Expedition 31 and 32 In-flight Education Downlink Opportunity

NASA is seeking formal and informal educational organizations, individually or working together, to host a live, in-flight education downlink during Expeditions 31 and 32 (approximately from March 2012 to September 2012). To maximize these downlink opportunities, NASA is looking for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the downlink into a well-developed education plan. 

The deadline to submit a proposal is Dec. 21, 2011.

A high school student interviews crew members on the International Space StationDuring Expeditions 31 and 32, crew members aboard the International Space Station will participate in downlinks. Downlinks are approximately 20 minutes in length and allow students and educators to interact with astronauts through a question and answer session. Downlinks afford education audiences the opportunity to learn firsthand from astronauts what it is like to live and work in space. Downlinks are broadcast live on NASA TV and are streamed on the NASA website. Because of the nature of human spaceflight, organizations must demonstrate the flexibility to accommodate changes in downlink dates and times.

Interested organizations should contact Teaching From Space, a NASA Education office, to obtain information related to expectations, format, audience, guidelines and forms by sending an email to JSC-Teaching-From-Space@mail.nasa.gov or calling 281-244-7608.

Giant-sized Webb Space Telescope Model to 'Land' in Baltimore

James Webb Space Telescope in GermanyBaltimore’s Maryland Science Center is going to be the “landing site” for the full-scale model of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, and it’s free for all to see. 

The life-sized model of the Webb telescope is as big as a tennis court, and it’s coming to the Maryland Science Center at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor from Oct. 14-26, 2011. It’s a chance for young and old to get a close-up look at the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope in the same size it will be launched into space.

On May 17, NASA Explorer Schools hosted a live interactive video webchat with Nobel Laureate Dr. John Mather. Mather, Senior Project Scientist for James Webb Space Telescope, answered questions from students across the country. To watch a video archive of the chat, visit https://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/national/nes2/home/Mather-chat.html.

To read more about this amazing opportunity to see a full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope, visit https://www.nasa.gov/topics/nasalife/features/webb-balto.html.

NASA Invites Students to Name Moon-Bound Spacecraft

Artist concept of GRAIL twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon.NASA has a class assignment for U.S. students: help the agency give the twin GRAIL mission spacecraft headed to orbit around the moon new names.

The naming contest is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade at schools in the United States. Entries must be submitted by teachers using an online entry form. Length of submissions can range from a short paragraph to a 500-word essay. The entry deadline is Nov. 11.

For contest rules and more information, visit: http://grail.nasa.gov/contest

Email questions to: grailcontest@jpl.nasa.gov

For more information about GRAIL, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/grail

A Cross-discipline Unit Using Radio Jove

Radio Jove LogoVin Urbanowski, NASA Explorer Schools educator from the Academy of Information Technology & Engineering in Stamford, Conn., created a lesson, The Engineer Who Became an Artist: A Radio Jove-Inspired Unit Connecting STEM, Music and History. The lesson reinforces radio concepts by tracing the development of radio, in both radio astronomy and radio communications and helps students acquire familiarity with the audio signatures of various phenomena and operations.

For more information and to download a copy of Urbanowski’s lesson, go to the NEON article, A Cross-discipline Unit Using Radio Jove.

NASA Offers Shuttle Tiles and Space Food to Schools

Assorted dehydrated food packagesNASA is offering space shuttle heat shield tiles and dehydrated astronaut food to eligible schools and universities. The initiative is part of the agency’s efforts to preserve the Space Shuttle Program’s history and technology and inspire the next generation of space explorers, scientists and engineers.

The lightweight tiles protected the shuttles from extreme temperatures when the orbiters re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere. The food, which was precooked or processed so that refrigeration is unnecessary, is ready to eat or could be prepared simply by adding water or by heating. Schools can register for a login ID and request a tile or food at: http://gsaxcess.gov/NASAWel.htm

Gear Up for the School Year With NES

We hope you’ve been enjoying your summer vacation! As you gear up for the 2011-2012 school year, don’t forget about NASA Explorer Schools’ wealth of classroom resources. Last year, NES teachers participated in more than 1,100 activities. Many teachers commented on how easy it was to integrate NES activities into their curriculum and how using them increased their students’ interest in STEM topics. 

And there’s much more to look forward to in the upcoming year!

