A Song For My Science Class

   One of my college classes is Physical Science, which is essentially a general science course covering Physics, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Astronomy. Part of the class, 10% of the grade, is from having students do independent projects on topics relating to the class content. They may do anything from research, article summary’s, writing poems, developing lesson plans, and basically using their own interests in selecting the projects. One of my students wrote and performed a song that fits very nicely in the section we covered on Earth Science – plate tectonics, plate boundaries, subduction, faults (not mine!), and volcanoes.

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Name a Mascot-Mail a Pringle

   Two contests for students are online and available for participation however both are somewhat restrictive based on geography – one’s location.
   esa mascotThe European Space Agency, ESA, is hosting a Name the Mascot contest to select a name for
their mascot, however the competition is only open for students ages 4-12 years who reside in one of ESA’s 20 Member States or Cooperating States. Note that although the United States (NASA) works cooperatively with the ESA the United States is not part of the ESA so this contest is not available for students in the United States.
   Click here to go to the ESA – Space for Kids web site to learn more about this contest.
   Click here to go to the ESA/Hubble web site for a treasure trove of resources from the Hubble Space Telescope.

A Pringle

A Pringle

   ;A contest available within the United States for students, the Pringles Challenge, is based on designing a small package that will carry a single Pringle potato chip through the U.S. Mail system in such a manner that the Pringle will arrive at its destination intact or undamaged.
   Click here to learn more about the Pringles Challenge contest.

    Please note that posting the above information is not to be taken as a personal endorsement of the Pringle’s Potato Chip.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

Student Science Opportunities

Iris logo    “Join the Tracking a Solar Storm challenge and guide students as they learn about the Sun’s anatomy, the space weather it generates, and why studying our star is important.
   This challenge is designed around NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, mission. Scheduled to launch in April 2013, the IRIS spacecraft will study the dynamics of the interface region of our Sun’s atmosphere using an ultraviolet telescope and imaging spectrograph. As students participate in the challenge, they will learn about the IRIS mission and the instruments scientists use to gather solar data.
   An educators’ guide to the IRIS challenge is available on the Tracking a Solar Storm website and includes key information for helping students study the sun’s weather, track a solar storm, and predict its effect on Earth. Students will demonstrate what they have learned by collecting data and producing a space weather report.”

Click here to go to the IRIS Challenge web site.

whatif   “Candy, soda and other everyday items will be the tools of the trade for teenage rocket makers competing in the What If? Live Student Design Challenge, which was kicked off Tuesday by NASA and the Ahoora Foundation of Plano, Texas. Registration is open through Feb. 28 for the worldwide contest, in which 14- to 18-year-old students will design experimental propulsion systems using materials that are cheap and easy to get.”

Click here to read the NASA press release.
Click here to go to the What If web site.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

Cassini Scientist for A Day

Artwork-Cassini at Saturn

The Cassini Outreach Team has just announced the 2012 Cassini Scientist for a Day Essay Contest. This is an essay contest open to students in grades 5-12 but is limited to the United States. Students may enter as a team of up to four students or individually. Based on three imaging targets selected by the Cassini Team, participants will submit an essay of up to 500 words that describes which of the three imaging targets they feel would yield the best science results.
Imaging targets include the small moon Pan, the f-ring, and Saturn with its ring system and imaging will take place this fall.
Entry deadline is 12pm PDT on October 24, 2012 and all submissions must be done by the teacher.

The winning essays will be posted on the Cassini web site and winners will participate in a teleconference with Cassini Mission scientists in Pasadena at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL).

Click here to go to the contest web site.
Click here to download the contest flyer.
Click here to go to the Cassini Mission web site.