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VOYAGE to Spread Space Excitement Educator Newsletter

Volume VIII, Issue 8
Editor Talia Jurgens
August 12, 2008

Dinosaurs - Not Just Any Old Reptile! - Lecture Series

Presented by the U.T. Bureau of Economic Geology, City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, and the Austin Earth Science Week Consortium. This is the final "TEXAS DINOSAURS" Summer Lecture A Family-Friendly Event "DINOSAURS - NOT JUST ANY OLD REPTILE!" presented by Dr. Pamela R. Owen Dr. Owen is a Senior Paleontology Educator at The University of Texas at Austin Texas Natural Science Center.

What makes a dinosaur a dinosaur? Are birds dinosaurs? Come learn what makes dinosaurs so special and their place in the reptile family tree. We will explore the anatomy, lifestyles and evolutionary relationships of dinosaurs and some of the other fascinating creatures that lived in Texas during the Mesozoic Era.

DATE: Thursday, August 14, 2008

TIME: 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

LOCATION: Zilker Botanical Gardens auditorium at 2220 Barton Springs Road. See above website for more information.

NASA Langley Office of Education Announces New Cooperative Agreement Opportunity

NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., is releasing a Cooperative Agreement Notice in support of the NASA Langley Office of Education entitled Electronic Professional Development Network (ePDN). The overall goal of the CAN is to develop an infrastructure and to deploy within that infrastructure research-based technology applications, products and services that enhance educator professional development through the use of online technologies. The recipient will be required to partner with NASA to design, prepare, produce, deliver and evaluate online professional development events, workshops, and courses leading to educators' effective use of NASA educational materials in learning environments.

Participation in this program is restricted to educational institutions or other educational nonprofit organizations. Proposals from outside the United States will not be considered.

Electronically submitted Notices of Intent to propose are requested by Aug. 14, 2008. Proposal due date is Sept. 10, 2008.

Proposals must be submitted electronically via the NASA proposal data system NSPIRES or via Grants.gov.

For more information about this opportunity, visit above website.

Space Science Is for Everyone: Creating and Using Accessible Resources in Educational Settings

Over the past seven years, the Southeast Regional Clearinghouse, or SERCH, convened seven highly successful “Exceptional Space Science Materials for Exceptional Students” workshops. The workshops offered professional development training and resources for the teachers of students with disabilities, science educators (both formal and informal), and product developers who are working to make Earth and space science concepts more accessible for persons with disabilities.

This collection of helpful hints and resources is based on the seven workshops, the expertise of the participants and product testing in classrooms around the United States following these workshops. The brochure is offered as a tool for science, technology, engineering and mathematics educators who are working with students and/or audiences with disabilities. Some activity descriptions are supplemented with case study examples addressing a particular disability. In addition, contributing educator-authors have provided a variety of lessons learned from formal education (Pre-K-12), home school education and informal or “free-choice” education learning venues, such as science centers, museums and planetariums.

Spaceward Bound

Follow along as American, Canadian and Inuit teachers work side by side with NASA scientists studying remote and extreme environments in the Arctic. Training slides and biographies of expedition participants are available online. Science plans are also available that outline the investigations that will be taking place to search for life in extreme environments. During the expedition, participants will post journal entries.

The mission of Spaceward Bound is to train the next generation of space explorers. The mission has students and teachers participate in the exploration of scientifically interesting but remote and extreme environments on Earth as analogs for human exploration of the moon and Mars. Spaceward Bound Field Expeditions involve teachers in authentic fieldwork so that they can bring that experience back to their classrooms and assist in the development of curriculum related to human exploration of remote and extreme environments.

Earth Science Course offered in Texas

SCED 507 is an Earth system science course that will be offered this fall through Texas A&M University – Texarkana, which is designed for middle school teachers. Students develop Earth system analyses in relation to specific environmental events; create collaborative, inquiry-based classroom applications; and use technology as a learning and teaching tool for grades 5-8 students. This course is built around the study of environmental events such as Brazilian deforestation, the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, the Larsen Ice Shelf disintegration, and Hurricane Katrina. Students will also learn to use Internet resources and to interact with others in a virtual community of teachers and learners to focus on content, pedagogy and technology integration.

In-state scholarships (Texas) are available for Fall 2008. Please contact David Allard, David.Allard@tamut.edu, for more information.

This course is part of the Earth System Science Education Alliance (ESSEA), which is funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation and implemented by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies. For more information about ESSEA, visit above website

K-12 Professional Development Opportunities

Are you seeking a K-12 professional development opportunity that will enhance your qualifications, competency, and self-confidence in integrating Earth system science, climate, and global change into your science classroom? This fall, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is offering a series of seven-week online courses for middle and high school teachers that combine geosciences content, information about current climate research, easy to implement hands-on activities, and group discussion. The courses run concurrently, beginning September 19th and running through November 7th. There is a 250 fee per course; register by Sept. 1 for a $50 discount ($200/course).

International Year of Astronomy 2009!

Get ready for IYA 2009 by checking out multimedia resources that feature NASA's space science research. Bookmark the NASA IYA 2009 portal at http://astronomy2009.nasa.gov to discover a growing collection of resources, including:

  • Sky-Spy-Safari: An interactive planisphere that explores celestial objects, and how NASA telescopes work.
  • Ask an Astrophysicist specializing in cosmic-ray, gamma-ray, and X-ray astrophysics, and other satellite based astronomical observations.
  • Science @ NASA Feature Stories Podcast Helping the public understand how exciting NASA research is and to help NASA scientists fulfill their outreach responsibilities.

K-12 Education Grant Program

NASA has released a Research Announcement for K-12 Competitive Grants (K12CG). The K12CG effort will seek innovate approaches to using NASA-themed content in support of secondary-level teaching and learning, with a particular emphasis on high school education. Each funded proposal is expected to leverage NASA’s unique contributions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, to enhance students’ academic experiences and/or to improve educators’ abilities to engage and stimulate their students. Proposed work must be grounded in education research and/or best practices. The work must incorporate formative, summative and other evaluations, as appropriate.

For guidelines and more information about this opportunity, visit above website.