August 2015

A monthly broadcast including upcoming educational programs, events, opportunities, and the latest resources from NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
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Programs & Events
New in this Issue

  • “Where Over the World Is Astronaut Scott Kelly?” Trivia Contest
  • #WhySpaceMatters Photography Competition
  • Free Webinar: Drought: Are We In or Out?
  • Free STEM Webinar: Weather and Climate’
  • Center for Astronomy Education: Teaching Workshops
  • NASA GLOBE Water Studies Workshop
  • NASA and SciStarter Enlist Citizen Scientists for Nationwide Research

Previously Broadcast

  • LIGHT: Beyond the Bulb

Educational Resources

  • Wavelength Feature: The Dynamic Earth Video
  • Career: What I Do As A NASA Engineer (via Lifehacker)
  • New on the Climate Kids Website: Paper or Plastic?
  • New on the SciJinks Website: Drought
  • New on the Space Place Website: Days

Programs & Events

New in this Issue

“Where Over the World Is Astronaut Scott Kelly?” Trivia Contest

During his year-long stay on the International Space Station, astronaut Scott Kelly wants to test your knowledge of the world through a geography trivia game on Twitter. Traveling more than 220 miles above Earth, and at 17,500 miles per hour, he circumnavigates the globe more than a dozen times a day. This gives Kelly the opportunity to see and photograph various geographical locations on Earth. In fact, part of his job while in space is to capture images of Earth for scientific observations. Follow @StationCDRKelly on Twitter. Each Wednesday, Kelly will tweet a picture and ask the public to identify the place depicted in the photo. The first person to identify the place correctly will win an autographed copy of the picture. Kelly plans to continue posting weekly contest photos until he returns from the space station in March 2016.

For more information, visit

To learn more about the One-Year Mission, visit

#WhySpaceMatters Photography Competition

NASA and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, or UNOOSA, have launched a global photography competition to highlight how the vantage point of space helps us better understand our home planet, improve lives, and safeguard our future by aiding sustainable development on Earth. To highlight the role of space-based science and technologies and their applications on Earth, NASA and UNOOSA are inviting the public to submit photos depicting why space matters to us all in our daily lives. To participate, post a picture and description on Instagram using the hashtag #whyspacematters and tagging @UNOOSA. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who is three months into a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station, will announce the winning photo each month by posting it from his Instagram account @StationCDRKelly.

For more information about the competition, visit

For more information about the International Space Station and the One-Year Mission, visit

Free Webinar: Drought: Are We In or Out?

As part of the 2015 von Kármán Lecture Series, join Dr. William Patzert, Climatologist at NASA JPL as he explores the Californian drought. As of December 2014, it has entered its 4th year of below-normal rainfall and snowpack and now faces its most severe drought emergency in decades. Governor Jerry Brown has called for Californians to voluntarily reduce water, and mandatory rationing could be ordered soon so that homes, businesses and farms don’t run dry. Join Dr. Patzert as he explores just how this story developed, what happened to the drought and how we expect to deal with future droughts.

When: August 13 and 14

Time: 7:00 p.m. PT

To register, visit

Free STEM Webinar: Weather and Climate

The NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University is providing a 1-hour webinar that will explore the understanding and forecasting of weather and how weather and climate differ. NASA missions, STEM resources, curriculum and integration of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) will guide participants through a “storm” of classroom activities. This webinar is suited for educators of grades 3-8.

When: Wednesday August 26

Time: 6:00 pm ET

To register, visit

Center for Astronomy Education: Teaching Workshops

NASA’s Center for Astronomy Education, or CAE, has announced a series of educator workshops for astronomy and space science educators. These workshops provide participants with experiences needed to create effective and productive active-learning classroom environments. Workshop leaders model best practices in implementing many different classroom-tested instructional strategies and provide participants with first-hand experience implementing these proven strategies. You’ll have the opportunity to role-play the parts of student and instructor and assess and critique each other’s implementation in real time in a supportive learning community. CAE is funded through NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Exoplanet Exploration Program.
Spring/Summer 2015:

  • August 4-6, 2015 — Honolulu Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii CAE Teaching Excellence Short-Courses on Active Learning in the STEM Classroom
  • August 15, 2015 — American Museum of Natural History in New York, New York CAE Northeast Regional Teaching Exchange
    Fall/Winter 2015-16:
  • Sept. 26-27, 2015 — University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin CAE Tier I Teaching Excellence Workshop for Current and Future Astronomy and Space Science Instructors
  • Oct. 3, 2015 — Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, North Carolina CAE Southeast Regional Teaching Exchange
  • Oct. 17, 2015– Everett Community College in Everett, Washington CAE Northwest Regional Teaching Exchange
  • November 2015 — American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland New Faculty Workshop for Physics and Astronomy
  • Jan. 3-4, 2016– Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida CAE Tier I Teaching Excellence Workshop for Current and Future Astronomy and Space Science Instructors

For more information and to register for workshops online, visit

Inquiries about this series of workshops should be directed to Gina Brissenden at

NASA GLOBE Water Studies Workshop

Register now for one-day workshop for regional educators across all grade levels at the Glenn Research Center. Presented by Susan Kohler, the workshop will focus on the GLOBE Hydrology Studies and protocols. NASA STEM resources will be explored, including “Precipitation Education”, and tours of the Glenn Research Center will also be given. Participants will work in teams using Math, Science, Engineering and Technology to practice engaging students in the STEM curriculum.

