Monthly Archives: April 2013

NASA Now: Space Science: Voyager's Grand Tour of the Solar System

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NASA NowRebecca Wood from Lebanon Middle School in Lebanon, Kentucky introduces this NASA Now program.

Planetary scientist Lou Mayo discusses what we’re learning from the Voyager missions, where the two spacecraft are currently located and some of the incredible discoveries made on the long journey to the edge of our solar system.

This NASA Now classroom video is available on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus beginning May 1, 2013.


NASA Now Minute

Gravity-Bending Find Leads to Kepler Meeting Einstein

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NASA’s Kepler space telescope has witnessed the effects of a dead star bending the light of its companion star. The findings are among the first detections of this phenomenon — a result of Einstein’s theory of general relativity — in binary star systems.

The dead star, called a white dwarf, is the burnt-out core of what used to be a star like our sun. It is locked in an orbiting dance with its partner, a small “red dwarf” star. While the tiny white dwarf is physically smaller than the red dwarf, it is more massive.

To read more about this discovery and see an animation of the phenomenon, visit https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/news/kepler20130404.html.

This animation is an excellent extension to the NASA Explorer Schools featured lesson, Algebraic Equations: Transit Tracks—Finding Habitable Planets. To access this lesson, visit the NES Virtual Campus.

NES Professional Development Web Seminars This Week

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Professional Development Web Seminar

As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences for educators, the NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting two 90-minute live professional development Web seminars for educators this week.

Chemical Elements: Genesis — What Are We Made Of?

On May 1, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. EDT, learn how to use the “What Are We Made Of?” hands-on activity to integrate mathematics and physical science in your classroom. Discover how students can use statistical sampling to estimate the chemical composition of the sun by analyzing data in a way similar to the one used by scientists who analyzed solar particles collected by the Genesis spacecraft. For more information and to register online, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

Temperature and Earth Climate: Modeling Hot and Cold Planets

On May 2, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. EDT learn how to use NASA mission data collected from NASA satellites to see how a planet’s climate is determined. Attend this session and discover how you can incorporate authentic NASA data into your classroom to provide a real-world connection for your students. For more information and to register online, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

This is the last time these seminars will be offered during the current school year.

Professional Development Web Seminar: Properties of Living Things–Searching for Fingerprints of Life on Mars

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Professional Development Web Seminar

As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences, the NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute Web seminar for educators on April 18, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. EDT. This web seminar features two lessons: one on extremophiles and the other on searching for life. Review criteria for determining if something is alive and learn how students apply the criteria in a hands-on activity. A video will be shown that connects the activity to a NASA mission. Collaborate with other participants about ways of using and adapting the activity. Extension activities for students interested in the topic will be provided.

This is the final time this seminar will be offered during the current school year.

For more information and to register online, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

NASA Now: Engineering Design–Tiltrotors, Aircraft of the Future

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NASA Now

Amanda Blough, a NASA Explorer Schools educator from Chambersburg, Penn., introduces NASA Now: Engineering Design: Tilt Rotors, Aircraft of the Future.


Meet Carl Russell, a research aerospace engineer at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California. His team is working on developing aircraft that use tilt rotors as opposed to traditional wings. He discusses how tilt rotors work, including how they demonstrate Bernoulli’s Principle to generate lift. He also shows how this technology could cut down on the time needed for takeoff and landing at the airport.


This NASA Now program is available on the NES Virtual Campus beginning April 17.


NASA Now Minute


Professional Development Web Seminar: Forces and Motion — Balloon Aerodynamics Challenge

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Professional Development Web Seminar

As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences for educators, the NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute live professional development Web seminar for educators on April 17, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. EDT. This Web seminar will introduce the Forces and Motion: Balloon Aerodynamics Challenge for students. This activity provides firsthand information about density, neutral buoyancy and drag, which is then used to solve a problem. The activity provides many opportunities for incorporating national mathematics, science and technology learning standards into your curriculum.

This will be the final time this seminar is offered during the current school year.

For more information and to register online, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

Kepler Supernova Remnant Observed By NASA

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A remnant of Kepler’s supernova was recently observed with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The supernova is the famous explosion that was discovered by Johannes Kepler in 1604. The red, green and blue colors in the image show low, intermediate and high energy X-rays observed with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

As reported in a NASA press release, a new study has used Chandra to identify what triggered the explosion. It had already been shown that the type of explosion was a so-called Type Ia supernova, the thermonuclear explosion of a white dwarf star. These supernovas are important cosmic distance markers for tracking the accelerated expansion of the Universe.

This study is an excellent extension to the NASA Explorer Schools featured lesson, Algebraic Equations: Transit Tracks—Finding Habitable Planets. To access this lesson, visit the NES Virtual Campus.

To see the spectacular image of the Kepler supernova remnant and read more about this discovery, visit Chandra’s Exploring the Invisible Universe website.

Professional Development Web Seminar: Weather and Climate — Satellite Meteorology

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Professional Development Web Seminar

As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences, the NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute professional development Web seminar for educators on April 4, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

Participants will learn to use the data from NASA’s research satellite program in their meteorology lessons. This Web seminar features “Monitoring the Global Environment,” one of eight modules within the satellite meteorology course. The activities within this module incorporate the use of authentic data acquired by NASA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites and Polar Operational Environmental Satellites. Attendees will learn how to locate and download satellite data then use the data to create graphs.

This is the final time this Web seminar will be offered during the current school year.

For more information and to register online, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

Professional Development Web Seminar: Distance-Rate-Time Problems: Smart Skies

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Professional Development Web Seminar

As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences, the NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute professional development Web seminar for educators on April 3, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. EDT. Learn how to use an innovative air traffic control simulator to engage your students as they explore the mathematics involved in the role of an air traffic controller. In the three-plane problem featured in this lesson, the challenge is to change routes and speeds to line up the planes safely, with proper spacing, at a given route intersection.

This is the final time this Web seminar will be offered during the current school year.

For more information and to register online, visit the NSTA Learning Center.