March 2006

March is MILAGRO Month at Windows to the Universe! The Megacity Initiative: Local and Global Research Observations (MILAGRO) research campaign, is taking place in Mexico City and surrounding communities during the month of March, 2006. Scientists from around the world are joining forces with Mexican colleagues to study pollution originating in Mexico City, and following it downwind in order to understand how megacities affect the regional and global atmosphere. The MILAGRO research campaign is funded jointly by the Mexican government, the US National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and NASA. Our education portal for the campaign, available in English and Spanish, includes information on what's happening in the campaign through "Postcards" from campaign participants, as well as the science, instruments, and people involved in the research. The majority of the information below highlights new resources available in the portal. We hope you enjoy sharing this real-time science information with your students!

Roberta's Corner

Once again, Windows to the Universe will be at the upcoming NSTA meeting in Anaheim, California April 6 - 8, 2006. Events include:

April 6
"Bring Writing and Reading into Your Earth Science Classroom: Innovative Assessment Ideas" 8 - 9 am, Hilton Anaheim, California C;
"Something in the Air! Exploring the Science of Weather and Climate with NCAR" 9:30 - 10:30 am, Hilton Anaheim, Carmel;
"Classroom Tools to Explore the Past, Present, and Future of Climate Change" 2:00 - 3:00 pm, Hilton Anaheim, Laguna.

April 7
"WALLS (Water, Air, Land, Life, and Space) Workshop" 9:30 - 10:30 am, Anaheim Convention Center, Room 304C;
"NESTA Share-a-Thon I" 9:30 - 10:30 am, Hilton Anaheim, Pacific C;
"NESTA Share-a-Thon II" 11:00 am - 12:00 pm, Hilton Anaheim, Pacific C.

April 8
"NESTA/NAGT Joint Share-a-Thon" 9:30 - 10:30 am, Hilton Anaheim, Pacific C.

More detail about our events at NSTA is available on our schedule. Please drop by and visit us at one of our events!

Randy's Corner

We've added lots of new information about atmospheric chemistry to the web site while preparing for the MILAGRO campaign. Did you know that nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (20%) are the two main constituents of our planet's atmosphere? We've also created new pages about many other important atmospheric gases. These include:

These pages touch upon topics related to Earth's atmosphere in "Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science" (grades K-4; grades 5-8; grades 9-12) in the National Science Education Standards. Several of them, especially the pages about air pollutants, are also relevant to "Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives" ( grades K-4; grades 5-8; grades 9-12).

Jennifer's Corner

We have collected a number of educational activities that deal with air pollution, smog, ozone and studying the atmosphere.

We also have a collection of interesting activities for Kids. Have your students take a look!

Remember each of these pages has 3 levels - use the button bar at the top to change levels!

Marina's Corner

What are Megacities? How do the impact our global environment? How do they impact our health? Windows to the Universe team is very excited in being part of the upcoming project MILAGRO! This is a great opportunity to study communities development and how their quality of air impacts everything, including buildings! Let's learn more about this "invisible" threat. Let's learn more about Megacities.

Julia's Corner

During MILAGRO campaign, several scientists, teachers and graduate students will be sending us "Postcards from the Field". The postcards will describe scientists' daily research work. Check back often to follow the campaign as it goes on!

Dennis's Corner

Did you know that in addition to being ugly, air pollution can cause illnesses, damage crops, and even dissolve buildings? As part of the MILAGRO campaign, we have posted a series of pages that introduces students to air pollution.

In addition to an overview, there are pages describing different types of pollutants, such as particulate matter, tropospheric ozone, and volatile organic compounds. Since one of the primary objectives of the campaign is to study how air pollution travels through the atmosphere, we have also included a page on transport mechanisms.

(Dennis Ward is the educational technologist for UCARís Office of Education and Outreach and an astronomer. He also teaches geographic information science at the University of Denver.)

Solar Eclipse Webcast

On March 29th a total solar eclipse will be visible from parts of Africa. Scientists from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana will be webcasting live video coverage of this event. Windows to the Universe will be a mirror site for the webcast. Check this page in late March for information about the eclipse webcast. The video will also highlight science being done at various locations throughout Africa.

GLOBE at Night, March 22-29

GLOBE at Night is the first international event of its kind designed to observe and record the visible stars as a means of measuring light pollution in a given location. Participation is open to anyone - anywhere in the world - who can get outside and look skyward during the week of March 22-29, 2006.

This is an excellent activity for families and student groups, and requires no special training or instruction. Participation is free. The GLOBE at Night web site provides all the information needed to participate, including guides for teachers, students, and parents. Spread the word and help us reach our goal of 5,000 observations from around the world!

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