Here We Go!
Ready or not, here they come! This newsletter is full of resources to help you as you start your new academic year, with science highlights, as well as educational resources and opportunities from Windows to the Universe, NESTA, and our partner organizations. We will shortly be sending out announcements of our upcoming program at NSTA's Fall Area Conferences in Richmond, Orlando, and Long Beach. Don't forget that the autumnal equinox is coming up later this month!
This newsletter was started back in September 2005, as a service to teachers around the world, and has been offered for free for the past nine years. The newsletter reaches over 5,000 teachers around the world - primarily in the US, but also large numbers of teachers in Latin America. The average cost of producing this newsletter is ~$1500/month, including editing, translation, and associated website support costs. Because we do not have enough financial support from sponsorships, memberships, or advertising to cover the costs of the newsletter, we recently reached out to subscribers to encourage donations to keep the newsletter free. Dozens of generous individuals donated towards this cause - with donations ranging between $5 and $100, but unfortunately the total support raised was about $1,000 - not nearly sufficient to cover the costs of putting together such a resource-rich and comprehensive newsletter.
As a result, beginning September 1, new subscribers to the newsletter will have the opportunity to subscribe for $12/year (just a dollar an issue!), or to become a Windows to the Universe Educator Member - and have the newsletter subscription included in their membership. Current Windows to the Universe Educator Newsletter subscribers (that means you, if you are receiving this) are automatically grandfathered in for a full year, through September 2015 - so you will continue to receive this newsletter for free for the coming year. Of course, the most cost-effective way to maximize the value of the resources you gain is to join NESTA (Basic Membership at $30/year), and take advantage of the 50% discount on Windows to the Universe Educator Membership for NESTA members.
I hope you continue to value receiving this newsletter each month, and will choose to subscribe in September 2015, or to become a Windows to the Universe Educator Member. Of course - if you're not already a member - joining today will provide vital support for our newsletter, as well as our professional development efforts.
Best of luck for the new semester!
Site and Science News
We are happy to announce a series of free web seminars offered by NESTA and Windows to the Universe on topics in space science, planetary science, and astronomy. The series will feature Ardis Herrold (NESTA Past-President, 35-year science teacher, planetarium director, and JPL Solar System Ambassador Master Teacher) and Roberta Johnson (PhD, Geophysics and Space Physics; NESTA Executive Director; Clinical Professor, University at Albany; Director, Windows to the Universe). All seminars will be at 7 pm Eastern and will continue approximately every three weeks through the end of September 2014. Our next web seminar is on September 9 and will focus on Comets, Dwarf Planets, and Asteroids. Register and find out more on the Windows to the Universe Web Seminar page.
Have you had a chance to visit our Teacher Resources Section? If not, September may be a great time to do so!
In our Teacher Resources section, there is a page about various workshops we've presented. So if you are looking for information that was presented during one of those sessions - look here!
But the highlight of our Teacher Resources section is definitely our Activities Page. There you'll find many K-12 science activities on subjects from space weather to geology to writing in the science classroom. Most are hands-on and use inexpensive materials. You are welcome to make copies of anything on our site (worksheets, example rubrics, etc.) for use in your classroom.
We have tried our best to make our activities teacher-friendly. You will see on the top of the activities a brief summary of each activity, the grade level addressed, time the activity takes, and the National Standards addressed. See our Magnetometer Activity as an example.
We hope our activities will be a refreshing addition to your classroom. To those of you in the Northern Hemisphere - all the best for a new school year!
Did you know that Earth's North Magnetic Pole is actually the south pole of our planet's magnetic field? Did you know that the North Magnetic Pole is located in the Arctic Ocean north of Canada, about 810 km (503 miles) from the Geographic North Pole? Or that the South Magnetic Pole is just off the coast of Antarctica, in the direction of Australia, about 2,826 km (1,756 miles) from the Geographic South Pole? Did you know that the position of the North Magnetic Pole is shifting at a rate of about 41 km (25 miles) per year? Or that the influence of the Sun's fluctuating magnetic field can cause Earth's magnetic poles to migrate by 80 km (50 miles) or more each day? Find out more in our "Earth's Magnetic Poles" page! For all the details, check out the Advanced level version of the page by clicking on the blue tab along the top of the page.
