leonids are an unpredictable shower; most years it is quite tame, displaying only 10 or so meteors per hour at its peak. However, the Leonids occasionally produce meteor "deluges", with hourly meteor counts soaring into the hundreds. During a spectacular storm in 1883, observers estimated that they could see more than 1,000 Leonids per hour! The Leonid showers of 1998-2002 were also quite eventful. Turn your gaze toward the heavens to see what this year's shower produces!
At the end of November, millions of turkeys are served on U.S. dinner tables as part of Thanksgiving. Consequently, this is the month in the U.S. when many people ask questions like, "How big a bird did you cook?".
Ask questions about life adaptation skills and evolutionary processes with our Bird Beaks activity - complete with an accompanying PowerPoint presentation and group and class handouts for data collection.This activity uses very simple materials, is aligned to the National Standards (see activity for more details) and can be used for upper elementary through high school levels.
You've probably heard a Full Moon in the autumn called a "Harvest Moon" or a "Hunter's Moon". You may even realize that farmers can work late, after sunset, by the light of the Full Harvest Moon; hence the name. But did you know the Moon has ten other aliases, one for each month of the year? Did you know that the names of the Full Moon come from Native Americans, specifically the Algonquian tribes of eastern and northern North America? Learn more at "Full Moon Names".
Windows to the Universe is used by people from all over the world. Do you know of other names for Earth's Moon in your culture? If so, please share them with us through our comments page and mention that you're responding to the Moon posting in the November newsletter. We'll compile the responses and share them with the rest of you. Please be sure to include not only the name of the Moon, but also the geographic region/country/culture in which this name is used.
November 7th is the 143rd anniversary of the birth of Marie Curie (1867-1934). She was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity, the first scientist to receive two Nobel prizes and the first female professor at the University of Paris. She was born in Poland and lived in France as of age 24. Together with her husband Pierre Curie, another Nobel prize laureate, she discovered two new elements, Radium and Polonium, and studied the x-rays they emitted. Their daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935. What an exceptional family!
Other notable birthdays in November include:
Ocean water is always moving. It moves around surface ocean currents in the upper 400 meters of the ocean, creating swift-flowing currents like the Gulf Stream and eddies that spin off the flow of water. Water from deep in the ocean moves towards the surface by upwelling. Currents along coastlines move water as well as sand. Each day ocean water moves with the tides. And, over a long time, water circulates from the deep ocean to shallow ocean and back again because of thermohaline circulation.
Will you be at the NSTA Regional Conferences in Baltimore, MD (November 11-13, 2010) or Nashville, TN (December 2-4, 2010)? If so, we invite you to participate in one or more of the sessions listed below.Baltimore NSTA Regional Conference
Nashville NSTA Regional Conference
Table of Contents
Polar Sea Ice
Star Count Underway!
Earth Sci Teachers
Sustainability Ed Wk
Env Research Contest
AGI ES Award Open
Walk to School!
Melvin Leads E&O
2010 PEYA Award
Teacher SubmissionsClick here to submit your ideas to the newsletter
Announcements from PartnersClick here to submit information about your program to the newsletter
Did you know that the National Earth Science Teachers Association will be very involved at the NSTA meetings this Fall? Join this supportive teachers' network and you can meet other NESTA members at these Fall NSTA meetings. These NESTA members have great ideas for teaching Earth science, and their enthusiasm for the geosciences is contagious! Other membership benefits include receiving The Earth Scientist (a quarterly journal), full voting privileges, access to members-only areas of the NESTA web site, a discount on Windows to the Universe Educator Membership, and the monthly e-mail newsletter, NESTA ENews, that shares new resources, opportunities, alerts, and upcoming events.
NESTA also hosts Share-a-Thon sessions at the NSTA meetings. Whether you are a NESTA member or not, you can present at those Share-a-Thon sessions. Please consider sharing your favorite, tested classroom activity with your colleagues at the National Earth Science Teachers Association Share-a-Thons at the fall regionals. This is a great opportunity to help your colleagues, and also be listed in the official program as a presenter (if you let us know far enough in advance), which may help you get support from your school administrators for attending the meeting. If you're interested in presenting, please see the complete list of NESTA Share-a-Thon and Rock Raffles at Fall NSTA Area Conferences and contact NESTA's Share-a-Thon coordinator, Michelle Harris, and let her know that you'd like to present (at email@example.com).
Geography Awareness Week will be taking place November 14-20th. The theme this year is Freshwater!
There will be a Blog-a-thon that week where geographers, scientists, students, teachers, parents or anyone who's ever had an interesting thought about geography can write about a current event, policy issue, lesson plan, or field trip idea. You can even post a poem, work of art or favorite photo. Visit the My Wonderful World Blog for more information or email Sarah Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.
