We’ve been in school for over a month now and have finally gotten back into our old routine. World Space Week is October 4th through the 10th and we have many great ideas to celebrate the wonders of space and space exploration. But before you hitch a ride to Mars, go underwater to explore sea caves and the amazing discoveries waiting to be found.
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Sea Caves and Anoxic Waters– The Bahamas blue holes have been called “the scientific equivalent of Tut’s tomb” by National Geographic. The 2009 expedition into the underwater caves brought in scientists from many fields; including geology, chemistry, biology, and archeology. With over 300 new species discovered in the blue holes in the Bahamas and around the world, the underwater caves offer a unique chance to study organisms that live in anoxic waters on Earth and other planets.
Important discoveries have also been made in other underwater caves, including the recent discovery of “Young Man of Chan Hol” in a cave system 80 miles south of Cancún. The remains are believed to be at least 10,000 years old but the exact date won’t be known for another three to four months, when the carbon dating is completed. Resources on teaching about carbon dating are available on PBS.
For the last few decades, there has been an increase in the number of “dead zones”—anoxic waters usually near the mouth of a large river or ocean—on Earth. Locations of the anoxic waters include the Gulf of Mexico and the Baltic Sea-home to the world’s largest dead zone. Lesson plan ideas including PowerPoint, worksheets, and interactive websites.
World Space Week– World Space Week was made official in 1999 by the United Nations. The start and end dates of World Space Week commemorate the October 4, 1957 launching of the Sputnik I and the October 10, 1967 signing of the Outer Space Treaty, respectively. The goal of World Space Week is to educate and encourage space exploration worldwide. Since its beginning, over 55 countries have celebrated World Space Week every year.
The Hubble Space Telescope is a famous telescope that has been photographing space for over 20 years. The Hubble telescope has opened the world’s eyes to wonders never thought possible. This year, for World Space Week, help celebrate the 20th year that Hubble has been taking photos by teaching your students of the incredible telescope. The science behind the photos taken by Hubble are available on the Hubble website.
In August, Space Math @ NASA reached its goal of 2 million downloads since 2004. To celebrate, Space Math @ NASA recently redesigned the website and created new math problems to solve. They have added new books like “Space Weather Math” and new problems based on NASA events. See the new website and select space problems for your students to complete.
For those wanting to explore the universe firsthand, consider a trip to the Fleischmann Planetarium. A newly introduced star show called “Saturn: Jewel of the Heavens” explores Saturn in 3-D, without the 3-D glasses. The show is also paired with “Autumn Stargazing”, a show detailing what you can find in the fall sky. If you are in southern Nevada, you can see shows like “Secrets of the Sun”, a star show that explains the importance of the sun to life on Earth. Visit the Planetarium at the College of Southern Nevada.
Bring outer space into your classroom with activities such as making constellations from tin cans. For other activities including word searches and ideas for teaching about gravity, visit ProTeacher.
Desert Survivors– Desert Survivors is an educational television show for elementary students in the Clark County School District. The 12-episode show spotlights a “survivor” native to the Mojave Desert and an expert on the organism being discussed. Each student is also given a packet with activities to complete. The website also features additional activities and games students can play with their family. To get more information on Desert Survivors, visit UNLV Desert Survivors or the UNLV College of Sciences website.
Professional Development- The JASON Project is a non-profit subsidiary of the National Geographic Society and aims to encourage students to learn and participate in science. It connects students with explorers and scientists and gives the students the opportunity to experience science hands-on. For teachers, the JASON Project provides professional development training that includes the JASON curricula and will help teachers improve their science teaching skills.
Upcoming Events– The Humans in Space Youth Art Competition deadline has been extended to October 13, 2010 to allow for more students to participate. The International Academy of Astronautics Humans in Space Symposium Youth Art Competition is held by the NASA Johnson Space Center. The competition is open to all 10-17 year olds and requires that participants submit a piece of original art by October 13, 2010. The art must be in Houston by midnight central time and will be seen by experts from around the world in April, 2011.
The National Geographic Bee is a nationwide, yearly geography competition held by the National Geographic Society. Its purpose is to encourage an appreciation of geography in teachers and students. Deadline to register with a $90 fee is October 15, 2010. After October 15, 2010 and until December 10, 2010 the fee is $110. Registration ends on December 10, 2010. More information on the National Geographic Bee, including sample questions and registration information can be found on The National Geographic Bee website.
STEM Research Study– PBS Teacherline is offering teachers the opportunity to participate as a control teacher evaluating the effectiveness of a new online graduate course entitled “Global Climate Change Education for Middle School”. The course fee is covered by the study and participating teachers will receive a $50 stipend for completion of the surveys. Teachers must be teaching grade 5-8 science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics to be eligible for the study. The course will begin on October 27, 2010 and end on December 7, 2010.
We need your submissions! Do you have a classroom activity that really excited your students? How about a really great web resource that you have found? We will help you share your resources with other teachers across the state. Send your activities, lesson plans or online resources to us and we will feature you in our newsletter and add your resource to our website. Please contact Robert Newbury at firstname.lastname@example.org