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LPI Earth and Space Science Newsletter

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October 4 - October 10, 2016 World Space Week

August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse visible across the US


NSTA Virtual Conference on Total Solar Eclipse
On Oct. 15, NSTA will host "Getting Ready for the Sky Event of the Decade: The 2017 All-American Eclipse of the Sun," presented by Dennis Schatz and Andrew Fraknoi. The program will cover eclipses and the 2017 eclipse, a series of activities, and more. This interactive program is for teachers in grades 4-12, science curriculum specialists, park rangers, librarians, museum educators, youth group leaders, and anyone working with the public. There is a fee for registration

Astronomy Workshop at Harris County Department of Education
On Dec. 7, 2016, LPI will present an astronomy workshop for 8th grade science and High School astronomy teachers. Discover how astronomers study the stars, nebulae, and galaxies that make up the Universe! Create classification diagrams, explore the properties of light, and model the scale of our Galaxy through a variety of hands-on activities. Addresses TEKS 8.8 (A,B,C,D). Participants receive reference materials, hands-on lesson plans, and lunch. Materials and LPI education staff time provided by NASA Science Mission Directorate’s cooperative agreement with USRA.Advanced Registration required. ($30).

Elementary Space Science workshop at Harris County Department of Education
On Friday, Sept. 30, LPI will present this workshop for 3-5th grade teachers. Create models of the Sun, Earth, and Moon systems, and explore the patterns of their motions through hands-on activities. Make observations, and predict the changing patterns in the day, seasons, phases, and more. Addresses TEKS 3.8 (C,D), 4.8 (C), 5.8 (C). Participants receive reference materials, hands-on lesson plans, and lunch. Materials and LPI education staff time provided by NASA Science Mission Directorate’s cooperative agreement with USRA. Advanced registration ($20) required.


SkyFest Event at LPI
On October 8, LPI will celebrate International Observe the Moon Night, with telescopes and activities from 7 to 9 pm. SkyFest is free and open to explorers of all ages.

Mercury to Mars: LPI Explores the Solar System
Research conducted at the LPI encompasses all the rocky planets, the Earth's Moon, asteroids and beyond. The 2016-2017 Cosmic Exploration Speaker Series will feature LPI scientists discussing their research and how their work supports NASA's solar system science and exploration efforts. Presentations are free and begin at 7:30 pm. Presentations will be streamed live through the USRA Ustream channel. Recordings of past presentations can be viewed online.

NSTA Virtual Conference: Total Solar Eclipse of 2017
On August 21, 2017, we will be treated to the first total eclipse of the Sun visible in the continental U.S. in almost 40 years. NSTA is holding a virtual conference on Saturday, Oct. 15, "The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 - Are You and Your Students Ready for the Sky Event of the Decade?"

Astronomy Day
The next Astronomy Day this year is October 8, 2016. Local astronomical societies, planetariums, museums, and observatories will be sponsoring public viewing sessions, presentations, workshops, and other activities to increase public awareness about astronomy and our wonderful universe.

Earth Science Week
This year's Earth Science Week will be held from October 9-16, 2016 and will celebrate the theme "Our Shared Geoheritage." Earth Science Week 2016 learning resources and activities engage young people and others in exploring geoheritage throughout the Earth systems, including the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.

International Observe the Moon Night October 8 2016
International Observe the Moon Night is an annual worldwide public event that encourages observation, appreciation, and understanding of our Moon and its connection to NASA planetary science and exploration. Everyone on Earth is invited to join the celebration by hosting or attending an InOMN event and uniting on one day each year to look at and learn about the Moon together.


Become a Solar System Ambassador
The motivated volunteers of NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors Program communicate the excitement of space exploration and information about recent discoveries to their local communities. Application forms will be available September 1 and are due by September 30.

National Fossil Day Art and Photography Contest
The National Park Service's National Fossil Day Art and Photography Contest is open to any US resident. Entries should address the theme "Your Favorite Fossil from a National Park." More than 260 units of the National Park Service have fossils of some kind. Entries must be received by October 5, 2016.

The Oceans Project
Oceans is an international online collaborative project for students ages 12-16. The objective is to help students understand that the sea is not the same worldwide through making their own observations and sharing them with students from around the world. The project lasts eleven weeks, takes place in English, and is free of charge. Materials are also available in Spanish, Catalan, and Italian.

Scientific Divers Visit School Classrooms
EPA divers enjoy opportunities to visit school classrooms and talk with kids about ocean stewardship. Visits typically include pictures and video of aquatic creatures as well as polluted water sites to show how EPA uses scientific diving to help protect our underwater environment. Contact the Unit Diving Officer for more information.

