Professional Development Web Seminar: Meteorology–How Clouds Form

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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 free 90-minute Web seminar on March 14, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Learn about the relationships between air pressure, temperature, volume and cloud formation. Get an overview of the necessary conditions for cloud formation and then see how to make a cloud in a bottle. Information will be provided about an extension activity, the S’COOL Project, which involves student participation in authentic science.

This is the last time this 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: Algebraic Equations — Calculator Controlled Robots

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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 on March 13, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Discover a unique way of integrating robotic technology into your algebra classes. Robotic missions engage students and provide a unique way of bringing to life the concepts you are teaching. Learn to use programmable Texas Instruments, or TI, calculators and Norland Research Robots to solve problems requiring substituting values for variables in formulas.

This seminar provides an overview of using robotics in algebra so you can make an informed decision about purchasing the robots and other equipment. You do not need to have a Norland Research Robot or programmable TI calculator to participate in this seminar, or know how to program the calculator.

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

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

Video Chat: Solar Max Storm Warning!

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Join us on March 14 from 1 – 2 p.m. EDT when Lou Mayo, a Planetary Scientist, will field student questions about the importance of tracking and understanding the impacts of solar activity on Earth and the increase in solar activity during the upcoming solar maximum period. You do not want your students to miss this solar storm warning and an opportunity to ask May about how Earth will be affected.

15 minutes prior to the start of the video chat, go to the event page and log into the chat window. Questions can be submitted by typing them in the chat window, or through Twitter by tagging the tweet with #NESChat, or by emailing them to NASA-Explorer-Schools@mail.nasa.gov. Include the grade and school name. Questions will be answered as time allows.

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools home page.

Professional Development Web Seminar: Chemistry of Water — Is There Water on Mars?

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Professional Development Web Seminar

The NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute Web seminar on March 12, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. EDT. “Chemistry of Water: Mars Exploration — Is There Water on Mars?” is an inquiry-based lesson on how atmospheric pressure and vapor pressure affect the boiling point of water. See why the boiling point of water is pressure-dependent, rather than temperature-dependent. Then, by extension, you will deduce if there could be liquid water on Mars.

This is the last 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: Inspiration and Education — Building a Career at NASA

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NASA NowBe sure not to miss the March 6, 2013 episode of NASA Now, introduced by NES educator Erin Warrilow from Dresden Middle School, when three experts who work in very different fields at NASA discuss their jobs, responsibilities and what they enjoy most about their work. They also talk about what inspired them to pursue their careers and offer career advice to students.

Here’s a preview of the program.

NASA Now Minute

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools home page.

NASA'S Orion Lands Safely on Two of Three Parachutes in Test

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NASA engineers have demonstrated the agency’s Orion spacecraft can land safely if one of its three main parachutes fails to inflate during deployment.

The test was conducted Feb. 12 in Yuma, Ariz., when the test capsule was dropped from an airplane 7.62 kilometers, or 25,000 feet, above the Arizona desert. Engineers rigged the parachutes so only two would inflate, leaving the third to flag behind.

For more information about the parachute test, visit https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/mpcv/chutetest_041812.html


As NASA prepares Orion to take astronauts farther into space, take a look back at the recently ended shuttle program, and have your students track the linear regression of a space shuttle launch! Check out the launch video of shuttle mission STS-121, and then have them create a scatter plot from real launch data. “Linear Regression: Exploring Space Through Math — Space Shuttle Ascent” is a featured lesson on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus.

Curiosity Observes Unusual Rock on Mars

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On Mars, as on Earth, sometimes things take on an unusual appearance. One example is a shiny-looking rock seen in a recent image from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover.

Some casual observers might see a resemblance to a car door handle, hood ornament or some other metallic object. To Ronald Sletten of the University of Washington, Seattle, a collaborator on Curiosity’s science team, the object is an interesting study in how wind and the natural elements cause erosion and other effects on various types of rocks.

To see an image of this rock, visit https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20130211.html.

Find out what likely caused the shiny appearance of the Martian rock, and see some examples of similar phenomena found on Earth. A PDF of the images and explanatory text are available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/msl/20130211/ventifacts.pdf.

This story marks yet another discovery by Curiosity. To learn more about the challenges the Mars Science Laboratory team faced during Curiosity’s landing, also known as the “seven minutes of terror,” check out NASA Now: Forces and Motion: Curiosity — Entry, Descent and Landing. You can access the video on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus.

Professional Development Web Seminar for Teachers: Pythagorean Theorem: Exploring Space Through Math–Lunar Rover

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Professional Development Web Seminar

NASA Explorer Schools and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute live professional development Web seminar for educators on Feb. 27, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. EST. Learn to use the distance formula and the Pythagorean theorem to determine the minimal path and minimal time for a lunar rover to perform tasks on the surface of the moon. Participants should have a basic knowledge of scale factor and application of the Pythagorean theorem. Having access to a calculator is helpful but not necessary for session.

Seminar participants will be given an overview of the lesson and a look at where it fits in the mathematics curriculum, including an alignment to the Common Core Standards for mathematics.

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

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

Historical photos show change

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There’s nothing quite like historical photos of glaciers to show what a dynamic planet we live on. Alaska’s Muir Glacier, like many Alaskan glaciers, has retreated and thinned dramatically since the 19th century.

This particular pair of images shows the glacier’s continued retreat and thinning in the second half of the 20th century. From 1941 to 2004, the front of the glacier moved back about seven miles while its thickness decreased by more than 2,625 feet, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.


side-by-side comparison of Muir Glacier in 1941, on left, and in 2004, on right.

Photo credits: Photographed by William O. Field on Aug. 13, 1941 (left) and by Bruce F. Molnia on

Aug. 31, 2004 (right). From the Glacier Photograph Collection. Boulder, Colorado USA: National
Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology.
Use the study, at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2012-036, when teaching the NES lessons, Earth Climate Course or Satellite Meteorology, both found on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus.

For more historical images of glaciers, visit http://nsidc.org/data/glacier_photo/ or http://climate.nasa.gov/interactives/global_ice_viewer.


Professional Development Web Seminar: High Power Microscopes — The Virtual Lab

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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 Feb. 26, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. EST. Learn to use a computer program simulating three high-power virtual microscopes: an atomic force microscope, a scanning electron microscope and a fluorescence light microscope. Viewing specimens include one-celled organisms, human tissue, computer chips, insects and fungi. You will get an overview of the software, watch videos of students exploring specimens and learn to use the Virtual Lab website and software.

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

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

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