Daily Archives: August 23, 2012

Bag of Bones Classroom Activity – Grades K-8

Student and Skeleton

Let’s crunch some bones!

Students test bone density using plastic snack bags, corn puff cereal and a heavy book. They apply the scientific method to determine degrees of bone loss and learn why healthy bones are important in space and on Earth.

http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/Bag_of_Bones_Activity.html

Objective:

Following this activity, the student will be able to

  • Identify the effects of decreased bone mass (osteoporosis)
  • Describe why healthy bones are important in space and on Earth

National Science Standards:

  • Unifying Concepts and Processes in Science
  1. Evidence, models, and explanation
  2. Change, constancy, and measurement
  • Science as Inquiry
  1. Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
  2. Understanding about scientific inquiry
  • Life Science
  1. Structure and function in living systems
  2. Diversity and adaptations of organisms
  • Science in Perspective
  1. Personal health
  • History and Nature of Science
  1. Nature of science

National Mathematics Standards:

  • Mathematics as problem solving
  • Mathematics as reasoning
  • Mathematical connections
  • Computation and estimation

Materials Needed:

  • Corn puff cereal (approx. 4.5 oz. per group)
  • Ziplock snack bags (6 5/8 inch x 3 ¼ inch) – 5 per group (larger bags holdtoo much cereal to count in a reasonable amount of time)
  • Permanent markers for labeling bags
  • Heavy books (one per group)
  • Student Activity Guide (one per student)
  • Broom and dustpan (for clean-up)

Time Required:

This activity may be spread out over a two- or three-day period. You maywish to use the first day for discussion and baggie preparation, and the second and third days for experimentation, data collection, and discussion.

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National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition – Team Registration Awards Deadline September 30, 2012

National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition (NSSSC)

An Opportunity for Undergraduates to Participate in a Real World Research Experience

Ask yourself the following questions:

Spectrograph

Register your team today for the National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition! Build awards available for teams registered before September 30, 2012~

  • Are you looking for a real world design problem?
  • Do you want to participate on an interdisciplinary team?
  • Do you want experience with mechanical components, optics, electronics and software?
  • Are you looking for an independent study or a capstone project?
  • Do you want to travel to the ‘Big Sky’ state?
  • Do you want a chance to win scholarship and travel prizes?

If you answered yes to these questions then this competition is for you! Get your team of 3 to 6 students together and register today.

The yearly National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition (NSSSC) is Montana Space Grant Consortium’s Education and Public Outreach (EP/O) Program for NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) mission. A Spectrograph is an instrument used to measure properties of light over a specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum by separating the incoming light into its characteristic frequencies of wavelengths (spectrum). Spectrographs have a wide range of complexity from simple grating or prisms to the cutting edge IRIS spectrograph.

The NSSSC provides students from across the country the opportunity to work as part of an undergraduate interdisciplinary team to design, build and test a ground based solar spectrograph. Over the course of nine months, teams come up with their own science goals and then build an instrument to collect data in support of their goals. Teams then travel to Bozeman, MT to demonstrate their instruments and present their results in a competitive science fair environment. There are four judged categories: best build, best design, best science and best presentation. Each student on the winning teams receives a scholarship award of $3,000 and a travel award to a NASA launch.

College students interested in designing a spectrograph can now register for the 2012-2013 competition. Build awards of $2,000 per team are available for teams that register by Sept. 30.

Comments about the NSSSC:

“NASA is in a unique position to use scientific space missions like IRIS to foster student interest in science and engineering,” said Diane DeTroye, of NASA’s education office in Washington, D.C. “Giving students a chance to get hands-on experience often encourages them to pursue and continue STEM studies. This helps build an important pipeline of talent for future NASA missions.”

“The concept of having undergraduates design, build and test a scientific instrument is certainly unique as far as I know. This is a marvelous opportunity for young people to develop high level skills in instrument building. Using the instrument to answer science questions makes it even better. I commend and thank you for this wonderful experience. All of us will learn so much as we successfully complete this project. NSSSC provides participating students a better chance for admission to the graduate school of their choice. Also, they will receive better fellowships when they are accepted to graduate school. It will give some of them a direction for their career. I know of no other opportunity to engage in instrument design and application.” – Edmond Wilson, Faculty Advisor Harding University

“The opportunity to work on a real project has been a true motivation for our students who can feel isolated at a small school with no significant research going on.” – Jim Boger, Faculty Advisor Flat Head Valley Community College

The 2012-2013 Final Competition Dates are May 15-18, 2013 in Bozeman, MT. Any questions please contact Randy Larimer at rlarimer@ece.montana.edu or 406-994-6085

Registration and more information is available at http://www.spacegrant.montana.edu/iris/

Social Media Link: http://www.facebook.com/NASANS3

NASA Science Mission Directorate Seeks Educator Professional Development Feedback – Deadline September 10, 2012

The NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is strongly committed to enhancing the nation’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. As part of that commitment, each of the four divisions within the SMD established an Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) Forum. Each Forum consists of a team of scientists and educators that coordinates activities using NASA science content, expertise, and facilities.

One of the areas on which the Forums are currently focusing is teacher professional development. In an effort to continue offering the most valuable professional development experience possible, the Forums are seeking expert input.

Please fill in the survey found at the website listed below. The survey should take less than 20 minutes. We are asking for your response by Sept. 10, 2012.

http://bit.ly/NASAscienceteacher

Thank you very much for your contribution to NASA Science E/PO Forums!

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Student Travel Grants for Astrobiology – Deadlines April 1, October 1 Annually

Astrobiology Program Travel Awards

The Astrobiology Program Travel Awards Program offers research-related travel support for undergraduate, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Applicants are encouraged to use these resources to circulate among two or more laboratories supported by the NASA Astrobiology Program (ASTEP,ASTID, Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology or the NAI), however any travel that is critical for the applicant’s research will be considered.

Travelers must be formally affiliated with a U.S. institution. Requests are limited to $5,000, and are accepted with deadlines of April 1 and October 1.

How to Apply:

To be considered for an Astrobiology Program Travel Award, please submit the following material to Melissa Kirven-Brooks <Melissa.Kirven-Brooks at nasa.gov>

  • the team(s) and researchers you plan to visit
  • the approximate dates of travel
  • a brief description of the research you plan to conduct at the hosting laboratory (include, for example, any technique you expect to learn, or equipment you will need to use) and how the collaboration is relevant to your research
  • a budget describing what funds are required, and
  • letters of recommendation from your faculty advisor and from the researcher(s) you plan to visit

Visit the program website for details: http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/funding/astrobiology-program-travel-awards

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