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Greetings to the more than 12,000 of you from around the globe who subscribe to the Windows to the Universe Earth and Space Science Education Newsletter! Our big news for the month is that the American Geophysical Union, the world's largest professional society for geoscientists, has become a Founding Partner for the Windows to the Universe project! Through this partnership, we are looking forward to bringing you information about research discoveries by AGU member scientists, as well as scientist profiles and highlights of AGU resources and events. We believe these activities will be a valuable service to learners and educators using Windows to the Universe, as well as a service to AGU scientists, who are eager to get the word out about their research.
We also have big news from our first Founding Partner, the American Geological Institute. AGI hosts Earth Science Week, which is coming up very soon (October 10 - 16, 2010). This year's Earth Science Week focuses on Exploring Energy. Check out AGI's website for details on Earth Science Week, including resources and activities near you. You can purchase a copy of their Earth Science Week kit, filled with wonderful resources for you and your students. AGI is also offering downloadable versions of its monthly Earth magazine for purchase individually, in addition to its regular print subscriptions. You can also access Earth content online at http://www.earthmagazine.org/.
We're ramping up for a very busy season of professional development this fall. Please be sure to check out our list of NSTA workshops below, which will be held in Kansas City, Baltimore, and Nashville over the coming months. In addition to these workshops, Windows to the Universe will be joining the National Earth Science Teachers Association on October 23 and 24 for the USA Science and Engineering Festival! We will have a booth in the Mellon Auditorium (which is right by the Federal Triangle Metro station), a block or so off the Mall near the Natural History Museum. Check out the festival map for more info. Come by and say hi!
We've added seven videos about climate change topics to the site. These short videos (most are about 1-2 minutes long) from the NSF cover aspects of paleoclimatology (studying past climates) and how studying the past can help us anticipate future climate variations. Topics include:
Please note that some video segments are repeated in more than one movie. For example, each of the three movies on proxy records (ice cores, coral, and lake-bottom sediments) starts with a 25 second segment introducing proxies before delving into the specific proxy that movie showcases.
With support from NASA, and in collaboration with NSTA, Windows to the Universe and the UCAR Office of Education and Outreach are offering a series of free web seminars on teaching global climate change. Building on our existing Climate Discovery online courses, these short web seminars showcase special topics such as how scientists study ancient climates and the effects of climate change on living things. Each web seminar combines science content with classroom activities that your students will love. Online networking after each web seminar will allow you to continue the conversation about teaching climate change with teacher participants and our professional development staff.
The series of six free web seminars started in late September, but it's not too late to participate. You still have time to register for the final four seminars taking place weekly through the end of October. We hope you can join in and participate in one or more of the topics. If you missed the September seminars, don't worry--you can view the archived versions!
For more information, please visit the Global Climate Change Educator Professional Development Network. For registration information, please visit NSTA Web Seminars.
El Niño conditions ended early this summer, and it appears that we now have a La Niña developing in the Pacific. The sea surface temperatures are now cooler than normal in the equatorial Pacific, and La Niña is defined as cooler than normal sea-surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific ocean. This change in temperature can impact global weather patterns as it changes the energy budget in the tropical atmosphere. La Niña conditions recur every few years and can persist for as long as two years.
Both El Niño and La Niña events can have far-reaching effects. Intense rainstorms and flooding, extreme droughts, the strength of the Atlantic hurricane season, and the number of winter storms in many areas of the world are affected by these events. Stay tuned to see what happens!
We're approaching the end of a fairly active hurricane season in the Atlantic. 2010 also marks the anniversaries of two of the deadliest hurricanes (also called tropical cyclones) in history.
The Bhola cyclone was a devastating tropical cyclone that struck East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and India's West Bengal 40 years ago, on November 12, 1970. It was the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded, and one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern times. Up to 500,000 people lost their lives in the storm, primarily as a result of the storm surge that flooded much of the low-lying islands of the Ganges Delta.
Between October 10 and October 16, 1780, the deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record hit the Caribbean. The Great Hurricane of 1780 passed through the Lesser Antilles, killing over 27,500 people. The hurricane hit Barbados with winds over 200 mph, and continued past Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Eustatius, Puerto Rico, and Santo Domingo, finally turning northeastward and disappearing off of Cape Race, Newfoundland. The storm caused heavy losses to British and French fleets, which were in the area because of the American Revolution.