September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. Talk to your students about prominent Hispanic scientists and astronauts.
Franklin Chang-Diaz was born in San Jose, Costa Rica, in 1950 and became an astronaut in 1980. He was the first Hispanic-American to travel in space. He has spent over 1033 hours in space on five spaceflights. Before he became an astronaut, Chang-Diaz was an engineer and physicist.
Ellen Ochoa was born in Los Angeles in 1958 and became the first Hispanic woman in space in 1991. She has spent over 900 hours in space on two spacecraft. Before she became an astronaut, Ochoa researched optical systems for automated space exploration.
Luis Walter Alvarez was born in San Francisco in 1911. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1968. He helped design a ground-controlled radar system for aircraft landings and, with his son Walter, he developed the meteorite theory of dinosaur extinction.
Mario Molina was born in Mexico City in 1943. He received a Nobel prize in chemistry in 1995 for his research with Sherwood Rowland. They studied chlorofluorocarbons and discovered that the release of CFC's destroy the ozone layer in the stratosphere.
Severo Ochoa (1905–1993) was born in Spain and moved to the United States in 1940. He received the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Arthur Kornberg for his work involving DNA biochemistry.
Read about more Hispanic scientists and astronauts on Wikipedia.
This year, the Autumnal equinox will occur on September 23rd (the beginning of Fall for the N. Hemisphere and the beginning of Spring for the S. Hemisphere). At the equinox times in the Earth's revolution, the Earth is neither tilted directly towards nor directly away from the Sun. In other words, both hemispheres receive roughly equal amounts of sunlight. Equinoxes mark the seasons of autumn and spring and are a transition between the two more extreme seasons, summer and winter.
Contrary to what is commonly believed, day and night are not exactly of equal length at the time of the March and September equinoxes. On the day of an equinox, the geometric center of the Sun's disk crosses the equator, and this point is above the horizon for 12 hours everywhere on the Earth. However, the length of the day is defined as the period when some sunlight is visible, and this also happens when the upper edge of the Sun is visible but its center is below the horizon. The date at which the length of day and night are closest to being equal is called the equilux. The specific dates of equiluxes are different for different latitudes.
Join us on Monday, October 6, 2014, at 7:30 PM Eastern Time. Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/687917538
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar. Our Featured speaker is Dr. Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences and Associate of the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Pennsylvania State University. He will be giving our main presentation Bungy Jumping off the Ice-Core Roller Coaster: Ice-Core Records of Global Warming and Abrupt Climate Change.
Science teachers and students can go online to use a new educational resource of the Earth Science Week website, the "Be a Citizen Scientist" page, which features information and links for recommended "citizen science" programs focusing on Earth science.
Start the school year with an inspirational new film from BioInteractive.
The Guide: A Biologist in Gorongosa tells the story of Tonga Torcida, a young man working in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, who decides to pursue a research career after meeting world-renowned biologist and biodiversity champion, E. O. Wilson. Share this 30-minute story with your students to awaken their passion for science through the living laboratory of one of the world's most important case studies in community-based conservation biology and ecology. Afterwards, they can visit the Gorongosa website and communicate with Tonga and his colleagues via social media.
The National Center for Science Education’s Mark McCaffrey has a new resource to improve your students’ understanding of the intersection of science and social policy by making climate and energy literacy the centerpiece of your curriculum. The book offers a virtual blueprint to climate and energy education, packed with resources and strategies, including:
For details about Climate Smart & Energy Wise and for ordering information, visit the publisher’s website: http://www.corwin.com/books/Book241767.
The land, water, and air around us are changing. Often, the changes are subtle and we cannot see them without the help of modern technology.
Repeat photographs reveal measurable changes in vegetation including phenology, growth patterns and plant health, snow and water levels, and sky conditions. A Picture Post is an easy-to-build platform for collecting panoramic photographic data from the same vantage point. Participants upload their pictures and share findings on the Picture Post website. As a whole, the Network contributes to national climate change monitoring programs.
