Maine Science

Newsletter of the Maine Science Teachers Association
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April 2007

Hello, It is hard to believe that spring, yes spring, is on our doorstep. This has certainly been an interesting winter with warm temperatures in January and cold temperatures in March. . . perhaps there is something to this global warming J I hope each of you has had a good winter and ready for the return of good weather, even though it means the students start to get restless.

President’s Letter

features that will be available to members only. New information will be found regularly on the website. Stay tuned for more information. Don’t miss the unveiling at the MSTA conference in October. Another date to mark on your calendar is the National Science Teachers Convention is being held in Boston in the spring of ’08. Start to put a bug in the ear of your administrator for possible funding.

I would like to congratulate Page Keeley, MSTA Past President, on her recent election as NSTA’s President Elect. We have great people in Maine. Page and her work at the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance certainly have made a difference for science teachers in Maine and the work has been spreading nationwide. As a result of her election we hope the saying, “As Maine goes, so goes the country” will once again hold true. Wouldn’t it be something to see Maine teacher leaders as role models for the nation?

Have a great spring and a good close to your school year. Don’t forget to send in your Presenter form for the conference – I, for one, am dying to hear about the fabulous work in your classroom.

The annual conference is going back to the date that we have Mary Whitten had for years. Our effort to find a date and place that would MSTA President provide an opportunity for a greater number of teachers to attend did not make much of a difference. So the fall conference is Friday, October 5th at Gardiner Area High School. Put that date on your calendars. A call for presenters Inside this issue: is out and presenter registration is due by June 30th . As stated MSTA and Maine State News........... 1 - 7 earlier, teachers in Maine are doing great work. Share your work with others. Consider presenting at the conference. Not NSTA and Other National News ...... 8 - 10 work with others. Consider presenting at the conference. Not Professional Development............... 11 - 14 only is it a great opportunity to share your work, but also Teacher & Student Resources......... 15 – 22 your registration and MSTA membership is FREE. Forms & Questionnaires.................. 23 - 29 The MSTA Board of Directors has been busy working on a new look for our website. We have been brainstorming, not easy to do on a Friday afternoon, ideas that would make the site a more useful tool for MSTA members. The new look will be unveiled at the fall conference. There will be


Please send any email address changes to your editor, Laurette Darling at

Keeley to Serve as NSTA President!
and the 3rd consecutive woman to hold the position of President. Page’s three-year term in the NSTA Presidential Chain begins in June 2007. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) announced that Page Keeley has been elected and will serve as the 63rd President of the organization. Page is the first person from Maine to serve as NSTA President, will be the 16th woman, Page has been involved with science education leadership for over 20 years. A former middle and high school teacher, Page served on the Maine Science Teachers Association’s board and twice as the President 1993-1996 and 2004-5, and served as NSTA District II Director from 1995-1998 including two years on the NSTA Executive Board of Directors. Presently, Page is the Senior Science Specialist at the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance and works with science educators throughout the state of Maine, New England, and nationally. Ms. Keeley resides in Jefferson with her husband David. Congratulations Page!

Meet Me in St. Louis! Maine eMSS Teachers Attend NSTA 2007 Annual Conference
The National Science Teachers Association Annual Conference was held in St. Louis in March 2007. A number of Maine teachers attended the conference, including ten teachers that are part of an online mentoring program called e-Mentoring for Student Success (eMSS). The eMSS program is an NSFproject of the New Teacher Center at the University of California Santa Cruz in partnership with Montana State University and the National Science Teachers Association. Maine is in its second year with the project and has middle and high school teachers participating. Novice middle and high school teachers are paired with veteran teachers and work together through a variety of activities in an online environment. Through the sponsorship of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance’s NNECN (Northern New England Co-Mentoring Network) Center, eMSS online partners could apply for financial assistance to attend the national conference. “We’ve learned through our work with the NNECN project that attending a ‘shared conference’ is an invaluable experie nce,” stated Lynn Farrin, eMSS and NNECN Maine Coordinator. “We were able to bring this experience to a few more novice and veteran teachers this year and we were not disappointed.” Farrin reported that several teachers remarked that this was one of the best professional development opportunities they have had- not only because of the types of sessions a national conference offers but because they had the chance to experience and process what they were learning together. When asked what the most valuable part of the conference was, one participant remarked, “The most valuable part has actually been meeting face to face with other mentees and mentors in the program. The conversations have been great and supportive. I have met people that I feel I can contact in the future if I have questions or just want to talk about what is happening in school.” Another noted, “Meeting with my eMSS partner has been great! He already has the courage to ask the hard questions and is emerging as a leader in his school. We had great conversations about (the sessions we attended) and what these mean for students.” Next year’s NSTA national conference will be held in Boston in March of 2008. Make your plans early to attend!


e-Mentoring for Student Success (eMSS) participants meet for an early morning breakfast to discuss and co-plan their conference itinerary for the day at NSTA’s National Conference in St. Louis.

MMSA Offers Summer Science Companion Trainings
The Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance will be offering several one-day kit trainings and halfday “mini-module” trainings throughout the summer. Science Companion is an inquiry-based elementary (K-6) science kit program with strong language literacy components, such as science notebooks and science talk. Science Companion was created by the Chicago Science Group, developers of the Everyday Mathematics Program. Each one-day or half-day focuses on a particular Science Companion module and allows teachers to experience several of the lessons from the program. For a complete listing and full description of the Science Companion modules being offered or to register, visit the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance’s Calendar of Events page at or call Lynn Farrin or Nancy Chesley at 287-3776. Full-day kit trainings $75 per person and half-day mini-module trainings are $50 per person. Science Companion 1-Day Kit Trainings 9 am – 3 pm) July 17 Motion (Level 1) July 25 Sound (Level 2) August 2 Light (Level 3) July 18 Matter (Level 4) August 8 Energy (Level 5) August 6 Solar System (Level 3) July 24 Watery Earth (Level 4) August 9 Nature’s Recyclers (Level 3) Mini-Modules (9 am – 12 noon) July 11 Solids, Liquids, Gases (Level 1-3) July 12 Magnets (Levels 1-3) July 13 Electrical Circuits (Level 3-5)


Literacy Corner MSTA Book Reviews
Chrysais, Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis By Kim Todd For adult readers This book is about the life of Marin Syblla Merian, artist and naturalist who traveled to South America 300 years ago to investigate insect metamorphosis. At the time of her journey, many of her peers still believed insects generated spontaneously. Awardwinning science writer Kim Todd retraced Merian’s steps, from her childhood as a printer’s daughter to her field work among the blue morpho butterflies in Surinam. Marvelous Mattie by Emily McNulty This is the story of Margaret Knight of York, ME and her insatiable desire to design and build when, s a young girl, she inherits her father’s tool box. The author illustrates how Mattie developed her skills as a youth, overcame the loss of her father, poverty, millwork, and discrimination to become a respected inventor and businesswoman. A great connection to the scientific design process.
Nancy Chesley, MMSA Grade K-5 Elementary Science and Literacy Specialist

Maine Learning Results Review Update - April 2007
On January 30, 2007 the Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs was briefed on the Maine Learning Results Review. Although no date has been set for the Committee to discuss LD 1821 (Maine Department of Education Regulation 131 The Maine Federal, State and Local Accountability Standards) it seems likely that the bill will be brought to the Committee sometime after the week of April vacation. Maine Department of Education Regulation 131 - The Maine Federal, State and Local Accountability Standards contains only the standards and performance indicators for mathematics, reading, and a portion of science and technology (The Physical Setting and Living Environment). These would become our content standards for federal accountability. Please keep in mind that the current Maine Learning Results rule must be repealed and replaced with Maine Department of Education Regulation 131 - The Maine Federal, State and Local Accountability Standards before the more comprehensive 2007 revised Maine Learning Results: Parameters for Essential Instruction and Graduation Requirements can be formalized. More information about this will be shared as it becomes available. The Maine Department of Education has received numerous emails and phone messages from curriculum leaders, principals, and teachers who want to know when the proposed revised Maine Learning Results (MLR) will be adopted and how to progress with implementation. It is important for all

educators to remember that the 1997 MLR are the State’s current legislated standards and will be the standards to which the State will align large scale statewide assessment through the 2007-2008 school year. Pending adoption of the proposed revised MRL the State will align large scale statewide assessment to the proposed revised MLR starting in 2008-2009. While we are waiting there is much that schools can do to prepare for the adoption of the proposed revised MLR. Many schools are using the online drafts of the proposed revised MLR and the Crosswalks to understand which aspects of their current programming would need to be adjusted to be aligned to the proposed revised standards; and they are identifying the impacts of these changes and outlining a plan for the change. All of these steps help to inform educators about the proposed standards and to prepare the schools for the curricular adjustments. For further information contact, Anita Bernhardt Maine Department of Education 23 State House Station Augusta, Maine 04333 (207) 624-6835

