May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Teachers in Space Offers Summer Opportunities for High-School Teachers

Posted: Sunday, May 1st, 2011

by Edward Wright

In the summer of 2011, Teachers in Space will offer a series of professional-development workshops for high-school science, technology, engineering, and math teachers. Developed in cooperation with NASA, the workshops will give teachers opportunities to fly in an unpowered aircraft with a former NASA Shuttle commander, learn to fly a flight simulator for the next generation of reusable spacecraft, study physiology in an altitude chamber, and build experiments that will fly on a suborbital vehicle. Workshops will take place in Florida, California, and Texas.

One of the cornerstones of the summer program is the Excelsior STEM mission, a historic opportunity for high-school STEM teachers to gain hands-on experience with space-science hardware. The Excelsior STEM mission will fly on a suborbital reusable launch vehicle (RLV) built and operated by Masten Space Systems, based at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, CA.

Teachers will build experiments for the mission during a Suborbital Flight Experiment Workshop that will take place at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center’s AERO Institute in Palmdale, CA on August 1-5. NASA Ames Research Center is helping to develop educational experiment kits that teachers will assemble during the workshop.

In the past, build/fly workshops have enabled teachers and students to fly experiments on sounding rockets and high-altitude balloons. Unfortunately, those flight opportunities were rare and expensive. In the current era of space exploration, companies like Masten Space Systems are developing suborbital reusable launch vehicles — fully reusable rocketships — that will bring about a revolution in frequent, low-cost access to space.

Suborbital RLVs will provide reliable and affordable flight opportunities for scientists, teachers, and students. RLVs are still in the early stages of development, but Excelsior STEM will provide teachers with a unique early flight opportunity. By introducing teachers to the next generation of space hardware at this early stage, Excelsior STEM will opening the door for many more education flights in the future. In a few years, students flying space experiments will be as routine as high-school science fairs.

The Suborbital Astronautics Workshop, which will take place in three states including Texas. In this workshop, teachers will learn about aeronautics and spaceflight while experiencing first-hand some of the training that future space pilots will receive. Expert instructors will include former Shuttle commander and XCOR Aerospace chief test pilot Col. Rick Searfoss (USAF-ret.). Participating teachers will fly in a glider and learn to pilot a flight simulator for a suborbital spacecraft now under development by XCOR Aerospace. At the end of the workshop, teachers will receive a copy of the simulator software to take back to the classroom.

The Suborbital Astronautics Workshop will be held for the first time at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, TX on June 20-24 with repeat sessions at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL on July 18-22 and the AERO Institute in Palmdale, CA on July 25-29.

At the Space Medicine and Human Factors Workshop, teachers will learn about high-altitude physiology and respiration, decompression and vacuum exposure, space weather and radiation, and the effects of weightlessness, gee forces, noise, and vibration. The workshop will be held at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL on July 11-15.

Workshops are offered at no charge to participating teachers. Subsidized housing will be available for workshop participants at a cost of $14 per night. A limited number of travel stipends will be available to defray the cost of meals and transportation. Applications are due by April 15, but teachers are encouraged to apply early. The application period might end based on the number and quality of applications received.

Additional information and workshop applications can be found at: www.teachersinspace.org/workshops.htm.

Edward Wright is project manager for Teachers in Space and principal investigator for the Excelsior STEM mission.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.