Collecting pictures is just the beginning! Picture Post and Digital Earth Watch (DEW) are online resources for educators, students, communities, and citizens to design and carry out investigations, challenges, and environmental stewardship projects with low-cost, do-it-yourself tools and a free software program, Analyzing Digital Images (ADI), that measures spatial features in a picture and analyzes plant health based on color.
For more information, contact Dr. Annette Schloss, University of New Hampshire, 446 Morse Hall, Durham, NH 03824. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (603)862-0348
The Picture Post Network is part of the Digital Earth Watch (DEW) environmental-monitoring program. Picture Post is based at the University of New Hampshire and was developed with funding from NASA.
Calendar of Events
Ocean trash is a serious pollution problem that affects the health of people, wildlife, and local economies. Join the world’s largest volunteer effort for our ocean and waterways by participating in the International Coastal Cleanup throughout the month of September. Find a Cleanup location near you!
An astounding 648,015 volunteers in 92 countries picked up more than 12.3 million pounds of trash in our 2013 International Coastal Cleanup. Their most common finds included cigarettes, food wrappers, beverage bottles, bottle caps, straws and plastic bags. They also collected weird finds ranging from toilets to couches, baby pacifiers to high chairs, wigs to guitars, math textbooks to a 1904 typewriter!
If you can't participate during the month of September, here are 10 things you can do to protect our seas and coastal areas.
September is National Preparedness Month - a time to get prepared for emergencies like tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes! On the web site, you will learn how to make a plan, build a disaster readiness kit, get involved in your community and prepare your business. There's even a section for fun and games for students. Join the National Preparedness Community by joining America's Prepareathon.
The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) celebrates Protect Your Groundwater Day on September 9, 2014, promoting water conservation and contamination prevention as ways to protect groundwater resources.
World Water Monitoring Challenge is an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies. In 2013, approximately 184,965 visits were made by participants to monitoring sites in 51 countries.
We challenge you to test the quality of your waterways (official World Water Monitoring Day is on September 18, but you can monitor your site any time through October 31), share your findings (results may be entered anytime prior to October 31 for inclusion in that year's annual World Water Monitoring Challenge Year in Review report), and protect our most precious resource!
In 2014, we are celebrating National Estuaries Week September 20-27! National Estuaries Week is a terrific opportunity to learn more about estuaries and the perfect excuse to spend time on your local bay. You can take advantage of volunteer opportunities and hands-on restoration in your nearby bay or estuary, participate in a guided walk or boat tour, or simply explore your estuary with family and friends. Every year, Restore America's Estuaries member organizations, NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System and EPA’s National Estuary Program, organize special events like beach cleanups, hikes, canoe and kayak trips, cruises, workshops, and more – all across the country!
This year, our events (check out Events map on main page) and communications will aim to increase national awareness of estuaries and how estuary conservation efforts support our quality of life and economic well being. A quarter century after the first National Estuaries Day in 1988, we understand that estuarine ecosystems serve as natural barriers to buffer against storms and floods, absorb and store carbon, and provide critical habitat for commercial and recreational fisheries. The need to protect and restore these critical places has never been more pressing.
In the spirit of the Smithsonian Museums, who offer free admission everyday, Museum Day Live! is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Ticket...for free! View the list of 2014 participating museums! Tickets are good for Saturday, September 27, 2014, and a ticket is good for the ticket holder and a guest.
National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands in the United States. In 2014, NPLD will be held on September 27 and will celebrate the theme "Helping Hands for America's Lands". During this yearly event, Americans work together to restore and connect with public lands through service projects and outdoor recreation. The efforts of hundreds of thousands of volunteers result in meaningful, positive impacts on communities around the nation. Register a site for NPLD or volunteer and make a difference!
NPLD educates Americans about critical environmental and natural resource issues including the need for shared stewardship of these valued, irreplaceable lands. As a supporter of the Let's Move Outside and America's Great Outdoors initiatives, NPLD is especially dedicated to engaging young people to be active and conserve America's treasured places.
NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names to be etched on a microchip that will be on a spacecraft headed to the asteroid Bennu in 2016.