Check out the Geography Awareness campaign site for many more ways to get involved! There are even cool games to play!
The U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development (USPESD) K-12 & Teacher Education Sector, with its educational partners across the nation, invites students, educators, schools, colleges of education, and community members to join in the recognition of National Sustainability Education Week (November 8-12, 2010). Teaching resources and sustainability standards for the K-12 education community are available at www.uspartnership.org.
In conjunction with National Sustainability Education Week, the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development K-12 and Teacher Education Sector is pleased to offer a FREE webinar. Join us on November 10, 2010, from 3-4:30pm PST/6-7:30pm EST for a webinar which will showcase promising practices in Education for Sustainability from across the country. REGISTER today to reserve a spot!
College students can benefit people, promote prosperity and protect the planet by designing solutions that move us towards a sustainable future. Applications are due December 22. For more details, see http://www.epa.gov/ncer/p3/apply/
The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship is a paid fellowship for K-12 science, math, engineering and technology (STEM) teachers. Einstein Fellows spend a school year in Washington, DC serving in a federal agency or on Capitol Hill. To be considered for an Einstein Fellowship for the 2011-2012 school year, apply online NOW, and submit your application and three letters of recommendation no later than January 4, 2011.
To learn more about the program and apply, visit http://www.trianglecoalition.org/fellows/einapp.htm. If you have questions about the program or application, contact Program Manager Kathryn Culbertson at email@example.com.
From the massive Gulf oil spill to the continued decline of Arctic sea ice, satellites and other observing instruments have proved crucial this year in monitoring the many environmental changes -- both natural and human-induced -- occurring on global, regional and local scales.
The 2011 Thacher Environmental Research Contest, sponsored by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, challenges high school students (grades 9-12) to conduct innovative research on our changing planet using the latest geospatial tools and data, which in recent years have become increasingly accessible to the public. Eligible geospatial tools and data include satellite remote sensing, aerial photography, geographic information systems (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS).
The best projects will receive cash awards in the amount of $2,000 for first place, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place. Entries can be submitted by individuals or teams. In the case of team entries, the cash award will be split equally among the winning team members. Winners will also be featured in an Encyclopedia of Earth article.
Entries must be received by April 11, 2011, and will be judged by IGES staff. For more information on the 2011 Thacher Environmental Research Contest, including a list of resources for geospatial data, please visit www.strategies.org/ThacherContest.
Four decades after the first lunar rover rolled across the surface of the moon, innovative high school and college students are preparing to design, build and race lightweight, human-powered "moonbuggies". Registration is open for the 18th annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race, set for April 1-2, 2011, in Huntsville, AL.
Registration closes February 1, 2011. For complete rules, vehicle design parameters and registration details for the race, visit: http://moonbuggy.msfc.nasa.gov
NASA has developed a video contest to raise students' awareness of technology transfer efforts and how NASA technologies contribute to our everyday lives.
NASA is collaborating with Hasbro using the correlation between the popular TRANSFORMERS brand, featuring its leader Optimus Prime, and spinoffs from NASA technologies created for aeronautics and space missions that are used here on Earth. The goal is to help students understand that NASA technology 'transforms' into things that are used daily. These 'transformed' technologies include water purifiers, medical imaging software, or fabric that protects against UV rays.
The contest is for students from third to eighth grade. Each student, or group of students, will submit a three- to five-minute video on a selected NASA spinoff technology listed in the 2009 Spinoff publication. Videos must demonstrate an understanding of the NASA spinoff technology and the associated NASA mission, as well as the commercial application and public benefit associated with the "transformed" technology. Video entries are due by December 31. For more information, visit the Optimus Prime Spinoff Award web site: http://ipp.gsfc.nasa.gov/optimus
NASA and Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade arts and crafts, have partnered to launch Space Craft, a contest where entrants share an original work of art inspired by NASA's programs, such as human spaceflight, aeronautics, or the exploration of the universe. Contestants can enter two-dimensional original art (paintings, drawings, prints, mixed media, photographs, computer-generated prints, etc.). Three-dimensional entries, including wearable art and soft sculptures, may also be entered.
The contestants will compete for cash prizes and a trip to attend the space shuttle launch targeted for February 2011. NASA's goal is to help inform Etsy's 5.5 million members, 96% of whom are women, about the agency's present and future exploration plans.
Space Craft runs through November 2nd. If you don't have a chance to enter, help judge entries on the Etsy web site. For more information about the contest and to see what wonderful art has been submitted, visit: http://www.etsy.com/nasa
Does someone you know teach earth science to students between kindergarten and eighth grade? Do they excel in their teaching through leadership and innovation, bringing new ideas and approaches to teaching about our planet? If so, they may be eligible for the Edward C. Roy Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching. Given annually, this award recognizes one classroom teacher nationwide for their leadership and innovation in earth science education.