Several current and alumni NES teachers presented at NSTA’s Annual Conference in St. Louis. These teachers shared educational activities or programs that they have developed to engage students and improve learning. Among the teachers who were partially funded by NES to present were Shara Fata (Joyce Kilmer ES), Barbara Fortier (Biddeford MS), Josephine Corder and Lynn McDaniel (Stewart Magnet MS), Cathy Williamson (Shreveport), Tara Clopper and Heather Slatoff (Greencastle-Antrim MS and HS), and Dava Powell (Baker School System). Congratulations to all presenters for a job well done.

Flying into space on LaunchQuest’s second rocket launch on April 28th will be dozens of student experiments from elementary schools to high schools to universities. This will include experiments from eight NES schools and three NES-Dutch partner schools -- as well as some incredibly innovative commercial payloads. Star Trek's "Scotty" James Doohan and NASA astronaut and pioneer Gordon Cooper will return to the "final frontier" when their cremated remains will be launched from New Mexico's Spaceport America. NES schools with experiments onboard are: Biddeford Middle School, Johnson Elementary School, Marcelino Canino Canino Middle School, Nikiski North Star Elementary School, Oliver Hazard Perry Middle School, Sterling Elementary School, Wendover Junior/Senior High School, and West Ward Elementary School. It looks like the BMS NASA teachers and students have been busy and successful. Congratulations!! W. Tad Johnston Mathematics Specialist, Acting Science and Technology Specialist & Regional Representative Maine Department of Education 23 State House Station Augusta, Maine 04333-0023 (207) 624-6829 FAX (207) 624-6821

News from the Maine and US Science Education Scenes
Much is “up in the air” in Augusta as the legislature works through a “larger than usual” number of education related bills. The Maine Department of Education is busy with day-to-day operations and supplying information when requested to legislators as they continue their deliberations. Anita Bernhardt provides an update on the Proposed Revised Maine Learning Results in this issue of the Newsletter. Most of the work on regulations can not begin until bills are passed. For examples revisions to Chapter 127 (which includes graduation requirements) will not be proposed this year because the work on 127 will not be started until the authorizing legislation is passed. I try to pass along information to the “maine-science” listserv as it becomes available. I suggest that you go to and sign up if you are not already on the list. In late March I attended the Annual Meeting of the Council of State Science Supervisors (affectionately known as “CS cubed”) as Maine’s Acting Science and Technology Specialist. I thought people might be interested in some of what went on there. First, it was good to be from Maine. Tom Keller,

Maine’s previous Science Specialist, is still remembered fondly and with great respect by his former national colleagues. I wore a Hawaiian shirt one day in his honor and good many of his fans came up and told me favorite Tom stories. Page Keeley (who I insisted be introduced as “Maine’s own Page Keeley) presented an excellent introduction to her book, Science Curriculum Topic Study, for the “Cubers”. The National Research Council has just published Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8. This is a major document that should help improve science education over the next few years. It includes summaries of massive amounts of research and implications for science teaching. The whole document is online (page by page) at I heartily recommend the executive summary which is only about 6 pages long. A “highlights” version (all the main ideas with much less detail) will be available in the fall. There was much discussion at the meeting about science and NCLB, especially because in 2008 science must be tested in at least on grade in each of the

elementary, middle and high school spans. Science testing (current law) will not count for AYP, but scores must be reported. The law, however, is due to be reauthorized in 2007. While many states reported concern that less science was being taught because of the AYP focus on reading and mathematics, science specialists were concerned that states lacked the capacity to add more science testing and some were concerned that the “science” (body of facts, ideas and concepts) that was measurable on the tests they could afford was not the “science” (knowledge, behavior and processes) that students really need. There was also concern that “high stakes” rather than “report only” testing might complicate state efforts. There was not agreement across the states. Some people felt that science should count for AYP and science should be tested every year. Some people wanted the federal government out of science accountability. There are several acts before Congress this year that include major changes for science education. Senator Kennedy’s States Using Collaboration and Coordination to Enhance Standards for Students Act (SUCCESS) would create voluntary alignment of state standards with national standards. The Standards to

Provide Educational Achievement for Kids Act (SPEAK) proposed by Chris Dodd increases the frequency of NAEP science testing and make it mandatory for states receiving school improvement funds. This act also calls for incentives for voluntary adoption of national science standards. The America COMPETES Act would increase National Science Foundation funding from $6.8 billion in FY 2008 to 11.2 billion in FY 2011. It would also increase funding for the education efforts of NASA, NOAA and the Department of Energy. A Republican bill is the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (A-PLUS) Act. This bill would provide much more flexibility to states on how they use federal funding for education and allows states to develop other models for accountability and not require the use of the current AYP model. As a science teacher, you are an expert in science education and students. Let legislators (and their staffs) at the national and state levels know what you think as they work to create laws that will affect you, your students and all our futures. Tad Johnston

National Semiconductor Awards $100,000 to Schools, Teachers for Hands -On Science Ideas
-- Science in Action Grants Recognize Plans to Enhance Science Learning In February, National Semiconductor Corporation presented $100,000 in grants to 21 schools and teachers/teaching teams recognizing their creative ideas for enhancing curriculum through hands-on science projects. Through its charitable foundation, National presented the awards to schools and teachers in Calif., Maine and Texas, U.S. locations where the company has a major presence. National provided each teacher’s project with a cash award to purchase whatever was necessary –e.g. water testing kits, soil materials and forensic kits-- to implement his/her winning idea. National presented the grants through its Science in Action initiative, a program developed in 2005 to encourage inquiry-based science projects in the classroom. When students develop hypotheses, create their own experiments and then record and present their findings, it helps them better absorb information. An independent panel of judges, experts in education technology, reviewed the Science in Action applications and selected the winners. The winning Maine teachers and their projects are: • Chris Hill, Shirley Willis and Alice Barr from Yarmouth High in Yarmouth: “A Photographic Environmental Journal” Ann Hemming from Bath Middle in Bath: “Cirque de Solar” Michelle Miclette and Marianne Anthony from Boothbay Region Elementary in Boothbay Harbor: “Plants Aplenty” Laurette Darling and Donna Richardson from Albert S. Hall in Waterville: “Science Inquiry Cart” Monica Wright and Steve Richard from Bath Middle in Bath: “Solar Power” Peter Hill from King Middle in Portland: “Solving the Probe-Lem”

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Congratulations to all the Maine winners! If you are interested in applying for the 20072008 grants, please visit the National Semiconductor website at The deadline is October 11, 2007.


his teaching career. George has taught for 35 years and his student know him best for his cartoons, his dry sense of humor, smile, sincerity, honesty, hard work. As MSTA Treasurer for the past fifteen years, George, who inherited the Association’s records in a shoe box, has written countless checks and he has one of the Board’s best attendance records. Although some thought the things George would miss most about teaching would be homeroom/ checking passes, the vacations with nothing to do, the money(?) and the smell of newly waxed floors), George said the staff would be what he will miss most about teaching. The Maine Science Teachers Association would like to thank George Powers for many years as our treasurer and conference registrar. George is retiring from teaching at Old Town High School this spring and will be moving to North Carolina. We thank Jon Swan for taking over as treasurer in the interim. The MSTA Board honored George at their last meeting and collected a few ‘factoids’ about him and The MSTA board presented George with several going away gifts among which was with a supply of cardboard bankers boxes, to replenish the boxes he’d been providing over the years Join us at the fall conference to say good-bye to George.

