NASA Education “Science WOW!” Message — May 3, 2017

Check out the latest edition of NASA Education’s “Science WOW!” — your source for NASA opportunities in science education delivered “Weekly On Wednesday.”

Check out the latest edition of NASA Education’s “Science WOW!” — your source for NASA opportunities in science education delivered “Weekly On Wednesday.”

Science Always Starts With a Question …

This Week’s Question: Can I See Other Planets Without a Telescope?

This month, the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Mercury and Mars are all visible in the night sky. Watch the “What’s Up for May 2017” video to find out which ones you can see without a telescope and when the best times are to look!

Have You Seen This?

May the Fourth be with you! Celebrate Star Wars Day with NASA educational resources. Check out the Teachable Moment: May the Force = mass x acceleration to find videos, lesson plans and more to bring NASA and “Star Wars” into the classroom.

Opportunities for Future Scientists of All Ages

Science Opportunities for Educators of Grades K-12

Science Opportunities for Higher Education and Informal Institutions

Opportunities for Future Scientists of All Ages

**NEW** 2017 von Kármán Lecture Series — Attend in Person or View Online
Audience: All Educators; Students in Grades 9-12 and Higher Education
Next Lecture Date: May 4, 2017, at 7 p.m. PDT (10 p.m. EDT)

The Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series, named after the founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and presented by JPL’s Office of Communication and Education, shares the excitement of the space program’s missions, instruments and other technologies.

Lectures take place twice per month, on consecutive Thursdays and Fridays. The Thursday lectures take place in JPL’s Theodore von Kármán Auditorium, and Friday lectures take place at Pasadena City College’s Vosloh Forum. Both start at 7 p.m. PDT (10 p.m. EDT). Admission and parking are free for all lectures. No reservations are required, but seating is limited. The Thursday evening lectures are streamed live for viewing online. Archives of past lectures are also available online.

Next Lecture in the Series:

Cassini: The Grand Finale Begins
Event Date:
May 4 and May 5, at 7 p.m. PDT (10 p.m. EDT)
NASA’s flagship outer planets mission, Cassini, enters the final phase of its historic mission of exploration and discovery in April 2017. The spacecraft will plunge 22 times through the narrow gap between Saturn and its innermost rings — a completely unexplored region around Saturn. Join Cassini’s project manager Dr. Earl Maize and project scientist Dr. Linda Spilker for a discussion about the final phase of the mission.

For more information about the Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series, including a complete list of upcoming lectures, visit

Questions about this series should be directed to

**NEW** NASA’s Digital Learning Network Special Event With Beth Nielsen Chapman and Rocky Alvey
Audience: Educators and Students in Grades 5-12
Event Date: May 18, 2017, at 11 a.m. EDT

Join NASA’s Digital Learning Network on May 18, 2017, at 11 a.m. EDT for a special live event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of NASA’s Langley Research Center. The event will feature Grammy-nominated songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman and fellow songwriter Rocky Alvey.

Beth Nielsen Chapman has released nine solo albums and written seven #1 hits. Her songs have been recorded by many artists including Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Bette Midler, Elton John, Keb Mo’, Indigo Girls and Faith Hill. In 2012, Chapman released “The Mighty Sky,” a Grammy-nominated astronomy CD for kids of all ages. This work was featured during NASA’s 2012 Summer of Innovation program to inspire students to learn about the universe and their place in it and to pursue STEM studies.

Rocky Alvey is director of the Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory and is also a songwriter. His collaborations with Nielsen on “The Mighty Sky” album include writing lyrics and developing lesson plans based on the songs and their content.

Those tuning in to the webcast may ask questions via email at and via social media using #askDLN.

To learn more about this event, visit

For information about other DLN events, visit

Please send any questions about this opportunity to

Science Opportunities for Educators of Grades K-12

Free Education Webinars From NASA Educator Professional Development
Audience: In-service, Pre-service, Home School and Informal Educators

The NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University is presenting a series of free webinars open to all educators. Join NASA education specialists to learn about activities, lesson plans, educator guides and resources that bring NASA into your classroom. Registration is required to participate. To register, simply click on the link provided beneath the webinar description.

**NEW** Exploring the Physics of Climate Change: Buoyancy
Audience: Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades 6-12
Event Date: May 3, 2017, at 8 p.m. EDT
Participants will explore the basic physics of buoyancy as a function of density. Using easily accessible demonstrations, participants will learn ways to show how buoyancy relates to melting glaciers and ice caps. This activity will help clear up misconceptions about contributing factors to sea-level rise. The activities shared in this webinar address earth science and physics standards. For this and other activities, visit Register online to participate.