Our new Earth and Space Science Calendar includes information about natural disasters, great scientists, space missions and other notable science history dates. This calendar along with the Educators' Calendar are available with a paid Windows to the Universe membership. If you're not a member yet, sign up now!
The Great World Wide Star Count encourages everyone to go outside, look skyward after dark, note the stars in certain constellations, and report what they could see online. Star Count is designed to raise awareness about the night sky and encourage learning in astronomy. All the information needed to participate is available on the Star Count Web site. Be sure to download the 2010 Activity Guide (available in 8 languages) to prepare your class for this project.
Participation involves use of a simple protocol and an easy data entry form. During the first three years, over 31,000 individuals from 64 countries and all 7 continents participated in this campaign to measure light pollution globally.
At the conclusion of the event, maps and datasets will be generated highlighting the results of this exciting citizen science campaign. Mark your calendars and plan on joining thousands of other students, families, and citizen scientists counting stars this fall.
The Great World Wide Star Count will be held from October 29 - November 12, 2010. For more information visit http://windows2universe.org/citizen_science/starcount/index.html or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although the U.S. government and British Petroleum have officially declared the Deepwater Horizon leak 'dead' and the spill of oil into the Gulf of Mexico seems to have ended, many of its effects are only just starting to be felt.
One example of this is the way the Gulf oil spill will affect the shorebirds and waterfowl who normally migrate and spend autumn and winter in the Gulf coast. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) estimates that millions of birds will be flying into the Gulf region over the next few months; some of these birds just make short stops as they fly to Central and South America, but many of them normally spend the entire winter along the coast. The FWS is particularly concerned about the birds that spend their autumn and winter in the wetland habitats that have been hit so hard by the oil spill and may not be able to support the migratory birds.
To try and minimize the harm the oil spill has on overwintering birds in the Gulf, the U.S. government is teaming up with conservation groups and local residents to try to restore affected wetland environments and move birds to cleaner alternative habitats. They are sponsoring large clean up efforts and also working with farmers to flood lands that can be used as temporary wetland habitats away from the oil spill.
To read more about the problems birds face in the Gulf, and how the U.S. government and other groups are working to help them, see this article from the National Wildlife Federation.
Have you had a chance to visit our Teacher Resources Section? It's loaded with helpful materials. First, 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!
We also share the Literacy Frameworks for Earth System Science Education and our E-newsletter summary page.
The highlight of our Teacher Resources section is definitely our Activities Page. Here 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 Combining Clouds and Art in the Classroom as an example. We hope our activities will be a refreshing addition to your classroom.
Educational games can be a great way to introduce a new topic or to reinforce material already covered. We have many educational games - some that can be played on-line and some for use off-line. Here are some highlights:
There are several games that explore the atmosphere and climate like the Climate Crossword and Weather Crossword puzzles, and the Atmosphere and Clouds Word Search. The Carbon Cycle Game allows students to travel all around the carbon cycle and answer quiz questions on their way. We also have a classroom activity based on this game.
We have some games that focus on the poles of the Earth like Polar Word Search and Polar Jigsaw Puzzles. Space-themed games include the ever-popular Space Sense, Junk in Space, the more challenging Order It Up and, of course, Planets Sudoku. It was called "Nine Planets Sudoku" before Pluto was demoted, but you cannot have Sudoku with eight planets, so we renamed it "Eight Planets and a Dwarf" Sudoku!
Do you have a great idea for a new educational game? Let us know!
Will you be at the NSTA Regional Conferences in Kansas City, MO (October 28-30, 2010), 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.
Kansas City NSTA Regional Conference
Nashville NSTA Regional Conference
Table of Contents
Climate Change Video
El Niño and La Niña
Earth Sci Week
Free Fossil Day CD
4-H Natl Sci Day
World Space Week
Solar Week 2010
Elem Art Contest
Walk to School!
Teacher SubmissionsClick here to submit your ideas to the newsletter
Announcements from PartnersClick here to submit information about your program to the newsletter
The American Geological Institute invites you to take part in Earth Science Week 2010! Being held October 10-16, Earth Science Week 2010 will encourage people everywhere to explore the natural world and learn about the geosciences.