Project Learning Tree Events of Note
June 19 and June 20, 2007 from 8:30 to 2:30 MSAD 75 in Topsham will host two Project Learning preK-8 workshops for SAD 75 and Brunswick teachers Connecting Service and Learning with academic benefits LOCATION: The Ecology Center at the Highlands ( ) WHO: K-8 SAD 75 and Brunswick teachers interested in service learning professional development PLT facilitates learning through problem solving and the exploration of issues to help students gain an awareness and understanding of their environment while encouraging responsible decision making, stewardship and action. PLT trained workshop facilitators include a teacher, a natural resource specialist and a community leader. On June 20, SAD 75 will host a follow up session for June 19 workshop participants to come together with community leaders and natural resource experts to reflect, assess, form partnerships and plan cooperatively for potential community based learning opportunities. For information and to register contact Terry Hanna, MSAD 75 at 729-9961 Pre registration for all workshops is required. Send a $25 check (or amount otherwise specified) to Maine TREE Foundation and note your workshop date on the check. Mail to Pat Maloney, Maine Project Learning Tree, 153 Hospital St., Augusta, Maine 04332

News from Our NSTA Representative
The national conference in St. Louis provided all its attendees with a powerful opportunity for professional development. For me the trip was busy, productive and rejuvenating. While there I attended a Professional Development Institute on developing field guides with students. Little did I know that the April/May issue of Science and Children would supplement my new learning. There is an article called “A Natural Integration” about students created field guides. I am on the Preschool/Elementary committee and our focus is the needs of that population. A few issues have come up repeatedly and those are the ones we are addressing first. One of the issues that we are consistently hearing is that there is not enough offered to the elementary teachers at the conferences, especially the PreK2 teachers. We are actively working to change that but we also need you. I am convinced, no I know, that there are amazing science teachers in this district. We need you to come forward and share the excellent science that is happening in your classrooms. A specific action that has been taken is that the CESI group, the Council of Elementary Science International, is planning a mini conference in Boston on Wednesday before the national conference begins especially for early childhood teachers. By the way I highly recommend CESI organization to elementary teachers. It has a great award for elementary science teachers and an award for a principal who is supportive of elementary science. This is the end of my first year as District Director. I have had a good year and hope to have an even better experience next year. My goal is to attend all the state conferences in the district, and to offer my services to science teachers. I am here as your liaison to the national organization. I want to be your voice. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with your ideas, concerns, etc. Kathy Renfrew Peacham Elementary School Box 271 Peacham, VT 05821 802-592-3513 (W) 802-633-3026 (H)


Professor Starr
Professor Starr is an astronomer who has always been most curious about the asteroids. But he has no idea how to design a spacecraft and a mission that would let him explore them. Find out how the good professor finally gets his dream mission. Go to The Space Place web site at, and read the whimsical, rhyming story of "Professor Starr's Dream Trip: Or, how a little technology goes a long way." You'll be able to page through the storybook just as if it were made of real paper! (Or you can use the standard pdf version to print it out.) Nancy Leon Education and Public Outreach Lead NASA New Millennium Program/Space Place NASA/JPL 4800 Oak Grove Drive Mailstop 301-235 Pasadena, CA 91109 (818) 354-1067

41st Annual Conference of the New England Environmental Education Association (NEEEA)
“Building Bridges: Creating Change for a Common Good” September 14 to 16, 2007 ~ Friday Afternoon to Sunday Lunch Beautiful Camp Matoaka on the Lake in Smithfield, Maine This conference is open to all who educate for a better future and a healthier planet! Keynote Speaker: Alisa Gravitz, Executive Director, Co-op America Hosted by the Maine Environmental Education Association (MEEA) See for more information Now accepting workshop proposals! If you have any other questions, please contact: Drew Dumsch, Executive Director Ferry Beach Ecology School Saco, Maine ph: 207.283.9951

Black Hole Podcast
"Dark, scary, and very, very hungry" is the picture most people imagine when they think of a black hole. "Black hole" and "sucked into" seem always to belong in the same sentence. But the latest Space Place Podcast interview with a NASA astrophysicist lays most of these fears to rest. Answering the question "If the Sun were a black hole, would Earth get pulled inside,?" Dr. Marc Rayman explains what black holes are, how they form, how common they are, and how we can learn more about them. Go to to subscribe to these Podcasts. Or listen now to this and the previous Podcasts on your computer or read the transcripts.

Jim Chandler Named 2007 National Outstanding Educator of the Year by Project Learning Tree Jim Chandler has been chosen as one of five environmental educators selected nationally to receive the 2007 National Outstanding Educator Award. He will receive his award at the Project Learning Tree 21st International Coordinators’ Conference in Wichita, KS. Jim has been involved in environmental education for over 30 years as currently serves as a consulting teacher in science with the Auburn School Department. Among many projects, Jim stared the Envirothon project in 1989 and has close to 80 teams participating each year. He is an active board member with the Maine Environmental Education Association and has conducted workshops to show how environmental education can be used to achieve the MLR. MSTA joins Maine Project Learning Tree in congratulating Jim on his award.


NSTA Awards and Recognitions
The application deadline for 2008 Toyota TAPESTRY Grants is January 28, 2008 Please visit the NSTA website in August 2007 for information on applying for 2007
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2007 NSTA Awards Visit to read a description of the awards offered through NSTA . • Ciba Specialty Chemicals Exemplary Middle Level and High School Science Teaching Award • DCAT “Making a Difference” Award • Delta Education/Frey-Neo/CPO Science Education Awards for Inquiry-based Science Teaching • Distinguished Informal Science Education Award • Sylvia Shugrue Award for Elementary School Teachers • Vernier Technology Awards • VSP Vision of Science Award

Distinguished Service to Science Education Awards Distinguished Teaching Awards Faraday Science Communicator Award Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for New Teachers NSTA Distinguished Fellow Award NSTA Legacy Award Robert H. Carleton Award SeaWorld/Busch Gardens Environmental Educator of the Year Shell Science Teaching Award

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
This program allows teachers to be recognized and awarded for their outstanding teaching in mathematics or science. It also provides teachers with an opportunity to join a network of award winning teachers who are building a lasting partnership with colleagues across the nation. Recepients of the award receive:
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A citation signed by the President of the United States A paid trip for two to Washington, D.C. to attend a week-lomg series of recognition events and professional development opportunities. A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

Applications for elementary teachers (K-6) will be due by May 1, 2008. To nominate an outstanding teacher, visit or contact Tad Johnston at for further information


AAAS Project 2061 Science Assessment Study Online Registration for Spring 2007 Field Test
AAAS Project 2061 is developing assessment items to measure middle school students' understanding of important science ideas from the National Science Education Standards and the AAAS Benchmarks for Science Literacy. We are recruiting approximately 100 middle school science teachers willing to field test our multiple-choice test items with their students in May or June of 2007. Students must be in 6th through 8th grade, but it is not necessary that they have had formal instruction on the topic being tested. As an incentive, each participating teacher will receive a copy of Volume 2 of the Atlas of Science Literacy or a $50 gift card from Borders or Barnes and Noble. The assessment should take no longer than 45 minutes to complete. The guidelines for participation are as follows: 1. You must be a middle school science teacher. 2. Your students must be in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade. 3. You must obtain the necessary permissions from the appropriate school or district personnel. (A copy of a parent permission letter, which includes a description of the project, will be provided for your use if your school or district requires it.) 4. You must complete a short class information sheet after administering the test. 5. You must return all testing materials, whether completed or not, to AAAS Project 2061 within four weeks of receiving the materials.(Pre-paid shipping envelopes will be provided to return the testing materials.)This study is not intended to evaluate teachers or students. Individual student and teacher data will remain strictly confidential. Individual students will not be identifiable. Our only interest is to learn how students respond to these test items so that we can design test items that are valid measures of what middle school students know about important science ideas. If you have any questions about the study, please contact George DeBoer, Deputy Director of AAAS Project 2061 at or at 202-326-6624. If you are willing to participate, please click on the web address below or enter it into your web browser, and complete the registration form that follows. You will be taken to a page that is very similar to this page except that a specific science topic will be indicated. Participation in this study is limited, so registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, while at the same time we will strive for representation from urban, rural, and suburban schools from different parts of the country. Teachers who are selected to participate will be notif ied by email. Project 2061 Science Assessment Study Registration Web Site:

MITS Summer Institute - July 9th-20, 2007
Teachers spend 2 weeks rotating through the New

England Aquarium, Children’s Museum, MIT Museum, and Zoo New England for a review of museum resources and hands-on activities. (Grades K8) This year’s theme: How are you “measuring-up” with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics? Have you ever measured a tree? What measurements are necessary to do an experiment? What is the size of a whale compared to myself? What amounts of blue and yellow paints do I need to get a dark green color? Are the two different species of plants growing at the same rate? What measurements of different ingredients do I need to make ice cream?

Join other teachers for an exciting, learning experience that will enrich your teaching. Teachers will learn how to: Engage their students; Connect the frameworks; Develop inquiry-based, hands-on, minds-on activities; Integrate the inquirybased methodology across their curriculum; and Create memorable learning experiences. To register, visit: Jayshree Oberoi, Teacher Services Supervisor Education Department New England Aquarium Boston, MA, USA- 02110 Tel (617)226 2146 Fax (617)973 0251

2007 Summer Workshops for Faculty in Advanced ROV Building for Classroom Projects near Monterey, California The Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center is announcing our summer institute for 2007- Advanced Remotely Operated Vehicle Building for classroom projects to be held July 23rd30th. Throughout the week, educators will work in teams to design and build their own ROVs to complete a set of predetermined mission tasks. The workshop will start off with a representative from SolidWorks leading a tutorial to design a basic frame for their ROVs. The educators will then learn how to program a basic stamp to control sensors and motors on their ROVs. The participants will test their ROVs in a mini-competition with an International Polar Year focus at the end of the week. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with undersea engineers, ROV pilots, and marine technicians to understand the technology and the work of these marine professionals. Instructors and experts for industry will provide information about ROVs and their uses and will conduct hands-on sessions. In addition to classroom and hands-on learning experiences, field trips around the Monterey Bay area, including a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium are planned. The knowledge provided in this workshop will provide the knowledge and skills to support their students to participate in MATE's regional and National ROV competitions. Educators will also have an opportunity to will also have the opportunity to network with

other educators who have similar interests and to share best teaching practices Are you an educator with an interest in these exciting fields of marine technology? If so, please apply and join MATE for a weeklong hands-on workshop! There is no fee for participating in these institutes. Lunches and some dinners will be provided by the MATE Center as well as hotel accommodations for participants living more than 50 miles from Monterey. For more information, visit the MATE website at titutes.php or contact Lani Clough, MATE Faculty Development Coordinator via e-mail at, or at 831-6464011. Lani Clough Internship, Faculty Development & Otter Bowl Diversity Coordinator Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center Monterey Peninsula College 980 Fremont Street Monterey, CA 93940 ph (831) 646-4011 fax (831) 646-3080 e-mail [ ] MATE website:;

ORONO, ME—University of Maine Cooperative Extension, in partnership with Earthways, the Environmental Education Program of Pemaquid Watershed Association, has published the Maine Apprentice Gardener (MAG) Curriculum, a third and fourth-grade level program that uses hands-on activities to teach concepts in botany, biology, and the environment. The program can be used in its entirety, or individual units can be integrated with a traditional science curriculum. The MAG curriculum is aligned with Maine Learning Results requirements. It is available in print as well as DVD from the UMaine Extension publications distribution center at 800-287-0274 (in Maine) or 207581-3792, or online at (choose “Publications”). It is no secret that American science education is lagging behind that of other countries. The U.S. House of Representatives’ Education and Workforce Committee has investigated ways to improve the quality of K– 12 math and science education in light of increasing international competition. Resulting recommendations include the incorporation of more active learning into K12 education, procurement of good curricula, introduction of science and math education early in elementary classrooms, and practices that make the teaching of these subjects more enjoyable. “Garden-based learning programs such as the MAG curriculum, which are rooted in real-world, project-based learning, bring an experiential element into the classroom that engages students, volunteers and teachers,” explained UMaine Extension Educator—and former high school science teacher—Mark Hutchinson, who served as technical advisor for the curriculum. The evidence that garden-based learning programs can foster learning and a love for science is hard to ignore. A 2005 issue of HortTechnology dedicated to youth in horticulture reported on studies in Texas and Indiana schools. In Texas, gardening was incorporated into an elementary school science curriculum for an experimental group of students, while the remaining students were taught with traditional classroom-based methods. The students in the gardening program scored significantly higher than the other students on science achievement tests. The assessment of Junior Master Gardener programming in Indiana third-grade classrooms found that the informal hands-on learning and outdoor aspect of the program resulted in greater student interest in science and enhanced environmental awareness. UMaine Extension’s MAG curriculum teaches science— plants as food, planting and growing, insects, water, soil, and resource conservation—but also incorporates language, creative arts, and mathematics, and includes a community service component. Students make observations and draw inferences and conclusions, and in the process develop life skills such as cooperation, decision making and communication. The curriculum is a companion to UMaine’s Master Gardener program.

TEACHING SCIENCE BY OCEAN INQUIRY A SUMMER WORKSHOP AT THE DARLING MARINE CENTER JULY 23-27, 2007 The School of Marine Sciences and the College of Education & Human Development at the University of Maine and the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence--Ocean Systems (COSEE-OS, invite applicants for a 5 day summer workshop at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine ( The goals of the workshop are to - a) introduce teachers to ocean and climate related processes that can be used as a vehicle to teach general physical concepts (e.g. density, buoyancy, pressure, heat and temperature, waves), using a variety of hands-on activities, and b) to develop a network between teachers, scientists and experts in education. The workshop is intended for high school and middle school teachers who teach physics, chemistry, physical science, and/or earth sciences. Teachers will work with 13 the program instructors to develop hands-on, inquiry based activities, teaching materials, and means of assessment (to address the Maine Learning Results and National Science Educational Standards). Participants will stay in the waterfront dormitory at the University of Maine's Darling Marine Center, on the Damariscotta River estuary. Costs of lodging, meals, and travel (within Maine) will be fully covered by COSEE-OS (limited funds to assist with out-of-state travel will be available.) Each participant will receive a $500 stipend. For further details and an application download the attached document. Contact Lee Karp-Boss at or Herman Weller at