The "Messages to Bennu!" microchip will travel to the asteroid aboard the agency's Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft. The robotic mission will spend more than two years at the 1,760-foot (500-meter)-wide asteroid. The spacecraft will collect a sample of Bennu's surface and return it to Earth in a sample return capsule.
"We're thrilled to be able to share the OSIRIS-REx adventure with people across the Earth, to Bennu and back," said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator of the OSIRIS-REx mission from the University of Arizona in Tucson. "It's a great opportunity for people to get engaged with the mission early and join us as we prepare for launch."
Those wishing to participate in "Messages to Bennu!" should submit their name online no later than Sept. 30 at: http://planetary.org/bennu
After a person submits their name, they will be able to download and print a certificate documenting their participation in the OSIRIS-REx mission. "You'll be part of humankind's exploration of the solar system - How cool is that?" said Bill Nye, chief executive officer of The Planetary Society, the organization collecting and processing the entries.
Project Learning Tree has GreenWorks! grants of up to $2,000 available to schools and youth organizations for environmental service-learning projects. The application form is now online and the deadline to apply is September 30, 2014.
PLT's GreenWorks! program is open to any PLT-trained educator in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The grants help students actively improve their local environments, which include both their schools and their communities. Possible project ideas might include implementing recycling programs, conserving water and energy, improving air quality, or establishing school gardens and outdoor classrooms, and integrating these projects into the curriculum. PLT also provides grants for youth to plant trees, conserve forests, restore habitats, improve streams, construct nature trails, and more.
PLT GreenWorks! projects combine academics with service projects using the service-learning model. In this way, students “learn by doing” through an action project they both design and implement. The projects encourage students to partner with school decision-makers, local businesses, and community organizations to provide opportunities for student leadership.
Teachers and students can visit www.greenworks.org to download an application and apply today.
The Green Education Foundation (GEF) and Gardener’s Supply Company have teamed up on a funding opportunity for established youth garden projects nationwide. The organizations are calling on schools and youth groups to submit chronicles of their garden projects in a race to win a $500 prize. The award is designed to support the continued sustainability of an exceptional youth garden program that has demonstrated success, and has impacted the lives of kids and their community.
Click here to learn more about the grant or application process. The deadline for applying is September 30th.
Toshiba America Foundation offers grants of up to $1,000 to support innovative projects designed by elementary (K-5) teachers to make their classrooms more exciting for students. Proposed projects must advance the teacher's science and math teaching units. The deadline for submission is October 1, 2014.
The theme of Earth Science Week 2014 (October 12-18) will be “Earth’s Connected Systems.” This year’s event will promote awareness of the dynamic interactions of the planet’s natural systems.
The National Park Service’s Junior Paleontologist program seeks to engage young people in activities that allow them to discover the significance of fossils and the science of paleontology, and introduces them to the national park system and to the mission of the National Park Service.
The Junior Paleontologist Program is a part of the National Park Service's Junior Ranger Program, which aims to connect young people to their national parks. Download the Junior Paleontologist Activity Booklet for children ages 5 to 12 here.
On Friday, October 17, 2014, you are invited to join in the celebration of the third annual Geologic Map Day! The final major event for the school week of Earth Science Week 2014 (October 12-18), Geologic Map Day will promote awareness of the study, uses, and importance of geologic mapping for education, science, business, and a variety of public policy concerns.
Go online today to view a new webcast detailing three new contests that are being conducted as part of Earth Science Week, the annual worldwide celebration of the geosciences! This free webcast provides an overview of guidelines for photography, visual arts, and essay contests. The tutorial includes online links, which viewers can click during the presentation to review detailed guidelines.
Each year, many science teachers encourage students to participate in the visual arts contest, open to students in grades K-5, or the essay contest, which is open to those in grades 6-9. The photography contest is open to all ages. The roughly four-minute tutorial includes information on prizes and recognition.
To view this webcast, please visit: Earth Science Week Webcasts.
The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Fellowship Year. Program applications are due November 20, 2014, and must be submitted through an online application system.
