Monthly Archives: June 2011

New Educational Materials Available at

The Educational Materials section of NASA’s Web site offers classroom activities, educator guides, posters and other types of resources that are available for use in the classroom. Materials are listed by type, grade level and subject. The following items are now available for downloading.

High Flyers Alphabet Activity Book – Grades K-2

NASA conducts aeronautics research. The High Flyers Alphabet Activity Book introduces basic aeronautics terms. Students can color and practice letter writing, learn new words, solve simple addition problems and more.

Why Do We Explore? Storybook – Grades K-4

Read along with this animated storybook about exploration, or allow the storybook to read to you.

Blue Marble Matches – Grades 3-12

This 5-E lesson connects the shape of Earth’s surface (and the names of the features that correspond to those shapes and textures) to the processes that form them. It also will introduce students to how scientists use Earth to gain a better understanding of other planetary bodies in the solar system.

In this lesson, students will:
— Identify common characteristics to describe features in images.
— Identify geologic features and how they form on Earth.
— Create a list of criteria to identify geologic features.
— Identify geologic features in images of other planetary bodies.
— List observations and interpretations, and draw conclusions about processes that shape the surface of other planetary bodies.

The guide includes students’ pages and adaptations for younger students.

New Horizons Mission Student Dust Counter Lessons – Grades 8-10The Student Dust Counter is an instrument aboard the NASA New Horizons mission to Pluto, launched in 2006. As it travels to Pluto and beyond, SDC will provide information on the dust that strikes the spacecraft during its fourteen-year journey across the solar system. These observations will advance our understanding of the origin and evolution of our own solar system, as well as help scientists study planet formation in dust disks around other stars.

Flight Testing Newton’s Laws — Grades 9-12

“Flight Testing Newton’s Laws” uses aircraft to stimulate students’ interest in the physical sciences and mathematics during the course of ten lessons with corresponding videos. The main emphasis lies in showing how Newton’s three Laws of Motion and the four forces of flight apply to flight testing an aircraft. Students solve problems involving kinematics and dynamics. Complementary areas of trigonometry, vector addition, weight and balance, and resolution of forces are employed. The collection includes an educator’s guide that is presented in the format of a flight instructor’s manual to help guide teachers and students through each lesson.

Pre-Service Teacher Institute at NASA’s Stennis Space Center – Application Deadline July 7, 2011

NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center has partnered with Jackson State University to offer a two-week Pre-Service Teacher Institute taking place July 17-29, 2011, in Jackson, Miss. The application deadline has been extended to July 7, 2011. The Pre-Service Teacher Institute is for college students who are preparing to teach middle school grades.

The program is designed to increase students’ skills in teaching mathematics and science, while incorporating technology in the curriculum. This is achieved through the development of a problem-based learning aerospace theme. Each student is assigned to an Institute Flight Team. Students develop a lesson plan that they will teach to children from a local school.

Applicants must attend a designated member institution. For more information and a list of eligible institutions, visit

Final Shuttle Launch – July 8, 2011 – 11:26AM EST

Space Shuttle Atlantis’s final launch is currently scheduled for Friday, July 8, at 11:26am EST.

You can watch the very last shuttle launch live! OMSI will show the lift-off live via satellite on NASA TV in the planetarium beginning at 7:00 a.m. PDT on Friday, July 8, with the shuttle’s launch scheduled at 8:26 a.m. PDT. Admission to the televised launch is free and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. (The museum will be closed, but the planetarium will be open for the launch viewing.)

Space shuttle Atlantis’ 12-day mission to the International Space Station will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module filled with supplies and spare parts to sustain station operations once the shuttles are retired. The mission also will fly the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), an experiment designed to demonstrate and test the tools, technologies and techniques needed to robotically refuel satellites in space, even satellites not designed to be serviced. The crew also will return an ammonia pump that recently failed on the station. Engineers want to understand why the pump failed and improve designs for future spacecraft.

This is the final flight for shuttle Atlantis and the Space Shuttle Program. NASA’s workhorses for the past 30 years have completed their mission to build and supply the orbiting outpost, and the agency is now looking to destinations beyond low-Earth orbit. STS-135 is the 135th and final shuttle mission and the 33rd flight of Atlantis.

For more information about the STS-135 mission, including images and interviews with the crew, visit:

For directions to OMSI in Portland, OR, visit:

You can also watch the shuttle launch live online at NASA TV:


NASA Kids’ Club Games and Activities

Have you visited the NASA Kids’ Club recently? Games and activities have been added just in time for summer!

Check out the new “Why Do We Explore?” storybook. Kids can read this animated online story about exploration or have it read aloud to them as they follow along.

Children can let their creativity shine with the “Color NASA” activity. This interactive coloring book features pictures of plants, birds and animals that live on NASA centers across the U.S.

Are your kids hungry for a new game to play? The “Space Lunch” game helps them learn about nutrition and healthy eating habits as they hunt for matching food groups.

Looking for a fun hands-on activity for a summer afternoon? Check out the “Let’s Fly Away” activity. Children can interact online with an aircraft-covered dodecahedron. Or, print out the activity pages to learn about 12 different aircraft and build their own 3-D dodecahedron!

Ever wonder how much you’d weigh on other planets and moons? Play the “Astro-Matic 3000” game to find out!

Do you know a child who likes puzzles? Check out the “Put It Together” game to solve puzzles of NASA images. Choose from four different levels of difficulty.