Now Taking Reservations for Fall Wildlife Programs and Tours at Swan Island, Kennebec River, Richmond May-June, September-October 2007
Swan Island is called an island from another century and the island time forgot. Recently profiled in Down East Magazine, US Airways Magazine, the Kennebec Journal and Portland Press Herald, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, there are 6 homes dating back to 1763 that still stand along the central dirt road. There are 2 cemeteries, 10 log lean-tos, open fields, woods, wetlands and tidal mud flats. Wildlife abounds, from nesting bald eagles, to deer, wild turkeys, beaver, waterfowl, songbirds and more. This is a unique and educational field trip destination; either for a day; or for the more adventurous, an overnight camping trip your students will not forget! Wildlife and conservation education programs are offered on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:00am. Students, teachers and chaperones must be ready to board the Swan Island boat by 9:30am sharp. All food and drink must be packed in, and trash packed out. You will be transported across the river, then in the open rack body pickup truck to the campground. The wildlife programs are held in the boathouse, and can accommodate up to 50 people. Wildlife Program topics include: wetlands, survival, eagles, owls, Life and Death of a Town, big cats, fish, skins and skulls, adaptations and more! After the1 hour program, students and teachers may eat lunch at the campground, take a quick hike on a nature trail, investigate the nearest cemetery, and enjoy the beauty of the Kennebec River. Your group will then be transported back to the boat landing, in time for your bus to make it back to school. The fees for the Wildlife Programs are: $4.00 per person for groups of 15 or more. To make a reservation, please call the Island Reservation Line @ 547-5322. Another program that schools can reserve include guided truck tours of the entire 4-mile long island, with stops at historic and natural sites along the way. Reservations for these truck tours may be pre-arranged by calling the Island reservation line @ 547-5322. All food and drink must be packed in, and trash packed out. Students, teachers and chaperones are brought across the river on the island barge, and then transported in the back of an open rack body pickup truck. After the tour, students and teachers may eat lunch at the campground, take a quick hike on a nature trail, investigate the nearest cemetery, and enjoy the beauty of the Kennebec River. Your group will then be transported back to the boat landing, in time for your bus to make it back to school. Fees for these guided truck tours are: ages 4-12: $3.50; Adults: $5.00. 2007 Financial Aid for Field Trips The Maine Environmental Education Association is offering Transportation Assistance Awards - meant to support classroom and non-traditional educators and their students in the pursuit of field trips to outdoor/environmental sites in Maine. The total amount awarded to a school by MEEA will not exceed $100 per trip. Funds will be awarded on a rolling basis until they are gone. Trips may be partially funded, depending upon number of applications received, and the full completion of trip proposal forms. Priority is given to new applicants. BOTH the field trip applicant and destination organization must be MEEA members. (Maine Wildlife Park/Swan Island/MDIFW IS A MEEA MEMBER!) To become a teacher/member; to download and/or submit the field trip grant form; visit the MEEA web site at: Reserve your trip and get your grant application in early! A trip to Swan Island is a great way to bring a new class together, reunite an existing class, and learn a lot about Maine history and wildlife. Make your reservations now! For the full 2007 schedule, field trip Links to the Learning Results in Science, and for more information, please go to and click on education. Or contact: Lisa J. Kane Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife 284 State Street, SHS #41 Augusta, ME 04333 Phone: 207-287-3303 fax: 207-287-6395


'America's Lab Report' suggests science lab improvements
The National Research Council recently took a hard look at student lab experiences recently and found many places to suggest improvements. The results have been published in a book entitled America's Lab Report, and offer science teachers some insight into what can be done to make laboratory experiences more effective for students. Although some of the study's findings relate to issues beyond the control of individual classroom teachers or even whole districts, the report provides a few concrete ideas to ponder the next time you pull out those goggles or dust off those meter sticks. The quality of lab experiences is poor for most students Although the committee found it quite difficult to pin down a definition of what a "lab" is, the evidence seemed strong that many classroom exercises that fall under the term do not help students as much as they could. As part of its review, the committee looked at curricula and approaches that are taking into account newer findings in cognitive science. This work helped them determine four principal factors possessed by science laboratories that help students learn well. Four elements that improve student science labs The study describes these units, designed with current knowledge of students' cognitive working in mind. These integrated instructional units generally focus on learning of both science content and scientific process, and work to improve students' reasoning skills, interest in science and understanding of the nature of science. The study found that these units are showing success, and linked some of this success to four factors common to these integrated instructional units: Labs are designed with clear learning goals in mind. Effective laboratory experiences have clear learning goals, and take these goals into account as part of their design. These goals are also communicated to students. Labs are thoughtfully sequenced into the flow of classroom science instruction. Effective laboratory experiences link to the material that comes before them and provide links to the material that follows them. The study found that many high school lab experiences were presented as isolated events not connected to other learning. Labs are designed to integrate learning of science content with learning about the processes of science. The most effective lab experiences contain learning about both the processes students must perform to do the science combined with the science content about which they are studying. Labs heavy on procedure or techniques and light on content tend to be ineffective. Labs incorporate ongoing student reflection and discussion. Labs that focus on encouraging student discussion and processing their thinking about the lab exercises are more effective than those that focus on the laboratory activity itself. Effective labs allow students to reflecting on their work and develop explanations. These are just a few examples of the findings from this important report. The full text of the book is online for free reading, and the executive summary may be downloaded and printed out at Chad Dorsey, Maine Mathematics and Scie nce Alliance


NIOSH Publication No. 2007-107: School Chemistry Laboratory Safety Guide November 2006
This publication is a sixty page safety guide for high school science and chemistry laboratories, that provides practical safety information in a checklist format useful to both groups to reduce chemical injuries in a laboratory environment. The guide presents information about ordering, using, storing, and maintaining chemicals in the high school laboratory. The guide also provides information about chemical waste, safety and emergency equipment, assessing chemical hazards, common safety symbols and signs, and fundamental resources relating to chemical safety, such as Material Safety Data Sheets and Chemical Hygiene Plans, to help create a safe environment for learning. In addition, checklists are provided for both teachers and students that highlight important information for working in the laboratory and identify hazards and safe work procedures. This guide is not intended to address all safety issues, but rather to provide basic information about important components of safety in the chemistry laboratory and to serve as a resource to locate further information. You can read or download it from the Consumer Products Safety Commission Website at 107.pdf or from or from the NIOSH website at Maryann E. Suero, Ph.D. ( US EPA Region 5Children's Health Program Manager & Co-Lead, National Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign 77 W. Jackson Blvd. (D-8J) Chicago, IL 60604 Phone (312) 886-9077 Fax (312) 353-3159

Uncovering Student Ideas in Science Vol 2: 25 Formative More Assessment Probes
By: Page Keeley, Francis Eberle, and Joyce Tugel Like the NSTA bestseller that came before it, Volume 2 of Uncovering Student Ideas in Science will reveal the surprising misconceptions students bring to the classroom—so you can adjust your teaching to help students develop a sound understanding of science. The popular features from the first volume are all here. The new probes are short, easy-to-administer and ready to reproduce. The accompanying teacher materials explain science content, note links to national standards and research on learning, and suggest grade-appropriate instructional strategies. Volume 2 includes more life science and Earth and space science probes. New topic areas include

particulate matter, characteristic properties of matter, energy transfer, genetics, adaptation, plants, cell size, rocks, fossils, the day/night cycle, and objects in the night sky. Volume 2 also suggests ways to embed the probes throughout the course of your instruction, not just beforehand. Of course, students aren't the only ones with misconceptions. Many fans of Volume 1 use it in professional development workshops to uncover mistaken beliefs about science among teachers. It has also been used in professional development to look at student work and help teachers increase their awareness of the commonly held ideas their students hold, regardless of grade level. Volume 2 is an equally valuable formative assessment tool, no matter who uses it.

What’s the new news at the Challenger Learning Center of Maine? • We’re anticipating the launch of STS-118 this summer, finally carrying “Teacher in Space” Barbara Morgan. As Christa McAuliffe’s first alternate for the fateful 1986 Challenger launch (STS-51L), Barbara has been awaiting this launch for over 20 years! Pilot for this mission will be Bar Harbor native, Charles Hobaugh. Charlie has promised us he will come speak at the Challenger Center in Bangor sometime next winter, after his flight. In support of this educational mission, NASA will be providing the ERC at the Challenger Center with special mission materials for teachers. Stay tuned for more! • Summer missions are a great way to supplement your summer school program! Pass the word along to your summer school

coordinator and get them to book a mission right away. We see the greatest attitude changes in the students who often struggle in the classroom. A mission could change the life of one of those kids. We’re working on extending our Professional Development program. As we develop workshops (ie. Earth and Space Science, Climate Change, Inquiry, Misconceptions), we’ll let you know about them on the various list-serves and will post them on our web calendar ( We’re also hoping to extend our workshop offerings to in-service professional development days at schools. Call us if you’d like to know more or send an email to Annette Brickley, By mid-May, we will have “flown” 500 missions with Maine students (g. 5-11) since opening March, 2004. As our schedule fills, we’re encouraging schools to select mission dates as soon as the school year starts. Many schools have found a misson early in the fall is a great way to pull classes together, establish good communication skills and teamwork, and create an exciting reference point to reconnect with throughout the year