**NEW** From ‘Hidden’ to ‘Modern Figures’: Bringing Katherine Johnson’s Story Into Your Classroom
Audience: Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date: May 4, 2017, at 4 p.m. EDT
The film “Hidden Figures,” based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly, focuses on the stories of Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan, African-American women who were essential to the success of early spaceflight. This session will focus on K-12 classroom activities that are perfect for English, social studies, history, science, mathematics and engineering. These activities are related to what NASA is doing today. Additional resources and adaptation recommendations will be included for activities that tie directly to the work portrayed in the movie. Register online to participate.

**NEW** Picking Up STEAM: Using Models to Understand the Solar Eclipse
Audience: Pre-service, In-service, Home School and Informal Educators of Grades K-12
Event Date: May 10, 2017, at 5 p.m. EDT
Participants will be introduced to problem-based inquiry learning activities related to the solar eclipse. Learn how to bring STEM challenges and the adventure of space exploration to students in the classroom. Register online to participate.

For a full schedule of upcoming NASA Educator Professional Development webinars, visit

Questions about this series of webinars should be directed to Steve Culivan at

**NEW** What’s New at the NASA Space Place Website?
Audience: K-6 Educators

NASA Space Place is a NASA website for elementary students, their teachers and their parents. Check it out at .

Don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter, the NASA Space Place Gazette!

New and Newsworthy Resources

Voyager 1 and 2: The Interstellar Mission
— The Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft launched from Earth in 1977. Their mission was to explore Jupiter and Saturn –and beyond to the outer planets of our solar system. Learn more at

What Is Gravity? — Gravity is the force by which a planet or other body draws objects toward its center. The force of gravity keeps all the planets in orbit around the sun. What else does gravity do? Go here to find out!

Saturn’s Rings — Saturn’s rings are about 400,000 kilometers (240,000 miles) wide. That’s the distance from Earth to the moon! The rings are made up of material ranging from particles too tiny to see to “particles” the size of a bus. Scientists think the particles are icy snowballs or ice-covered rocks. Learn more at

“JunoQuest” — Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. But there is still a lot about this gas giant that we don’t know. NASA’s Juno spacecraft currently is helping scientists learn more. Play “JunoQuest,” and help Juno take us a giant step forward in our understanding of how giant planets form and what part they play in putting together the rest of the solar system.

Summer Activities
Are you looking for fun, educational activities for the summer? Check these out:

Make Sun Paper — Our sun is a burning ball of superheated gas. Even though it is 93 million miles (149.6 million kilometers) away, we can feel its heat and light on Earth. Make this marbled paper that looks just like our sun!

Bake Sunspot Cookies — Even when the sun may appear to be shining as brightly as ever, it sometimes has dark areas called sunspots. Learn more with this simple and delicious activity.

Make Ultraviolet Handprint Art — In this activity, see how sunscreen can be used to block the sun’s ultraviolet light rays.

Make a Pinwheel Galaxy — The Pinwheel Galaxy is a spiral-shaped galaxy about 21 million light years away from Earth. Scientists call this swirling galaxy M101. Make a Pinwheel Galaxy pinwheel!

Special Days to Celebrate
Find out about noteworthy days in NASA and space history that you can observe in your classroom.

May 5 — Alan Shepard became the first American in space on this day in 1961.

See more astronauts in action in our gallery:

May 6: Today is peak viewing time for the Eta Aquarids meteor shower.
What’s the difference between an asteroid and meteor?

May 26: Astronaut Sally Ride was born on this day in 1951.
She was the first American woman to fly in space! Learn more at

June 8: Happy World Oceans Day!
Did you know that water covers 71 percent of Earth’s surface, and 96.5 percent of it is salt water?

June 20: Today is the first day of summer.
Why does Earth have seasons?

June 22: Pluto’s moon Charon was discovered on this day in 1978.
Learn more about Pluto and its moons.

Do you want some help spreading the word about NASA Space Place? We have a page with ready-to-use website descriptions, logos and links to all our social media. Check out

Subscribe to Our Monthly E-newsletter!
Are you interested in keeping up with the latest and greatest news from NASA Space Place? Subscribe to the NASA Space Place Gazette. The NASA Space Place Gazette is for educators, parents and space enthusiasts of all ages. It includes special bulletins for noteworthy days and NASA events, such as a lunar eclipse, planet flyby or rover landing. It’s easy to subscribe — just click here.

Send Feedback
Please share your ideas about ways to use NASA Space Place in your teaching. Send them to

Take Your Students on a Series of Virtual Field Trips!
Audience: Grades 6-12 — Students and Educators, Formal and Informal
Next Event Date: May 5, 2017, 2 p.m. CDT

Bring your students along on a series of virtual field trips to NASA centers where students will go behind-the-scenes to see cool NASA places and visit with NASA professionals. Each session is 15-30 minutes long and includes an interactive question-and-answer session. Pre-registration is not required.