The theme of Earth Science Week 2010 is "Exploring Energy," and it is aimed at engaging young people and the public in learning about Earth's energy resources.
Learn more at the Earth Science Week website.
Windows to the Universe Educator Members - Login and order a copy!
Get a copy of a great teacher resource CD - Explore Fossils - in honor of National Fossil Day (October 13). Build on your students' fascination with fossils by using these specially designed resources. Full teacher notes, easily reproducible activities and 3-D models will make budding paleontologists of all your students in no time! Pay just US$4.00 (US$5 for Canada) to cover shipping and handling (while stocks last). Members should login and order a copy. Not a member yet? Join today!
On October 6, 2010, millions of young people across the nation will become scientists during the third annual 4-H National Youth Science Day. In this year's experiment, 4-H2O, youth will learn about carbon dioxide and discover how we as a nation can reduce our environmental impact.
You and your class can join in an experiment that will be done across the nation by millions of students. There are even experiment kits you can order to make things easier.
There are also Science Day events happening around the nation during this timeframe. To find an event near you, visit the 4-H Map page.
Join in the largest public space event on Earth! World Space Week is a UN-declared week set aside for celebrating at an international level the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition. Over 55 nations will participate from October 4-10.
Every fall and spring since 2000, Solar Week has provided a weeklong series of Web-based classroom activities and games geared for upper elementary, middle and high school students with a focus on our dynamic Sun and its effects on Earth. Students learn about solar eclipses, sunspots, solar flares and solar storms through a series of activities, games, and lessons.
This year is no different! Solar Week 2010 is being held October 18-22. Each day that week will have a different focus. Daily themes include the Sun as a Star, Solar Close-Ups, The Active Sun, Let's Observe and Solar Careers. In addition, there’s a message board where your classroom can submit a question to leading solar scientists.
Solar Week is ideal for students studying the solar system, the stars, or astronomy in general. It's also for kids wondering what a career as a scientist is like. Participation makes for a fun computer lab activity. After doing the activities, students can interact on the bulletin board with leading scientists at the forefront of Sun-Earth research. It’s a great place for any student interested in our nearest star, the Sun!
It's a perfect time to join the National Earth Science Teachers Association! Membership benefits are many and 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. There are also many special NESTA events at professional meetings. Plug into this supportive network. Cost is low - only $10 for an annual membership! Join today!
Are you planning on attending one of the NSTA regional conventions this fall? If so, 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.
What does being presenter at a NESTA Share-a-Thon entail? (1) Contact NESTA's Share-a-Thon coordinator, Michelle Harris, and let her know that you'd like to present (at email@example.com). (2) Select your favorite activity, make about 100 copies to distribute to your colleagues. (3) If appropriate - bring along a demo or samples to illustrate the activity. (4) Appear 30 min before the Share-a-Thon is scheduled to start and select a table to sit at. Set out your materials and then get ready! The fun is about to start! (5) When the Share-a-Thon starts, teachers stream in and browse for resources they think might be useful to them. This is your chance to share and also meet new colleagues as well as old friends! (6) When the Share-a-Thon is over, pack up your materials and you're all done!
Be sure to take along the set of copies that NESTA provides to presenters of all the other activities that have been shared at the Share-a-Thon (it will be delivered to you during the session). NESTA is happy to provide letters of recognition to presenters, which you can use toward your professional advancement.
IGES (Institute for Global Environmental Strategies) has announced an art contest for grades 2-4 where young scientists and artists are invited to explore the solar system and beyond, and then draw a picture showing what they learned.
"My Place in Space!" is the 15th annual art contest held by IGES in Arlington, VA. The contest supports National Education Standards for grades K-4.
The first-, second- and third-place artists will receive Visa gift cards, framed color certificates, and their artwork will be showcased on IGES's site. For all entrants, certificates of participation will be available online as PDF files for teachers and parents to download and print.
Entries are due November 1, 2010. For more information, including detailed contest instructions, information for teachers and parents, a list of educational resources, and to view artwork of past winners, please visit: www.strategies.org/artcontest
NASA is hosting two national science competitions that challenge student teams to develop and prepare a microgravity experiment. Proposals are due November 1.