For these fun activities and more, visit

2011 SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge – Registration Deadline Sept 5, 2011

NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory are offering high school students the opportunity to design experiments that will be tested in space.

The 2011 Zero Robotics challenge is a continuation and expansion of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics education program using bowling ball-sized spherical satellites aboard the International Space Station.

The Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, are used inside the station to test maneuvers for spacecraft performing autonomous rendezvous and docking. The three satellites that make up SPHERES fly in formation inside the station’s cabin. Each is self-contained with power, propulsion, computing and navigation equipment. Test results support satellite servicing, vehicle assembly and spacecraft that fly in formation.

The SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge requires high school student teams to write their own algorithm to fly the satellites in the station. Teams must register before Sept. 5, 2011, at

Entries will be evaluated using simulations. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., will host a ground test 2D competition in October. Two elimination rounds in the 3D online simulation will be held in November. The top 27 teams will have their code sent to the station, where an astronaut will program the SPHERES satellites to run their tests.

The Zero Robotics challenge, facilitated by MIT, continues the STEM focus of the SPHERES program. The 2011 challenge expands on a pilot program performed in 2009 and 2010. By making the benefits and resources of the space program tangible to high school students, Zero Robotics is designed to inspire future scientists and engineers. Students will have the opportunity to push their limits and develop skills in STEM. This program builds critical engineering skills for students such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, team work and presentation skills.

MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory developed SPHERES in 2006 to provide DARPA, NASA and other researchers with a long-term test bed for validating technologies critical to the operation of future satellites, docking missions and satellite autonomous maneuvers. The satellites provide opportunities to test a wide range of hardware and software at an affordable cost.

For additional information about NASA and MIT’s Zero Robotics program, visit

For additional information about DARPA, visit

ROSES-11 Amendment 12: Revised text for Appendix A.2, Land-Cover Land-Use Change (LCLUC)

Amendment 12 presents revised text for Appendix A.2, Land-Cover Land-Use Change (LCLUC), which, for this year, is now entitled Land-Cover Land-Use Change for Early Career Scientists.

The NASA LCLUC program supports research at the intersection of physical and social science involving the use of remotely sensed data. The program encourages the development of early career scientists that excel in this area of research. There is a growing community within academia, including students, that is engaging in interdisciplinary research of societal relevance.

This amendment presents revised final text for Appendix A.2, Land-Cover Land-Use Change. This amendment clarifies the eligibility to apply; only those who received their Ph.D. after 2005 are eligible to propose. The call also encourages data fusion and emphasizes the importance of the social science aspect of the proposal. The page limit for Step-1 proposals is four pages total, with three pages for the text and one page for a short CV and research experience. The revised call encourages data fusion and emphasizes the importance of the social science aspect of the program. Step-1 proposals due by December 1, 2011, and Step-2 proposals due by June 1, 2012.

On or about June 22, 2011, this Amendment to the NASA Research Announcement “Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) 2011” (NNH10ZDA001N) will be posted on the NASA research opportunity homepage at (select “Solicitations” then “Open Solicitations” then “NNH10ZDA001N”). You can now track amendments, clarifications, and corrections to ROSES and subscribe to an RSS feed at:

Questions concerning this program may be addressed to Garik Gutman, Earth Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC 20546-0001. E-mail:; Telephone: (202) 358-0276.

Because It Flew – Education Activities and Space Shuttle Art Competition – Deadline August 5, 2011

“Because It Flew” is a free educational program that introduces students in grades 4-12 (ages 9-17) to the impact of the Space Shuttle Program on our planet and people. This engaging and informative project commemorates the 30-year history of the shuttle program.

“Because It Flew” consists of two elements: optional educational activities and the NASA Space Shuttle Art Competition.

Four activities engage and introduce students to the history of NASA’s space shuttle missions. Completion of these activities is not a requirement for submitting an entry into the art competition, but they may be used to guide students through the process of creating an entry. The activities can be adapted easily to both formal and informal educational settings. Activities are aligned with national standards and support efforts to integrate science, technology, engineering and math with language arts.

The NASA Space Shuttle Art Competitions invites students to create original artwork that symbolizes the impact of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program on our planet and people. Students must also write a 250-word essay explaining their artistic entries. An expert panel of artists will review submissions. The top six entries in two age brackets (9-13 and 14-17) will receive cash prizes, a private tutoring session with an accomplished USA Today graphic artist and a certificate of accomplishment. Entries in the competition are due Aug. 5, 2011.

“Because It Flew” is a joint education initiative of NASA, the National Institute of Aerospace and USA Today Education.

For more information, visit


2011 NASA INSPIRE project for High School Students – Application Deadline June 30, 2011

U.S. high school students are invited to participate in NASA’s Interdisciplinary National Science Program Incorporating Research Experience, or INSPIRE, through an online learning community. INSPIRE is designed to encourage students in ninth through 12th grades to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Applications are being accepted through June 30, 2011. NASA will make selections for the program in September. The selected students and their parents will participate in an online learning community with opportunities to interact with peers, NASA engineers and scientists. The online community also provides appropriate grade level educational activities, discussion boards and chat rooms for participants to gain exposure to careers and opportunities available at NASA.

Students selected for the program also will have the option to compete for unique grade-appropriate experiences during the summer of 2012 at NASA facilities and participating universities. The summer experience provides students with a hands-on opportunity to investigate education and careers in the STEM disciplines.

INSPIRE is part of NASA’s education strategy to attract and retain students in the STEM disciplines critical to NASA’s missions. For more information about INSPIRE, visit

To apply for the program, visit

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