Throughout the school year, NES will add 20 new lessons to the existing teaching materials library, along with a number of associated professional development videos and webinars. 

NES will kick off the 2011-2012 NASA Now Season with its first event, Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System. Chief Engineer Gary Fleming will explain how studying electromagnetic energy can help predict climate change. Information about this event will be posted on Aug. 17.

Visit the Virtual Campus to find the complete set of NES classroom resources as you plan your 2011-2012 curriculum. Remember, the NES staff is available throughout the summer to answer any questions or provide additional support in integrating NES resources into your curriculum.

Enjoy the rest of the summer!

NES Teachers Participate in Summer Research Experiences

Each summer, NASA Explorer Schools recognizes outstanding NES educators by providing an opportunity to attend an all-expense-paid, three- to five-day research experience. This summer, NES is hosting four research experiences.

On July 11, selected educators begin a week-long NASA Coastal Ocean Research Opportunity. Teachers become familiar with the science and research techniques used by NASA to study the coastal oceans, ocean color and Earth’s biosphere from space. They conduct research aboard research vessels and learn to use some of the same techniques used by NASA scientists.

The theme of the Solar System – Inside and Out summer experience is what is happening within our solar system and beyond. During this two-day professional development experience participants learn about our solar system, exoplanets, and the Hubble Space Telescope’s contributions to the study of these new worlds orbiting other stars. This workshop features science content presentations and hands- on activities that use real-world astronomical data and the Hubble Legacy Archive to bring the wonders of the universe to students. These activities can be implemented in the classroom to encourage students to generate relevant and meaningful research questions and search for new insights about the solar system. The “Solar System — Inside and Out” workshop will be held July 20-21, 2011, at the Space Telescope Science Institute, located on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus in Baltimore, Md.

July 20 marks the first day of a four-day Water Filtration Research experience supporting the NES Engineering Design Challenge of the same name. Participants learn how NASA recycles water on the International Space System and about hydroponics and plant growth, as well as how a national park studies water.

A selected group of NES educators travel to the Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope facility for a week-long research experience beginning on July 18. The GAVRT project uses a series of dedicated 34 meter (112 foot) radio telescopes at NASA’s Deep Space Network Goldstone Complex connected to classrooms via the Internet. Teachers acquire the curricular, operational and scientific knowledge to implement GAVRT within the classroom with cross-curricular lessons. Participants learn how to use the software. They are given access to the telescope for student use during the school year. 

The final NES summer research experience, Forces and Motion, begins on August 1 and targets teachers of middle school students. Selected educators perform their own research on the properties of objects in a microgravity environment and then go through a design process to create and build a research experiment. The experience then culminates with testing the experiment in a NASA drop tower.

If you’d like to be eligible to participate in a NASA research experience next summer, become an NES participant by completing the registration form on the NES Virtual Campus.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

Request for Universal Time Lesson Plans

Map of Earth showing day and nightPeople in many countries throughout the world use satellite images and data. It’s important to be able to determine the exact time a picture was taken or data collected. To meet this need, satellites use a time stamp standard for tagging images and data — Universal Time, referred to as UT; or Zulu Time, designated by the letter Z; or Greenwich Mean Time, abbreviated as GMT. All three designations refer to the same time. The recorded time is the time at the 0º line of longitude, which runs through Greenwich, England.

When a satellite picture is taken or data set collected, it is logged according to traditional military notation for time in the 24-hundred hour notation, based on the time at 0º longitude.

This subject offers the potential for student investigations, mathematics activities and history lessons.

Share with other educators any time-related lesson plans you have used with your students by replying to the UNIVERSAL TIME posting in the Satellite Meteorology forum in NEON. 

NES Adding New Teaching Modules to the Virtual Campus

NASA Explorer Schools project logoThe NASA Explorer Schools project is adding 20 new teaching modules throughout the coming year to cover even more science, technology, engineering and mathematics topics across grades 4-12. NES will post the first set of new resources, focused on mathematics for algebra 1, algebra 2 and calculus classrooms later this summer. Other new content modules will focus on concepts in life science, physical science, engineering, chemistry and Earth science.

Be sure to check out all the exciting opportunities and classroom activities coming to the Virtual Campus. And remember, NES staff will be available throughout the summer to answer any questions or to provide additional support in integrating NES resources into your curriculum.

Have a wonderful summer!

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.