The winner will receive a prize of $2,500 and an additional grant of $1,000 to enable the recipient to attend the 2011 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Annual Conference in San Francisco, California, from March 10-13. To be eligible, applications must be postmarked by January 5, 2011. To learn more about competition requirements, application procedures, and deadlines, visit http://www.agiweb.org/education/awards/ed-roy/.
Do you have a child or student who loves to read and then write about books? Have them enter the DogEared blogger contest being run by National Geographic Kids.
Prizes include a 3-month assignment to blog about books on National Geographic Kids' online book blog, DogEared, gift cards, and a variety of books. See contest details for more information!
The contest is open to residents of the United States who are nine to 14 years of age. Entries must be postmarked by November 15, 2010, and received by November 23, 2010.
NASA and Univision Communications Inc. are teaming up to launch an on-air and online initiative to help engage Hispanic students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. NASA is committed to preparing the next generation of scientists, engineers and technologists. Univision is a leading Spanish-language media company with television, radio, online and interactive assets focused on improving graduation rates and preparing Hispanic students for college.
Beginning Saturday, Oct. 2, Univision will air a series of Spanish-language educational video segments produced by NASA and titled "NASA and You" (NASA y Tu). Featuring Hispanic employees from NASA as role models, the 30-second videos will present new perspectives on education and STEM careers. Among many featured NASA staff members are astronaut Jose Hernandez, who talks about his life and how he became an astronaut, and Margaret Dominguez, an optics engineer.
The segments will air on Saturday mornings on the Univision children's block "Planeta U." They are part of the company's comprehensive, multi-platform, three-year national education initiative called Es El Momento (The Moment is Now).
Teachers and students -- come up with an idea for how your school could save water, reduce waste, or save energy and enter for a chance to win a grand prize of five Promethean technology-enabled learning environments, plus $1,000 of National Geographic products and 30 subscriptions to National Geographic Kids. Learn more about your environmental footprint and how you can make a difference at the Future Friendly Find Your Footprint Contest website. Entries must be received by December 3, 2010.
Green Works is sponsoring a contest to help families get out and get moving towards a more active, more eco-friendly lifestyle. All you have to do is walk with your family to school each day and then record your footprints. You can compete with other schools to win prizes. Your school could even win a $5,000 Green Grant. Check out the contest page on Facebook. Choose to "Like" the Green Works page to enter the Walk to School Challenge today!
Leland D. Melvin has been appointed NASA's new associate administrator for education. As associate administrator, Melvin will be responsible for the development and implementation of the agency's education programs that strengthen student involvement and public awareness about NASA's scientific goals and missions.
"My passion for education was inspired by my parents, who were both middle school teachers," Melvin said. "I witnessed the direct impact that educators can have in a community and on an individual's destiny. NASA's people, programs and resources are unparalleled. Our unique assets are poised to engage students, to captivate their imagination and to encourage their pursuit of STEM-related studies that are so vital to their future. This is an exciting challenge and I am ready to work with Administrator Bolden, my colleagues at NASA, our partners, and students across the country to usher in a new era of opportunity to inspire that next generation of explorers."
Melvin joined NASA in 1989 as an aerospace research engineer at the agency's Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. He joined the astronaut corps in 1998 and has served as a mission specialist on two space shuttle missions: STS-122 in 2008 and STS-129 in 2009. He has logged more than 565 hours in space. In 2003, Melvin co-managed the former Educator Astronaut Program, which recruited teachers to become fully-trained astronauts in an effort to connect space exploration with students across the country.
The PEYA program promotes
awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive
community involvement. Since 1971, the President of the U.S.
has joined with the EPA to recognize young people across the U.S. for
protecting our nation’s air, water and land. It is one of the
most important ways the EPA and the Administration demonstrate commitment to
environmental stewardship efforts created and conducted by our nation’s
young people. One outstanding project from each region is selected for
national recognition. Projects are developed by young individuals,
school classes (K-12), summer camps and youth organizations to promote
environmental stewardship. Thousands of young people from all 50 states
and the U.S. territories have submitted projects to EPA for
consideration. Winning projects in the past have covered a wide range of areas including:
Find out how to apply. The annual deadline for the regional award program is December 31.
The source of this material is Windows to the Universe, at http://windows2universe.org/ from the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA). The Website was developed in part with the support of UCAR and NCAR, where it resided from 2000 - 2010. © 2010 National Earth Science Teachers Association. Windows to the Universe® is a registered trademark of NESTA. All Rights Reserved. Site policies and disclaimer.