NASA Invites You to #SpotHubble
NASA wants to see the Hubble impact in your life! Share your photos with NASA on Instagram, Twitter, Flickr and Facebook.

Lexus Eco Challenge Scholarships
The Lexus Eco Challenge is a national STEM competition for grades 6-12 that awards up to $500,000 in grants and scholarships to eligible teachers, students, and schools each year. Student teams tackle environmental issues related to land, water, air, and climate, and create practical solutions while competing for prizes. Land and water entries due Oct. 17; air and climate entries due Dec. 12.


Captain Planet Foundation Grants
Captain Planet Foundation Grants are available to U.S.-based schools and organizations with annual operating budgets of less than $3 million, for environmental youth projects. The deadline is September 30, 2016.

Texas Environmental Excellence Awards
Applications are now available for the 2017 Texas Environmental Excellence Award. The awards recognize outstanding environmental projects in nine diverse categories from all over Texas, including education. The last day to submit an application is September 30, 2016.

Texas Medical Association's Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching
The Texas Medical Association awards one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school science teacher $5,000 and their schools will receive a $2,000 award for science curriculum. Also, three additional science teachers will receive $1,500 each. Nominations are open through November 18, 2016.

Toshiba Grants for K-5
K-5 grade teachers are invited to apply on-line for a $1,000 Toshiba America Foundation grant to help bring an innovative hands-on project into their own classroom. Grant applications are due on October 1st each year.

Grants Available for Students to Green Their Schools!
Project Learning Tree offers grants up to $1,000 to schools and youth organizations for environmental service-learning projects that link classroom learning to the real world. The deadline to apply is September 30, 2016.

TMA's Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching
In these awards by the Texas Medical Association, one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school science teacher will receive $5,000 and their schools will receive a $2,000 award for the science curriculum, and 3 additional science teachers will receive $1,500 each! Nominations open through Nov. 18, 2016.

Donors Choose Teacher Grants
Donors Choose is funding teacher projects for all subject areas.


Curriculum with an Impact
The Barringer Meteorite Crater curriculum is a free inquiry-based 10-day curriculum that takes middle school students from observers to experimenters to educated participants in the investigation of the scientific processes of impact cratering. The unit culminates with a scientific and historical narrative of how Barringer Meteorite Crater in Arizona was identified.

Feeling the Heat Activity
In UCAR's activity, students learn about the urban heat island effect by investigating which areas of their schoolyard have higher temperatures, then analyze data about the number of heat waves in an urban area. For grades 6-12.

The Universe in the Classroom
A new edition of The Universe in the Classroom is now available on the ASP website. "Recent Lunar Science Discoveries and an Opportunity to Celebrate Them" describes how you can get involved in International Observe the Moon Night, and how recent NASA missions have changed the way we view our nearest celestial neighbor. Past articles are also available.

Online Resources for Earth Science Week
Supporting the Earth Science Week 2016 theme of "Our Shared Geoheritage," this new page links educators and students to recommended resources including downloadable reports, articles, blogs, geoheritage locations, and learning activities.

Earth Science Week Toolkits
AGI puts together a toolkit for educators every year; this year's theme is "Our Shared Geoheritage." Toolkits include a calendar, posters, DVDs, and more.

NASA's "Science WOW!" newsletter
NASA has a new science education newsletter. Science starts with a question, and so will "Science WOW!" Each week's message will kick off with a science question and a link to where you can find the answer. "Science WOW!" will also highlight an awesome science education tool each week.

Middle School Earth and Space Science Resources
Check out the resources LPI's STEP program has assembled for activities and presentations for over a dozen middle school Earth and space science topics.


Planet in Habitable Zone around Nearest Star
Astronomers have found a planet a little more massive than Earth orbiting the closest star to our solar system, Proxima Centauri. It has a temperature suitable for liquid water on its surface, and may be the closes possible planet for life outside of our solar system.

Mystery of Ceres Missing Craters
The Dawn mission studying the dwarf planet Ceres has mapped small craters but shows Ceres is missing the expected large craters for an object its size. Scientists suspect that Ceres' icy layers may contain salts that have smoothed out its features over time, or perhaps icy volcanism may have buried older craters.

New Gullies on Mars Not from Liquid Water
New findings using data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show that gullies on modern Mars are likely not being formed by flowing liquid water. There data show no evidence of the minerals that would form from liquid water present in these cullies; they may be formed from freezing and thawing carbon dioxide frost instead.

Enceladus' Ice Crust Thinner than Expected
A new study indicates that the shell of ice around Enceladus is thinner than previously believed, particularly at its poles. It may be as thin as 1 mile, making it the thinnest known ice shell of the ocean-covered moons. This makes the ocean of water more accessible, for future exploration.

News and Events

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