"Dropping In a Microgravity Environment," or DIME, is the competition for high school student teams. "What If No Gravity?" or WING, is the competition for student teams in sixth through ninth grades.
A panel of NASA scientists and engineers will evaluate and select the top-ranked proposals by December 1. The winning teams will then design and build the experiments that will be conducted in the 2.2 Second Drop Tower at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. When an experiment is "dropped" into the 79-foot tower, it experiences weightlessness, or microgravity, for 2.2 seconds. Researchers from around the world use this tower to study the effects of microgravity on physical phenomena such as combustion and fluid dynamics, and to develop new technology for future space missions.
The top four DIME teams will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Cleveland in March to conduct their experiments, review the results with NASA personnel and tour Glenn's facilities. Four additional DIME teams and up to 30 WING teams will be selected to build their experiments and ship them to Glenn to be drop-tested by NASA. These experiments and the resulting data will be returned to the teams so they can prepare reports about their findings.
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!
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.
NASA has selected the winner of the national Balloonsat High Altitude Flight Competition, a contest that introduces high school students to engineering principles and encourages engineering practices.
The high school team from North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, NC, took home the top prize. Congratulations!
The winning team's experiment, "Variations in Polyvinyl Alcohol Radiation Shields," was one of four student team experiments launched May 26 on a NASA weather balloon to the near-space environment of the stratosphere, an altitude of about 100,000 feet. The experiment demonstrated radiation shielding with homegrown polyvinyl alcohol films through a combination of ground tests and a flight experiment.
NASA will present a medallion to members of the winning team, and the high school will receive a plaque this fall. The student teams were judged on teamwork, presentations at Glenn's May 27 Balloonsat Symposium, and a final report submitted after the experiments were launched on the weather balloon.
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!
NASA has awarded grants to nine academic institutions and their partners that serve large numbers of minority and underrepresented students to strengthen offerings in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM. The grants total approximately $1.15 million through the agency's Curriculum Improvement Partnership Award for the Integration of Research (CIPAIR) project.
These awards provide funding that continues NASA's commitment to achieving a broad-based, competitive aerospace research and technology development capability among the nation's minority-serving institutions. NASA continues to invest in projects that will build, sustain and provide a skilled, knowledgeable and diverse workforce to meet the emerging needs of the agency and the nation.
NASA has selected 1,895 high school students to participate in the agency's Interdisciplinary National Science Project Incorporating Research and Education Experience, or INSPIRE. The INSPIRE project is designed to encourage students in grades nine through 12 to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The youth are from 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They were chosen based on their academic achievement and demonstrated interest in pursuing a STEM education.
The students will have access to an online learning community that allows them to interact with their peers, NASA engineers and scientists. The community also provides appropriate grade-level educational activities, discussion boards and chat rooms to learn about NASA career opportunities. The students may also be selected to participate in 2011 summer workshops or internships at NASA facilities and participating universities. Congratulations INSPIRE students!
The PEYA program promotes
awareness of our nation's natural resources and encourages positive
community involvement. Since 1971, the President of the United States
has joined with the EPA to recognize young people across the U.S. who are
protecting our nation's air, water, land, and ecology. 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 the EPA for
consideration. Winning projects in the past have covered a wide range of
subject areas, including:
Evaluation results consistently demonstrate that the experience is a life-changing event for many of the young people and sponsors who participate.
If you like music, the space program, and are a little nostalgic, NASA has the perfect opportunity for you.
Traditionally, the songs played to wake up the astronauts are selected by friends and family of the crews. For the last two scheduled missions, NASA is inviting the public to visit the "Wakeup Song Contest" website to select songs from a list of the top 40 previous wakeup calls or to submit original tunes for consideration.
The two songs with the most votes from the list of top 40 previous wakeup calls will be played as crew wakeup calls on the final scheduled flight of space shuttle Discovery. Discovery's STS-133 mission is targeted to launch on November 1, 2010.
In a separate contest, the top two original songs submitted by the public will be used to wake space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 crew. Original songs must have a space theme and be submitted to NASA by 4 p.m. CST on Jan. 10, 2011. The songs will be reviewed by agency officials and the top finalists will be put to a public vote. Endeavor's STS-134 mission is scheduled to launch February 26, 2011.
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.