The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K-12 educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to serve in the national education arena. Fellows spend 11 months working in a Federal agency or U.S. Congressional office, bringing their extensive classroom knowledge and experience to STEM education program and/or education policy efforts.
The La Brea tar pits in downtown Los Angeles are a famous predator trap. For every herbivore, a dozen or more carnivores - saber-toothed cats and dire wolves chief among them - are pulled from the prolific Pleistocene fossil site. In fact, the remains of more than 4,000 dire wolves have been excavated, along with more than 2,000 saber-toothed cats. The sheer number of fossils allows researchers to ask population-level questions about the climate and environment as well as how these animals evolved.
The rapid proliferation of 3-D printing technology in the early 2000's sent ripples of excitement through the tech world and beyond, but the high price of printers put them out of reach for most academic researchers and hobbyists. Now, more affordable printers have broken this barrier, and geoscientists have started testing the waters.
AGI, the American Geosciences Institute, recently released its latest “Status of the Geoscience Workforce Report,” showing that jobs requiring training in the geosciences continue to be lucrative and in-demand. Despite increased enrollment and graduation from geoscience programs, data project a shortage of around 135,000 geoscientists by the end of the decade.
Join the conversation(s)! EPA's blogs are organized under the "Greenversations" group to make it easier to find topics you're interested in. Here's a sneak peek:
Conversando Acerca de Nuestro Medio Ambiente: http://blog.epa.gov/espanol
Environmental Justice in Action: http://blog.epa.gov/ej
EPA Connect (Leadership Blog): http://blog.epa.gov/epaconnect/
It All Starts With Science: http://blog.epa.gov/science
It's Our Environment: http://blog.epa.gov/blog/
Geology.com provides a variety of geoscience materials including Earth science news, maps, an online dictionary of Earth science terms, and information on geoscience careers.
SEED (Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development) is a volunteer-based, nonprofit education program that empowers Schlumberger employee volunteers and educators to share their passion for learning and science with students aged 10 to 18. The SEED “learning while doing” methodology draws on the technology and science expertise of volunteers to engage students in global issues such as water, energy, and climate change.
Need a little inspiration for the upcoming school year? Look no further! IDVSolution's Photostream on flickr has remarkable images that will get you (and your students) inspired! Use them as visual teaching aids, for classroom discussion or have your students examine them in small groups. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words! Here are some stunning examples:
Tornado Travel - Historic tornado travel direction in the U.S.
Hurricanes Since 1851 - An updated version of the historical hurricanes swirl map.
Global Bathymetry - A desktop image.
Earth Gauge provides a series of free, online courses and training materials that address the connections between weather and environment. Appropriate for adult learners, the courses cover topics including Climate Change, Weather and Health, Weather and the Built Environment, and Watersheds.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, have developed Science Behind the News, a fast-paced video series exploring the STEM content of current events. Each video runs between 4 and 10 minutes and features at least one interview with an NSF-funded scientist or researcher. Science titles include Quantum Computing, Drug-Resistant Bacteria, Extrasolar Planets, Predictive Policing, and Crowdsourcing.
NBC Learn also has other free educational resources available through their portal including Sustainability: Water, Changing Planet, and many more that students, teachers, and parents will find useful and interesting.
The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has a free GeoWord of the Day service. GeoWord of the Day is a fun and convenient way to learn a new geoscience term every day. Each morning (US ET), the service will highlight a new word or term featured in the Glossary of Geology, ensuring daily authoritative terms and definitions for years to come. Users may choose to receive the GeoWord of Day directly through email by subscribing online.
Table of Contents
SITE AND NEWS
W2U Web Seminars
NOAA Climate Webinar
Cit Sci ES Wk Site
The Guide Film
DEW & Picture Post
World Water Chall
Estuaries Week 2014
Free Museum Day
Public Lands Day
Green Thumb Chall
K-5 Math/Sci Grants
ES Week 2014 Connect
Natl Fossil Day
Geologic Map Day
ES Wk Contests
La Brea Adapt
Earth Gauge Courses
Science Behind News
GeoWord of the Day
Information about Opportunities with Stipends, Honorariums, or Awards for Teachers/students
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.