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Oct. 30, 1997

Release: 97-39

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Hawaii teachers will take on two fascinating subjects next month during special NASA educator workshops on Kauai, Hawaii. The education events are sponsored by the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. Their mission? To learn more about planet Earth and to visit Dryden's Pathfinder aircraft.

The Pathfinder solar-electric flying wing, part of NASA's Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology program, currently is at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) at Barking Sands, for a series of flight-research missions.

Dryden educators will put teachers in the classroom as students. The teachers then will embark on a "Mission to Planet Earth" as they learn new ways to incorporate hands-on and minds-on Earth science activities into their classrooms.

Dryden is encouraging teachers from all the islands to bring their classes to the open house Nov. 7 for Pathfinder. According to NASA Dryden's Educator Resource Center Manager Michelle Rademacher teachers from other islands who attended the NASA workshops in May are expected to participate and approximately 1,000 schoolchildren are expected for the open house.

Thirty teachers are expected to take part in each Mission to Planet Earth Remote Sensing workshop. The workshops, geared toward educators who teach grades kindergarten through eight, is the second in a series of workshops that have taken place in Hawaii this year. The first workshops were held in May.

Dryden's Aerospace Education Specialist Michelle Davis and Rademacher will conduct the workshops. "We're working with teachers on how to use NASA educational material in relation to Pathfinder," Davis said. Activities include designing a research aircraft mission for the classroom and building a model aircraft.

Other topics include atmospheric impacts of volcanoes, cloud-radiation effects, the greenhouse effect, vegetation and hydrology, ocean processes and sea-level change.

"Basically, what we are doing in the workshops is hands-on activities such as identifying satellite parts. We do activities such as making satellites, and then we talk about how Earth-sensing equipment on satellites are similar to those on the Pathfinder aircraft," Rademacher said. "We also conduct activities on what Pathfinder is observing on Earth."

The one-day workshops are geared toward math, science and general-studies teachers.

Teachers also will learn what is available to them through NASA's Educator Resource Centers and will receive an introduction to on-line educational resources and curriculum materials, video, posters and CD ROMS as well.

The Mission to Planet Earth program captures NASA's spirit of exploration and focuses it back on the Earth. NASA and its interagency and international partners are striving to discover patterns in climate that will allow scientists to predict and respond to environmental events -- like floods and severe winters -- well in advance of their occurrence. Nations, regions and individuals then can use that knowledge to prepare for those events, likely saving countless lives and resources.

Rademacher said the teachers" enthusiasm after the May workshops has been enormously rewarding. "We do evaluations at the end of the workshops, and we have received nothing but excellent responses," Rademacher said. "The teachers think it's great that NASA is out there so prominently in the world of education."

The November educator workshop schedule is as follows: ... Bishop Museum, Nov. 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI, (808) 848-4102 ... Eastside Kapa'a Elementary School Library, Nov. 3 and 4 from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. both days, 4886 Kawaihau Road, Kapa'a, HI, (808) 821-6838. ... Westside 'Ele'ele School computer lab, Nov. 5 and 6 from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. both days, 4750 Uliuli St., 'Ele'ele, HI, (808) 335-5214

Dryden also will conduct a workshop on Nov. 8 at PMRF for Justin Mew, the Hawaii State Science Education Specialist, and other state educators. The group also will take a tour of Pathfinder.


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