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Jan. 24, 2002

John Bluck

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-5026 or 650/604-9000

jbluck@mail.arc.nasa.gov



RELEASE: 02-08AR

NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: You are invited to attend "JASON Project XIII: Frozen Worlds," a series of live, one-hour satellite telecasts Jan. 28 through Feb. 8, in the main auditorium, Bldg. N-201 at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. Hands-on student activities also will take place in historic Hangar 1. Each day, broadcasts start at 7:00 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., PST. There will be no JASON activities at Ames on Feb. 2 and 3. To reach Ames, take the Moffett Field exit off Highway 101, and drive east to the main gate. Journalists should report to the Visitor Badging office for vehicle passes and directions to the main auditorium and Hangar 1. U.S. media representatives must present valid press credentials or photo ID to enter Ames.

10,000 STUDENTS TO ATTEND ‘FROZEN WORLDS’ PROJECT AT NASA AMES

Some 10,000 students from the greater San Francisco Bay area will interact via satellite with scientists in Alaska during 50 telecasts Jan. 28 - Feb. 8 at NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley.

During the broadcasts, local students from grades 3 to 12 can talk live by satellite with scientists and students in polar regions who are studying geology, climate change, native cultures, plants, animals and even the bacteria of some of Earth's colder places. These investigations are part of "JASON Project XIII: Frozen Worlds." Organizers intend to show students connections between science concepts and real-world problems. Students also will take part in many hands-on educational activities in historic Hangar 1 at Ames.

"In JASON, neither the teachers nor the students have the answers, and young people and educators must find them together," said science teacher John Colombero, Ames’ JASON Project coordinator. "This is how real research is accomplished." The JASON Foundation, named in the spirit of the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts, is a non-profit educational organization with headquarters in Needham, Mass. NASA is one of many sponsors of JASON activities each year that benefit students in the U.S. and abroad.

Each year the JASON Project focuses on an exotic theme and locations during the school year to excite and engage students in science and technology. After studying a unique environment for months, millions of students are able to view and, in some cases, to interact live in real time with researchers on the expedition site from primary interactive network sites. Ames is one of 33 JASON primary interactive network sites located across the United States, Canada, Bermuda and Europe.

This year students will be able to chat with ‘Argonauts’ on location in Alaska. Argonauts are students and teachers selected by the JASON Project to travel to JASON expedition sites.

"The JASON broadcasts offer students opportunities to see their peers take part in real research as it actually happens," said Thomas Clausen, education officer at Ames. Eight educators are accompanying a team of researchers and 25 student Argonauts from around the world on the scientific journey to Alaska.

"They are examining the geologic nature of these locations as well as many other things affecting the regions," Colombero said. "How is the climate changing? How is the ice pack being affected by climate change? What effect does pollution have on the polar environment? Students study the native peoples of Alaska and how their culture is affected by environmental changes taking place. We will examine the plants, animals and even the plankton and bacteria of these cold places."

"The teachers and students participating in JASON have been preparing for their visit to Ames since last fall," Clausen said. Local teachers who take part in JASON were required to attend a one-day class taught by scientists and local educators. Teachers received a 250-page curriculum, videotapes, compact discs, posters, maps and access to JASON Online. Using the educational materials and on-line activities, teachers prepared their students for the hour-long, live JASON broadcasts. The Internet site at http://www.jasonproject.org includes ‘chat sessions’ with scientists, a digital lab that provides experiments students can do on-line and other information. Teachers even can manage their students' class work with the JASON website.

In addition to almost 10,000 students from more than 100 schools, Ames will host at least 1,800 adults and teachers for the JASON activities. More than 2,700 of the students and 75 teachers are from 41 San Jose schools with a concentration of diverse and under served student populations. The city of San Jose’s Healthy Neighborhoods Venture Fund provided grant money that enabled under served San Jose schools to bus students and teachers to JASON activities at Ames.

The NASA Ames JASON Project and the Resource Area For Teachers (RAFT), San Jose, Calif., collaborated to apply for the Healthy Neighborhoods fund that also paid for teacher trainers. Additionally, RAFT provided supplies for 'JASON City' activities for students in Hangar 1. A major part of RAFT's mission is to donate computers and hands-on materials to Bay Area schools and community groups at low cost. RAFT’s website is at: http://www.raft.net

Following each broadcast, students will go to Hangar 1 to take part in hands-on JASON City activities designed to spark student interest in science and engineering. Volunteer scientists and science organizations will conduct the activities. They are mostly academic, but many of them are fun, too, according to Colombero. "We’re going to do liquid nitrogen demonstrations, freezing balls and plants and then smashing them into a ‘gazillion’ pieces," he said. "We also have a make-a-walrus activity. The students will dress their teachers in walrus parts for a ‘photo-op.’"

Organizers will provide a tall, walk-in freezer as large as a huge truck. "Kids will get a chance to ‘chill out’ in the huge freezer," said Clausen. Programs in Hangar 1will repeat daily during JASON from 9:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. PST.

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