Even Solar Sails Need a Mast by Patrick L. Barry
Like the explorers of centuries past who set sail for new lands, humans may someday sail across deep space to visit other stars. Only it won't be wind pushing their sails, but the slight pressure of sunlight. Solar sails, as they're called, hold great promise for providing propulsion in space without the need for heavy propellant. But building a solar sail will be hard; to make the most of sunlight's tiny push, the sail must be as large as several football fields, yet

weigh next to nothing. Creating a super-lightweight material for the sail itself is tricky enough, but how do you build a "mast" for that sail that's equally light and strong? Enter SAILMAST, a program to build and test-fly a mast light enough for future solar sails. With support from NASA's In-Space Propulsion Program to mature the technology and perform ground demonstrator tests, SAILMAST's engineers were ready to produce a truss suitable for validation in

technologies so that they can be used reliably for future space exploration. While actually flying to nearby stars is probably decades away, solar sails may come in handy close to home. Engineers are eyeing this technology for "solar sentinels," spacecraft that orbit the Sun to provide early warning of solar flares. Once in space, ST8 will slowly deploy SAILMAST by uncoiling it. The truss consists of three very thin, 40-meter-long rods connected by short crossmembers. The engineers used high-strength graphite for these structural members so that they could make them very thin and light. The key question is how straight SAILMAST will be after it deploys in space. The smaller the curve of the mast the more load it can support. "That's really why we need to fly it in space, to see how straight it is when it's floating weightlessly," McEachen says. It's an important step toward building a sail for the space-mariners of the future. Find out more about SAILMAST at Kids can visit to see how SAILMAST is like a Slinky® toy in space.

space that's 40 meters (about 130 feet) long, yet weighs only 1.4 kilograms (about 3 pounds)! In spite of its light weight, this truss is surprisingly rigid. "It's a revelation when people come in and actually play with one of the demo versions-it's like, whoa, this is really strong!" says Michael McEachen, principal investigator for SAILMAST at ATK Space Systems in Goleta, California. SAILMAST will fly aboard NASA's Space Technology 8 (ST8) mission, scheduled to launch in February 2009. The mission is part of NASA's New Millennium Program, which flight tests cutting-edge

NASA’s Amazing Flyby
Today NASA released stunning new images of Jupiter and its moons taken by the New Horizons spacecraft. Views include a movie of a volcanic eruption on Jupiter's moon Io; a nighttime shot of auroras and lava on Io; a color photo of the "Little Red Spot" churning in Jupiter's cloudtops; images of small moons herding dust and boulders through Jupiter's faint rings--and much more: "We'll be analyzing these data for months to come," says Science Mission Directorate Associate Administrator and New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of NASA Headquarters. "We have collected spectacular scientific products as well as evocative images."
Right: Europa rising over the clouds of Jupiter. The picture was one of a handful of the Jupiter system that New Horizons took primarily for artistic value.

New Horizons came within 1.4 million miles of Jupiter on Feb. 28 in a gravity assist maneuver designed to trim three years off its travel time to Pluto. For several weeks before and after this closest approach, the piano-sized robotic probe trained its seven cameras and sensors on Jupiter and its four largest moons, storing data from nearly 700 observations on its digital recorders and gradually sending that information back to Earth. About 70 percent of the expected 34 gigabits of data has come back so far, radioed to NASA's largest antennas over more than 600 million miles. This activity confirmed the successful testing of the instruments and operating software the spacecraft will use at Pluto. "Aside from setting up our 2015 arrival at Pluto, the Jupiter flyby was a stress test of our spacecraft and team, and both passed with very high marks," adds Stern. A highlight of the flyby was the first close-up color scan of the Little Red Spot:


science team lead from NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. "We've seen similar phenomena in the rings of Saturn." Of Jupiter's four largest moons, the team focused much attention on volcanic Io, the most geologically active body in the solar system. New Horizons' cameras captured pockets of bright, glowing lava scattered across the surface; dozens of small, glowing spots of gas; and several fortuitous views of a sunlit umbrellashaped dust plume rising 200 miles into space from the volcano Tvashtar, the best images yet of a giant eruption from the tortured volcanic moon. The timing and location of the spacecraft's trajectory also allowed it to spy many of the mysterious, circular troughs carved onto the icy moon Europa. Data on the size, depth and distribution of these troughs, discovered by the Jupiter-orbiting Galileo mission, will help scientists determine the thickness of the ice shell that covers Europa's global ocean. Already the fastest spacecraft ever launched, New Horizons reached Jupiter 13 months after lifting off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., in January 2006. The flyby added 9,000 miles per hour, pushing the velocity of New Horizons past 50,000 miles per hour and setting up a flight by Pluto in July 2015. The number of observations at Jupiter was actually twice that of those planned at Pluto. New Horizons made most of these observations during the spacecraft's closest approach to the planet, which was guided by more than 40,000 separate commands in the onboard computer. "We can run simulations and take test images of stars, and learn that things would probably work fine at Pluto," said John Spencer, deputy lead of the New Horizons Jupiter Encounter Science Team, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo. "But having a planet to look at and lots of data to dig into tells us that the spacecraft and team can do all these amazing things. We might not have explored the full capabilities of the spacecraft if we didn't have this real planetary flyby to push the system and get our imaginations going." There's more to come: New Horizons is making an unprecedented flight down Jupiter's long magnetotail, where it will analyze the intensities of sun-charged particles that flow hundreds of millions of miles beyond the giant planet. Stay tuned!

Above: Jupiter's "Little Red Spot." Credit: New Horizons

This storm is about half the size of Jupiter's larger Great Red Spot and about 70 percent of Earth's diameter. It formed in the late 1990s when three smaller storms collided and merged. The combined storm started out white, but began turning red about a year ago. Using New Horizons data, scientists will be able to search for clues about how these great storm systems form and why they change colors. "This is our best look ever at a storm like this in its infancy," said Hal Weaver, New Horizons project scientist from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md. APL built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft. Under a range of lighting and viewing angles, New Horizons also grabbed the clearest images ever of the tenuous Jovian ring system. In them, scientists spotted a series of unexpected arcs and clumps of dust, indicative of a recent impact into the ring by a small object.
Right: Welldefined lanes of gravel- to boulder-sized material in Jupiter's charcoal black rings. Credit: New Horizons.

Movies made from New Horizons images also provide an unprecedented look at ring dynamics, with the tiny inner moons Metis and Adrastea appearing to shepherd the materials around the rings. "We're starting to see that rings can evolve rapidly, with changes detectable during weeks and months," said Jeff Moore, New Horizons Jupiter Encounter


Methane Blast

On January 16, 2007, a dazzling blue flame blasted across the sands of the Mojave desert. In many respects, it looked like an ordinary rocket engine test, but this was different. While most NASA rockets are powered by liquid oxygen and hydrogen or solid chemicals, "we were testing a methane engine," says project manager Terri Tramel of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). Methane (CH 4 ), the principal component of natural gas, is abundant in the outer solar system. It can be harvested from Mars, Titan, Jupiter, and many other planets and moons. With fuel waiting at the destination, a rocket leaving Earth wouldn't have to carry so much propellant, reducing the cost of a mission. Perhaps surprisingly, this flammable gas has never powered a spacecraft before. But now scientists and engineers at Marshall, the Glenn Research Center and the Johnson Space Center are developing LOX/methane engines as an option for the future. "Several efforts are underway, including a rival LOX/methane main engine design by KT Engineering," notes Tramel. "This work is funded by NASA's Exploration Technology Development Program and shows how technologies being developed for exploration may one day assist in future science missions," says Mark D. Klem, manager of the Propulsion and Cryogenics Advanced Development Project at the Glenn Research Center.