When: Friday August 7

Time: 9:00am-3:00p.m. ET

Location: NASA Glenn Research Center, 21000 Brookpark Rd., Cleveland , OH 44135

To register, visit

NASA and SciStarter Enlist Citizen Scientists for Nationwide Research

NASA scientists are on a mission to map global soil moisture, and through SciStarter, they’re teaming up with citizen scientists to gather valuable data from the ground to complement and validate what is seen from space. Known as the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite mission, the research will help scientists understand links among Earth’s water, energy and carbon cycles. Youth Learning as Citizen Environmental Scientists ( has announced a $50,000 grant to SciStarter ( to recruit, train, and equip teams in all 50 states to measure and report soil moisture measurements at regular intervals.

Science enthusiasts, people who are concerned about their environment and our global water resources, teachers, athletes, families, civic groups, gardeners (anyone who will commit to taking regular soil measurements) can become part of this important research. Indicate interest by completing a brief online form. Teachers of students from grades 3-12 are encouraged to visit for ideas and tools for incorporating this SMAP project into their lesson plans.

To read more about the importance of citizen science, click here.

Previously Broadcast

LIGHT: Beyond the Bulb

“LIGHT: Beyond the Bulb” is a free international exhibition program for the International Year of Light 2015 that showcases the incredible variety of light-based science being researched today across the electromagnetic spectrum, across scientific disciplines, and across technological platforms. The exhibit materials and striking images were crowd-sourced and expert curated for science content, high-quality printability, stunning beauty and ability to engage wide audiences.

“LIGHT: Beyond the Bulb” covers a robust selection of the science, technology, nature and culture essential to the goals of the International Year of Light. Global organizers and volunteers have access to this online repository of images and resources which functions as a toolkit to create an exhibit with relative ease-allowing sponsors to focus on the physical specifications and local adaptation without having to start from scratch on content. Please contact if you are interested in creating an exhibit or program in your area.

Educational Resources

Wavelength Feature: The Dynamic Earth Video

With the Why Space Matters on Earth photo competition in full swing, The Dynamic Earth video will give you some great ideas about how NASA uses Earth observations to monitor our ever-changing planet to improve our lives and safeguard our future. Get inspired by this short film and share photos that show your appreciation for NASA’s eyes in the sky! For more information about NASA Earth observations, visit The Earth Observatory, where you can find images, stories, and discoveries about the environment, Earth systems, and climate that emerge from NASA research, including its satellite missions, in-the-field research, and models. Tip!!You can use NASA Wavelength to access troves of authentic NASA data in one convenient place! Simply click on the ‘Data and Images’ tab of Wavelength to find data for your next classroom activity, conference workshop or for your own research.

Career: What I Do As A NASA Engineer (via Lifehacker)

Space exploration, whether it be through telescopes watching the skies or probes sent to far away planets, is the culmination of thousands of people’s work, collaborating together to solve the innumerable problems that arise when you try to reach beyond what seems possible. Being that there are so many aspects to the work, describing someone as a “NASA engineer” could mean a thousand different things of course. Find out what Edward Gonzales, an electromagnetic compatibility engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has to say about his experiences, work, and how he ended up at NASA at

New on the Climate Kids Website: Paper or Plastic?

When we go to the store, we’re often asked by the checkout clerk, ‘Paper or plastic?’ What things should you consider before you answer? And what is the best answer to that question? Find out at

New on the SciJinks Website: Drought

It’s been called the California drought, but it affects much of the western United States. For more than four years, there has been little rain and snow in the region, but that’s just part of the problem. Learn more at

New on the Space Place Website: Days

A day on Earth is about 24 hours, but how long are days on the other planets in our solar system? And what is the best way to display the answers to that question? A graph perhaps? Find out at


August 2015


NASA Science Mission Directorate: Stephanie Stockman.
Editor: Theresa Schwerin, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES).
Writer: Samantha Williams, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES).
Contributions From: Frances Castellaneta, NASA JPL; Rachel Latterich, NASA JPL; Andi Nelson, Adler Planetarium; Theresa Schwerin, IGES.
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