Scientist for a Day challenges students in grades 5–12 to think like NASA scientists. Students examine real spacecraft images of Uranus’s moon Miranda, Neptune’s moon Triton, and Pluto’s moon Charon. First they choose the destination they think would be the best place to return to with another spacecraft in order to learn more about these amazing worlds. Then they support their choice in an essay of no more than 500 words. Essay writers will be divided into three groups: grades 5 and 6, grades 7 and 8, and grades 9 to 12. Teachers can use the contest as a writing assignment in English or science classes. The assignment involves both inquiry-based learning and problem-based learning. The essay contest meets various US national standards set by the National Council of Teachers of English/International Literacy Association, and the National Research Council. It also addresses topics covered in the Next Generation Science Standards. The essays of winning students will be published on NASA’s Solar System Exploration website. Winning students and their classes will participate in a teleconference or videoconference with NASA scientists and/or engineers. All participating students will receive a certificate with the images of the three moons they studied. The 2019–2020 essay contest is sponsored by the Radioisotope Power Systems program at NASA, the group that develops the power technology that enables spacecraft to explore the planets and moons of the outer solar system. Essay entries must be received by February 20, 2020, at 5 p.m. (PT). The tele/videoconference with NASA scientists will take place in May 2020.
Each month we publish blogs and several newsletters full of digital learning, funding, professional growth, social media, and STEM resources. Below are items from our blogs and newsletters that educators turned to the most in May.
The Virtual Koshland Science Museum, now part of the National Academy of Sciences’LabX program for students, offers a beautiful interactive feature on the anatomy of the human brain. LabX also presents a collection of online experiences.