space shuttle Discovery successfully returned to Earth on
Tuesday, August 9, in the Mojave Desert, 14 days after its launch. Discovery
traveled a total of 5.8 million miles during the mission. The
mission's array of cameras and sensors enabled a successful and ground-breaking
space walk to the shuttle's underside to remove protruding gap filler material
from the heat shield that could have endangered the shuttle's return to Earth.
The crew delivered supplies, and outfitted and performed maintenance on the
International Space Station. NASA's Return
to Flight web site offers information and images from the mission,
including photos from the successful landing. The
Ultimate Field Trip provides an astronaut's view of Earth, and a
journal and images from the Space Shuttle and the
International Space Station take from previous missions.
Related space exploration news: On Friday, August 12, NASA launched the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which will gather more Mars data than all previous combined missions. The primary goal of the mission is to continue searching for evidence of water on the red planet, a key to learning about the possibilities of life on Mars. After a seven-month journey—arriving in March 2006—the satellite will orbit Mars for four years, using three high resolution cameras and a radar sounder that detects subsurface ice and water. The satellite is capable of transmitting data back to Earth at 10 times the rate of previous probes, and will serve as a communications relay station for future projected launches of an additional rover in 2007 and a science laboratory in 2009. (Contributed by H. Devaul and E. McIlvain)
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) offers a variety of teacher professional development opportunities through the NSTA Institute—a gateway to professional development for science teachers. Institute offerings include NSTA Partner Online Courses, NSTA Symposia, and NSTA Web Seminars (free). Symposia are face-to-face workshops generally followed up with two free Web Seminars, to maximize the effectiveness of newly learned content, while Partner Online Courses offer online coursework by other partner organizations via NSTA.
NSTA Symposia are half or full day professional development opportunities offered at NSTA conventions. See a schedule of offerings at upcoming fall meetings at the Eastern Area Convention in Hartford (October), the Midwestern Area Convention in Chicago (November), and the Southern Area Convention in Nashville (December). If you are planning on attending an area convention, these are excellent opportunities to further your professional development. (Contributed by E. McIlvain)
Fairbanks, Alaska was the impressive setting for the recent ESSE 21 Annual Meeting. Earth System Science Education in the 21st Century is a collaborative undergraduate/graduate education program sponsored by NASA, offering small grants to colleges and universities with special emphasis on including minority institutions to engage faculty and scientists in the development of Earth system science courses, curricula, degree programs and shared learning resources. The annual meeting provided an opportunity for 70 undergraduate educators and scientists to share their best classroom learning resources through a series of short presentations, posters, and skills workshops. Meeting participants proposed to develop in the coming year a design guide for Earth system science education to be based upon the collective experience of 63 participating ESSE teams over the past 15 years. The design guide will synthesize lessons learned and collect existing ESS learning materials. These will ultimately be included in DLESE as part of a continuing effort to foster and support a community of Earth system science educators dedicated to an interdisciplinary understanding of our planet. (Contributed by M. Ruzek)
The DLESE Project Office is recruiting Associate Editors to assist with implementation of a formal review of the instructional resources in the library. Working with the Editor, Associate Editors will recruit science and pedagogical experts to review assigned resources, provide summaries of reviews, make a recommendation for action, and verify that appropriate modifications are made to resources based on the reviews. Reviewed resources will receive a publication citation acknowledging their peer-reviewed status in DLESE. Associate Editors will be asked to oversee review of between 50-100 resources over 12 months and will receive an honorarium for their efforts. We seek persons with a research background in an Earth system science discipline and expertise in modern pedagogical methods for teaching about Earth. Please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in becoming an Associate Editor. (Contributed by M. Hall)
The DLESE Project Office is recruiting scientists and educators to perform science and pedagogical reviews of the instructional resources in the library. We are particularly interested in pedagogical experts at all levels to ensure grade level-appropriate reviews. We are also welcoming requests from resource owners who would like to have their resources reviewed. We will be developing a priority list for reviews to expedite the process. Successfully reviewed resources will be assigned a publication citation acknowledging their peer-reviewed status in DLESE. Please send email to email@example.com if interested in becoming a reviewer or having your resource reviewed. (Contributed by M. Hall)
DLESE Evaluation Services, at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Education and Outreach Program (University of Colorado), offers a minigrant program to fund proposals to conduct evaluation and assessment studies of relevance to DLESE. Successful proposals will include any aspect of DLESE use, impact, development, review, or other relevant activity. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the aim of the program is to encourage and further participation by DLESE community members in the evaluation activities of the library on topics relevant to library development. Educators, home-schoolers, curriculum developers, informal educators, library developers, project evaluators, or other DLESE community members in the U.S. are encouraged to apply. A total of $12,000 is available for the program. Proposals must be submitted by September 30, 2005. Review of proposals will take place October 1, 2005, through November 30, 2005. Awards will be announced December 1, 2005. For complete information, see the Minigrant program web site (link removed 2006). (Contributed by S. Lynds.)
The Digital Water Education Library (DWEL) needs persons with expertise in the following topical areas to help complete the collection of high quality K-12 water resources: oceans, water in the atmosphere, groundwater, surface water, water in space, water quality, water and life, water use, water policy, or the cryosphere. Participants will provide a preliminary review of the resources in a particular theme in the existing DWEL collection and provide URLs and grade level information for resources that are of high quality and warrant inclusion in the collection. Honoraria are available for the prospective work. Find out more. (Contributed by A. Stevemer)
Participants at the 2004 Annual Meeting made over 50 recommendations for improvements to DLESE services and products. Over the past year, the DLESE Core Services have made significant progress on more than two-thirds of the recommendations and the work continues. A brief report on progress can be found under the Announcements at http://www.dlese-project.org. The report is a working document that will be updated as additional work is undertaken or completed. (Contributed by M. Hall)
Many thanks to all community members who attended and/or participated to make DLESE 2005 a great success. Special thanks go to site hosts Dr. Ashanti Pyrtle, Dr. Teresa Greely, and site coordinator Lois Bryce, of the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Despite the threat of Hurricane Dennis, participants expressed great appreciation for the field trips, workshops, Share Fair, DLESE-in-Action Forum. College of Marine Science students Bryan Nichols and Jozan Powell did a great job of publishing a daily newsletter that summarized each day's activities. Photos are also available at the meeting web site. (Contributed by E. McIlvain)