"Methane has so many advantages," continues Tramel. "The question is, why haven't we done this before?" Consider the following: Liquid hydrogen fuel used by the space shuttle must be stored at a temperature of 252.9°C—only about 20 degrees above absolute zero! Liquid methane, on the other hand, can be stored at the much warmer and more convenient temperature of 161.6°C. That means methane fuel tanks wouldn't need as much insulation, making them lighter and thus cheaper to launch. The tanks could also be smaller, because liquid methane is denser than liquid hydrogen, again saving money and weight. Methane also gets high marks for human safety. While some rocket fuels are potentially toxic, "methane is what we call a green propellant," Tramel says. "You don't have to put on a HAZMAT suit to handle it like fuels used on many space vehicles." But the key attraction for methane is that it exists or can be made on many worlds that NASA might want to visit someday, including Mars. Although Mars is not rich in methane, methane can be manufactured there via the Sabatier process: Mix some carbon dioxide (CO2 ) with hydrogen (H), then heat the mixture to produce CH4 and H2 0--methane and water. The Martian atmosphere is an abundant source of carbon dioxide, and the relatively small amount of hydrogen required for the process may be brought along from Earth or gathered in situ from Martian ice. Traveling further out in the solar system, methane becomes even easier to come by. On Saturn's moon Titan, it is literally raining liquid methane. Titan is dotted with lakes and rivers of methane and other hydrocarbons that could one day serve as fuel depots.

Imagine, a methane-powered rocket could allow a robotic probe to land on the surface of Titan, gather geological samples, refill its tanks, and blast off to return those samples to Earth. Such a sample-return mission from the outer solar system has never been attempted. The atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune all contain methane, and Pluto has frozen methane ice on its surface. New kinds of missions to these worlds may become possible with methane rockets.

This first series of desert test firings of the 7,500 pound-thrust main engine was a success, but challenges remain before methane rockets will be ready for use in a real mission. "One of the big questions with methane is its ability to ignite," Tramel says. Some rocket fuels ignite spontaneously when mixed with the oxidizer, but methane requires an ignition source. Ignition sources can be hard to make in the outer solar system where planetary temperatures drop to hundreds of degrees below zero. Tramel and her colleagues at Marshall and Glenn are currently working to assure that the rocket will ignite reliably in all conditions.

A Great Big Wreck - by Dr. Tony Phillips
People worry about asteroids. Being hit by a space rock can really ruin your day. But that's nothing. How would you like to be hit by a whole galaxy? It could happen. Astronomers have long known that the Andromeda Galaxy is on a collision course with the Milky Way. In about 3 billion years, the two great star systems will crash together. Earth will be in the middle of the biggest wreck in our part of the Universe. Astronomer John Hibbard isn't worried. "Galaxy collisions aren't so bad," he says. A typical spiral galaxy contains a hundred billion stars, yet when two such behemoths run into each other "very few stars collide. The stars are like pinpricks with lots of space between them. The chance of a direct hit, star vs. star, is very low." Hibbard knows because he studies colliding galaxies, particularly a nearby pair called the Antennae. "The two galaxies of the Antennae system are about the same size and type as Andromeda and the Milky Way." He believes that the Antennae are giving us a preview of what's going to happen to our own galaxy. The Antennae get their name from two vast streamers of stars that resemble the feelers on top of an insect's head. These streamers, called "tidal tails," are created by gravitational forces-one galaxy pulling stars from the other. The tails appear to be scenes of incredible violence. But looks can be deceiving: "Actually, the tails are quiet places," says Hibbard. "They're the peaceful suburbs of the Antennae." He came to this conclusion using data from GALEX, an ultraviolet space telescope launched by NASA in 2003. The true violence of colliding galaxies is star

formation. While individual stars rarely collide, vast interstellar clouds of gas do smash together. These clouds collapse. Gravity pulls the infalling gas into denser knots until, finally, new stars are born. Young stars are difficult to be around. They emit intensely unpleasant radiation and tend to "go supernova." GALEX can pinpoint hot young stars by the UV radiation they emit and, in combination with other data, measure the rate of star birth. "Surprisingly," Hibbard says, "star formation rates are low in the tidal tails, several times lower than what we experience here in the Milky Way." The merging cores of the Antennae, on the other hand, are sizzling with new stars, ready to explode. So what should you do when your galaxy collides? A tip from GALEX: head for the tails. To see more GALEX images, visit

Narrated by Alanis Morissette and Keanu Reeves and filmed in the USA, China, Europe and South America, this compelling film taps into the groundswell of public concern about climate change to present an emotional, accurate picture of our children's planet. It looks at evidence that human activities are provoking an unprecedented era of atmospheric warming and climatic events: more drought, wildfires and flooding, polar melting, more powerful storms and variable weather. Tropical diseases are moving north, childhood respiratory illnesses are skyrocketing, and in the last three decades over 30 new diseases have emerged. But The Great Warming goes beyond science and consequences to provide hope via an array of solutions being adopted by individuals and communities across America… including some innovative young people. The film is also unique in presenting climate change as a moral, ethical and spiritual issue. It has brought together a national coalition of voices across the ideological spectrum - environmental groups, scientists, faith communities, Republicans and Democrats - all of whom believe that environmental stewardship must become a top priority. Is it possible to avert disaster? Will changing the way things are done mean economic ruin, or new opportunities? The Great Warming powerfully presents the implications of what is certainly the 21st century’s most urgent issue. Educators may also order free copies of the NOAAproduced booklet "Our Changing Climate" via the film’s website. This is a full-colour, wonderfully illustrated 24 page booklet about climate change, with chapters about Earth's dynamic climate system, how and why climate changes, the greenhouse effect, how climate models work and what the future holds. Written by Dennis Hartmann from the University of Washington with the input of a panel of scientific advisors, "Our Changing Climate" is suitable for ages 13 up. Starting February 13, DVDs of The Great Warming can be ordered online by visiting <> or by calling 800-493-9369. $2 of every sale will be donated to the purchaser’s choice of our non-profit, supporting organizations.


2007 MSTA Mini-Grant Application

The Maine Science Teachers Association supports innovative science projects and activities that are aligned with the Maine Learning Results and directly impact students. As part of this support, MSTA encourages its members to submit an MSTA Mini-Grant Application. Funding is available for projects up to $250.00. We are also soliciting funds from Maine businesses to fund additional mini-grants. Please check the MSTA web site for additional mini-grant opportunities and deadlines for submission. Applicants must be MSTA members. Submittal Guidelines: All proposal narratives must include the following components: Purpose / Description (50 points); Time Line (5 points); Dissemination Plan (10 points); Evaluation Plan (10 points); and Budget (5 points). Requirements: * Applicants must complete this page as the cover sheet of your proposal. Please read the directions and guidelines that are included on the criteria page and follow them carefully. * Applicants must agree to submit a news article for the MSTA Fall 2004 Newsletter describing the project and its implementation. Deadline: Applications must be received by June 30, 2007. All applicants will be notified of their status by August 1, 2007. Awards: * Each recipient will be invited to attend the June MSTA Board Meeting to receive the funding. If unable to attend, the funds will be sent to the address designated on the application. * Each recipient’s principal/supervisor will be notified of the award by the MSTA President. * Each recipient will receive a Certificate of Recognition at the MSTA Fall Conference. If unable to attend, the certificate will be sent to the address designated on the application. * A press release will be sent to a newspaper of each recipient’s choice. * Awards will be posted on Maine ListServ. Applications must be received at the following address by June 30, 2007: Nancy Chesley 3 Nancy Drive Brunswick, Maine 04011 -----------------------------------------------------------------Name: Address: Phone (w): Write a brief abstract of your project. Use only this side of the page.