Upcoming virtual field trips include:

Deep Space Patrol — May 5, 2017, 2 p.m. CDT
Go behind-the-scenes in NASA’s meteorite lab with Kevin Righter, planetary scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Mission to Mars — May 8, 2017, 10 a.m. CDT
Learn about driving on another planet with an inside look at NASA’s space exploration vehicles with Lucien Junkin, robotics engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Adventures in Aeronautics — May 18, 2017, 9 a.m. CDT
Learn about high-flying careers with NASA Aircraft Operations. Join Mallory Yates, aerospace engineer, and Angela Bauer, deputy engineering branch chief of the Aircraft Operations Division, for a behind-the-scenes look at aviation at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Fun With Technology — May 22, 2017, 10 a.m. CDT
Take a virtual field trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Go behind-the-scenes with NASA intern Kaitlin Lostroscio to learn about NASA robotics.

These virtual field trips are a series of events offered to students and teachers as a component of “The Search for STEMnauts” — a virtual scavenger hunt where student teams in grades 6-12 solve puzzles, unravel riddles, break codes and make weekly virtual field trips to exclusive NASA locations. Student teams can even check out where they stand among the competition by following real-time updates on “The Search for STEMnauts” website!

This interactive, technical twist on a traditional scavenger hunt is offered through a partnership between NASA’s STEM on Station and Texas Instruments to provide students with a fun way to learn important STEM skills including coding and problem solving.

All students and educators (grades 6-12) are invited to participate in any virtual field trip offered. Participation in “The Search for STEMnauts” competition is not required. To learn more about these virtual field trips, including links to join in, go to

For more information about “The Search for STEMnauts,” including how to register, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to Kelly McCormick at

NASA Solar Eclipse Workshops at Marshall Space Flight Center
Audience: K-12 Educators
Next Workshop Date: May 6, 2017, 9-11 a.m. CDT

On Aug. 21, 2017, the United States will experience a solar eclipse. This celestial event will provide a golden opportunity to engage and educate diverse audiences, and NASA has the resources to help. Join the Educator Resource Center at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for a series of grade-level specific educator workshops to learn about safety tips, hands-on activities, resources and more!

May 6, 2017, 9-11 a.m. CDT: Educators of Grades K-12
June 1, 2017, 9-11 a.m. CDT: Educators of Grades K-12

For full event details and registration information, visit

Please direct questions about this workshop to Maria Chambers at

Opportunities for Higher Education and Informal Institutions

NASA Fundamental Physics Workshop 2017
Audience: Higher Education Educators and Students
Registration Deadline: May 17, 2017
Workshop Dates: May 31-June 2, 2017

The NASA Fundamental Physics Workshop 2017 will be held May 31-June 2, 2017, in Santa Barbara, California.

The workshop will provide a forum for NASA fundamental physics investigators to present results and discuss research ideas for future space experimentation with interested international and U.S. colleagues. Topic areas include atomic and molecular physics; fundamental forces and symmetries; dusty plasma physics; and condensed matter physics.

All interested scientists and researchers are invited to participate. The participation of the current NASA-funded investigators is strongly encouraged and kindly requested.

The deadline to register to attend the workshop is May 17, 2017. For more information and to register to attend, visit

Please direct questions about this workshop to Renee Atkins at

2017 Thermal and Fluids Analysis Workshop
Audience: Higher Education Educators and Students
Abstract Submission Deadline: May 19, 2017
Workshop Dates: Aug. 21-25, 2017

The annual Thermal and Fluids Analysis Workshop will be held Aug. 21-25, 2017, at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The Thermal and Fluids Analysis Workshop encourages knowledge sharing, professional development, and networking throughout the thermal and fluids engineering community within NASA, academia and the aerospace community at large. STEM faculty and university students are encouraged to attend, submit a poster or paper on their thermal/fluids work, take free training, or do a combination thereof.

Registration to attend the workshop is free. Participants interested in presenting at the conference, via manuscript or technical poster, must submit an abstract by May 19, 2017.

For more information about the workshop and how to submit an abstract for consideration, visit

Please direct questions about this opportunity to Ramona Cummings at

Check out the ‘Explore NASA Science’ website!
Science starts with questions, leading to discoveries. Explore the redesigned NASA Science site and send us feedback. Visit To view the site in Spanish, visit

Don’t miss out on upcoming NASA education opportunities
For a full list of events, opportunities and more, visit the Educators and Students Current Opportunity pages on NASA’s website:
— Educators
— Students

Are you looking for NASA educational materials to support your STEM curriculum?
Search hundreds of resources by subject, grade level, type and keyword at

Find NASA science resources for your classroom.
NASA Wavelength is a digital collection of Earth and space science resources for educators of all levels — from elementary to college, to out-of-school programs.

Visit NASA Education on the web:
NASA Office of Education:
For Educators:
For Students:
NASA Kids’ Club:

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