Resource of Interest
Stellarium: Recent debate over the status of Pluto as a planet, (or not as it was decided by the International Astronomical Union) has turned many eyes to the sky this month. Extend this scientific news event by bringing the stars and planets into the classroom using Stellarium; free software that renders realistic views of the sky in real time and in 3D. Users can depict the sky at their own locations, at various times, and show grids, constellation names, and constellation art. An interactive feature allows users to click on an object and access information about it in a pop-up window. It is like a planetarium for your computer. Download and install to Mac or PC (25MB). The Open Astronomy Curricula offers lessons for projector systems, including those that use Stellarium, but the software can also be used directly from your school computer.
Professional development opportunity
Seismographs in Schools Program: Users Workshop
The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) is offering a workshop, October 7-8, 2006 at Boston College , as part of its Seismographs in Schools program. The workshop is designed for K-12 teachers who currently have an AS-1 seismograph provided by the program, or who have purchased one with their own funds. As a result of the workshop, teachers will be able to: set up, calibrate, operate and troubleshoot their seismograph; use the data collected with their instrument as part of their seismology or plate tectonics instruction; and participate as part of a larger community of educational seismograph users to share data and teaching tips. Full travel support for twenty teachers is provided as part of the workshop. Apply now.
NOAA/NSTA Symposium: The Ocean's Role in Weather and Climate
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) are presenting a symposium for 5-12 grade level educators on the topic of the ocean's influence on weather and climate. The symposium will be held at the NSTA Area Conference on Science Education in Baltimore, MD November 2-4, 2006. This event is part of a blended professional development opportunity that includes this face-to-face learning opportunity at the conference followed by online experiences-a discussion listserv and two NSTA Web Seminars-that extend the interactivity with NOAA staff. This half-day symposium will focus on the interconnections among air, sea, and land; the processes by which energy is stored, released, and transferred among them; and how our understanding and ability to monitor ocean conditions is key to predicting climate change. NOAA scientists and education specialists will share their expertise and assist participants in linking this content with hands-on, inquiry-based, classroom activities. All activities will address national science education standards topics. Register today!
Call for participation
MARK YOUR CALENDAR! The 2006 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting takes place December 11-15 in San Francisco . The meeting provides an opportunity for more than 12,000 researchers, teachers, students, and consultants to present and review the latest issues affecting the Earth, the planets, and their environments in space. This meeting will cover topics in all areas of Earth and space sciences. The meeting registration deadline is November 6, 2006.
The online submission deadline for abstracts is September 7, 2006, 2359 UT (Universal Time) . Use the search function on the AGU website to locate sessions that are of interest or check out DLESE News and Opportunities and Conferences for announcements about particular sessions.
Descriptions for two of the preplanned sessions:
Communicating Broadly: Perspectives and Tools for Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Scientists (OS28)
Have you ever received a phone call from a reporter? Met with government officials or representatives of a philanthropic foundation? Written a lay-audience overview of your research for a funding agency or a scientific professional society? Presented to teachers, students or the public? Struck up a conversation about your work with the person sitting beside you on an airplane? Spoken with industry representatives about technology development relevant to your research? If so, and your professional focus includes some aspect of ocean, Earth or atmospheric science, you are invited to share your experiences and learn from colleagues about effective communication.
Across the geosciences, opportunities abound for researchers to communicate with people who have distinct and sometimes divergent interests - journalists, resource managers, environmentalists, policy makers, philanthropists, educators, and industry leaders, to name just a few. In this session, scientists and others within the academic community are invited to reflect on their experiences with such communication. Presenters may discuss their motivation for seeking or responding to opportunities to communicate with audiences outside of academia, share strategies for effective communication, and examine the relationship between communication techniques and outcomes. Presentations that describe resources for building scientists' communication skills - for example, organizations, programs, workshops, courses and publications - are also highly encouraged.
Data Need Not Be Deadly: Bringing Inquiry Alive to Foster Earth System Science Education and Science Literacy (ED06)
Communicating not only the outcomes of scientific research but the process of how evidence is collected is imperative in order to develop effective science education programs and communication strategies to the public. With the wide range of scientific research being conducted and unprecedented access to vast data sets and powerful analytic and visualization tools that technology now provides to nonscientists, the challenges of explaining how evidence is collected through observations is a daunting challenge to even seasoned professionals. For example, science education reform in the United States has encouraged the use of inquiry-based pedagogy and strategies for demonstrating how data are collected, analyzed, modeled and communicated. However, challenges remain to the widespread adoption of these practices. Metadata about the datasets need to become more standardized and comprehensive and instructors need to reorient their teaching practice away from didactic presentation of factoids to facilitating students' skills in thinking like scientists. Students need to learn how to recognize and appreciate what is known as well as what is not known and plan research designs grounded in, yet expansive of, the knowledge base. Similar challenges in communicating the "how" of scientific research exist in communicating with decision-makers, the general public and even other scientists from other fields.
In this session the focus will be on education, outreach and communication strategies that, based on research, evaluation and experience, are known to be effective at making scientific research and related education about the dynamics of the Earth system come alive in the minds of learners. Submissions of papers on the challenges, opportunities, success-stories and "case study" insights on effective education and communication of Earth system science to students and other general or specialized audiences are encouraged. The session aims to offer a forum for interdisciplinary dialogue on the topic from experts and practitioners from the realms of geosciences, communication, the media, curriculum development and deployment, educational and cognitive research, policy and strategic planning, and informal science education.
Be a Citizen Scientist!
The 2006 Earth Science Week toolkit is now available. This year's Earth Science Week, organized by the American Geological Institute (AGI), has as its theme 'Be a Citizen Scientist'. This means getting involved with real people collecting data, observing, and testing. No formal education in Earth Science is necessary to be a Citizen Scientist, only an interest and desire to learn. Since October 1998, the American Geological Institute has organized this national and international event to help the public gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Earth Sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth. This year's Earth Science Week, October 8 - 14, marks the ninth year AGI has sponsored this international event as a service to the public and the geoscience community.
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About the banner image
The following description is taken from the NASA site.
This image from NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft shows the checkerboard region of Noctis Labyrinthus, the Labyrinth of Night, west of the immense equatorial gash of Valles Marineris. This feature’s origins are not certain, but scientists think it began to develop when volcanic activity stirred in the adjoining region of Tharsis, stretching the Martian crust and fracturing it. As cracks and faults opened, ice and water in the subsurface escaped, making the ground collapse. The result today is a tangle of tablelands cut by canyons, troughs, and pits. This false-color Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) mosaic focuses on one junction where canyons meet to form a depression 4 kilometers (13,000 feet) deep. The mosaic combines visible wavelength images made during daytime with nighttime infrared images.