Maine Science Teachers Awards Program

The Maine Science Teachers Association is seeking applications for recognition of outstanding science educators in Maine in two categories Ø Philip Marcoux Award (for a non-formal educator) Ø Louis P. Lambert Award (for a formal educator) A colleague who is a member of the Maine Science Teachers Association may submit applications for either award on an educator’s behalf. It is not required for the nominee to be a member. Applications are due June 30, 2007. The selection criteria for each award are as follows: Philip Marcoux Award The Philip Marcoux Award is designed to recognize non-formal science education professionals who work outside the formal classroom setting and who: * makes continuous and enduring contributions to science education; * demonstrates capacity for creating and implementing successful science education-related activities; * shows creative approaches to improving student achievement in science; * makes a permanent contribution to Maine Science Teachers Association by integrating with national initiatives, promoting the science education profession, or providing training and resources to other science education professionals. Louis P. Lambert Award The Louis P. Lambert Award is designed to recognize a public or private school teacher who: * inspires student achievement in science in a caring, compassionate manner; * shows creative approaches in linking student learning to the Science Content Standards of the Maine State Learning Results and Maine’s Curriculum Framework for Mathematics and Science; * makes continuous and enduring contributions to science education by integrating with local and state initiatives, promoting science education, and providing training or resources to other science teachers. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Nancy Chesley, 5 Nancy Dr., Brunswick, ME 04011 or by email to Please complete the following application form to nominate a colleague for one of the 2007 awards.


Maine Science Teachers Association Awards Nomination Form 2007

Nominee’s Name: ____________________________________ Award category: ____________________________________________ Home Address: ______________________________________________ Org./School Name: ___________________________________________ Org./School Address: _________________________________________ Home Phone: ___________________ Work Phone: _________________ Submitted by: ______________________________________________ Relationship to Nominee _____________________________________ How to Apply: Complete this form and submit it by June 30, 2007 to: MSTA Nomination Review Committee Nancy Chesley 3 Nancy Dr. Brunswick, ME 04011 Include with your application a narrative essay of no more than two single-spaced typewritten pages which explain how the applicant meets the award criteria. The Selection Process All applications are due by June 30, 2007 Applications will be reviewed and ranked by the Nomination Review Committee of the MSTA in August. Final approval of award winners by the MSTA Board will take place in September. All applicants and the winning nominees will be notified immediately following final selection.


“field trips” loosely for now to mean educational opportunities outside of students’ classrooms and/or programs that can come onsite to a school that supplement the curriculum. I have included some suggested categories of information that we will use to put together a field trip listing on the MSTA webpage. If there are other pieces of information that you would like to add, please feel free to do so. We think it would be especially helpful to other teachers to have comments about their experiences and/or helpful tips/hints about the trip. If you are a field trip provider, we also encourage you to complete the information and send it along. Please email your field trip information to Lynn Farrin Thank you, Lynn Farrin MSTA Secretary

Dear Science Teachers, We need your help! The Maine Science Teachers Association is in the process of redesigning our webpage. One of the new features of the webpage will be a listing of field trips that teachers can access to learn more about field opportunities for their students. We know that many of you are taking trips this spring and thought that this might be the best time to begin compiling information. We are using the term

Please include the following information about each field trip: Title: Location: Contact information: Web address: Appropriate grade span: Nuts and Bolts (program fees, length of trip, group sizes, number of required chaperones, special equipment/permissions, etc. teachers should be aware of): Content alignment and/or Describe classroom connection (cite a specific content goal e.g. Maine Learning Result if applicable – some places offer variable programs and content varies and/or explain how this experience was connected to your curriculum) Comments:

Additional information/Other:

MSTA Annual Conference Call For Presenters The Maine Science Teachers Association Annual conference will be Friday October 5th at Gardiner Area High School. In the past few years we have moved the conference to try to find the “perfect” time that allows for the best attendance. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a time that works for everyone. Therefore we have decided to return to our traditional fall time slot and only one day. It is time for interested presenters to submit their proposals. Feedback from our membership indicates that participants would like to attend more presentations by teachers. What would you like to share with other Maine teachers? The conference committee will review the proposals and make selections, if necessary, to insure a mix of grade levels and content offerings available. Science literacy will continue to be an important focus this year. We will continue to offer both 1hour presentations/sessions and 2 ½ hour workshops. If you are interested in presenting at the conference this year please fill out the presenters form and submit it to Sharon Gallant at The form itself may be sent via the postal service or electronically. A description of your session MUST BE submitted ELECTRONICALLY to Sharon. If more than one person is presenting each presenter must submit a form for contact information. Please submit these forms together. If there are more than two presenters in a group, the additional presenters will need to pay the cost of food. If a presenter would also like to be an Exhibitor, please contact Laurette Darling by email at Science teachers in the state of Maine have great ideas. Please consider sharing yours with others at the conference. The experience is invaluable! Conference presenters will receive FREE conference registration and FREE MSTA membership! We hope you have a great summer! Mary Whitten and Sharon Gallant Conference Co-Chair


MSTA Annual Conference – Presenter Form October 5 th, 2007 at Gardiner Area High School **If you are accepted as a presenter, you do not need to register for the conference**

Name _______________________________________ Position_______________________ Home Address ______________________________________________________________ City/Town ___________________________________ State __________ Zip ___________ Home Phone _____________________ Preferred Email_____________________________ School/Organization _________________________________________________________ Address ___________________________________________________________________ City/Town ___________________________________ State __________ Zip ___________ Work Phone ___________________ Preferred mailing address: [ ] home [ ] organization Describe your organization: [ ] private school [ ] public school [ ] informal educational institution [ ] K-2 [ ] 3-4 [ ] 5-8 [ ] high school [ ] college [ ] pre-service Type: [ ] Session - 1 hour Presentation Information [ ] Workshop - 2 ½ hours

Target Audience/Grade Level(s): ________________________________ If the presentation is professional development, check the appropriate content area(s): [ ] Life Science [ ] Physical Science [ ] Earth/Space Science [ ] Any Title of Your Presentation: ____________________________________________________________ Co – Presenter(s) ______________________________________________________________ (Attach a presenter form with contact information for each presenter. If more than two are presenting, food costs will need to be paid for the additional presenters at registration.) Needs: Requests should be an integral part of your presentation. [ ] Water [ ] Tables ***It would be helpful if you could bring your own AV equipment. However, if your presentation requires a computer lab (PC or MAC) or any other equipment, please contact us at least two weeks before the conference! 1. Electronically provide a brief (50 words or less) description of your presentation. This description will appear in the program. Please email your description to Sharon Gallant at 2. Send presenter form electronically or ma il it to: Sharon Gallant ( Gardiner Area High School 40 West Hill Road Gardiner, Maine 04345

Presentation Forms are due by June 30th!! Please fill out one form for each presentation!

MSTA Annual Conference October 5 th, 2007 Gardiner Area High School Teacher to Teacher Sharing

Please complete the information below. Please note: Purchase orders are a tremendous burden for your volunteer treasurer. Group registrations must include a completed form for each registrant. Name ______________________________________ Position ____________________________________ Home Address __________________________________________________________________________ Home City/Town _________________________________________________________________________ Home State _________ Home Zip ____________

Home Email ________________________________________ Home Phone ____________________________ Home Fax ___________________________

School or organization ____________________________________________________________________ School/Organization Address ______________________________________________________________ School/Organization City/town ______________________________________________________________ School/Organization State _________ School/Organization Zip ____________ School/Organization Email ________________________________________ School/Organization Phone _______________________ School/Organization Fax __________________

Preferred email address for MSTA materials [ ] home [ ] school/organization Please Note: All Correspondence from MSTA will be sent to you by email. Please make sure we have a current valid email address so we can keep you informed about the Association’s activities. Level: [ ] K-2 [ ] 3-4 [ ] 5-8 [ ] high school [ ] college [ ] pre-service

Advance Registration Conference Fees: (circle one) Practicing Educators $75 Pre-Service $35 Presenters $0*

$5.00 off registration if paid by check on or before September 15, 2007 $10.00 additional fee for on-site registration

Please Make Checks Payable to MSTA and Mail to: Maine Science Teachers Association

Jon Swan, Treasurer 113 Elm St. Mechanic Falls, Me 04256 (207) 346-3430 email:

*Presenters please submit presenter form (due by June 30th) not registration form.