Professional Development


Penn State Space Grant: Educator Workshop

Amazing educator workshop program that I have done myself!  Great experience for any teacher!  A MUST DO opportunity.

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13 thoughts on “Professional Development

  1. Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium K-12 Newsletter – August, 2011

    1. 2011 SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge

    Registration Deadline: Sept. 5, 2011

    2. Presenters Needed for 2012 Space Exploration Educators Conference

    Proposal Deadline: Sept. 9, 2011

    3. Opportunity for Educators to do Astronomical Research with NASA Data

    Application Deadline: Sept. 23, 2011

    4. Susquehanna Aquatic Biodiversity Network Workshop

    Event Date: Sept. 23-25

    5. Earth Science Week Contests Announced for 2011

    Deadline for Entries: Oct. 14, 2011

    6. Electronic Professional Development Network Courses

    Various dates between Sept. 14-Dec. 13, 2011

    7. 2011 DIME and WING Competitions

    Deadline: Nov. 1, 2011

    8. 2012 NASA Space Settlement Design Contest

    Entry Deadline: March 15, 2012


    1. 2011 SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge

    NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory are offering high school students the opportunity to design experiments that will be tested in space.

    The 2011 Zero Robotics challenge is a continuation and expansion of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics education program using bowling ball-sized spherical satellites aboard the International Space Station.

    The Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, are used inside the station to test maneuvers for spacecraft performing autonomous rendezvous and docking. The three satellites that make up SPHERES fly in formation inside the station’s cabin. Each is self-contained with power, propulsion, computing and navigation equipment. Test results support satellite servicing, vehicle assembly and spacecraft that fly in formation.

    The SPHERES Zero Robotics Challenge requires high school student teams to write their own algorithm to fly the satellites in the station. Teams must register before Sept. 5, 2011, at

    Entries will be evaluated using simulations. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., will host a ground test 2D competition in October. Two elimination rounds in the 3D online simulation will be held in November. The top 27 teams will have their code sent to the station, where an astronaut will program the SPHERES satellites to run their tests.

    The Zero Robotics challenge, facilitated by MIT, continues the STEM focus of the SPHERES program. The 2011 challenge expands on a pilot program performed in 2009 and 2010. By making the benefits and resources of the space program tangible to high school students, Zero Robotics is designed to inspire future scientists and engineers. Students will have the opportunity to push their limits and develop skills in STEM. This program builds critical engineering skills for students such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, team work and presentation skills.

    MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory developed SPHERES in 2006 to provide DARPA, NASA and other researchers with a long-term test bed for validating technologies critical to the operation of future satellites, docking missions and satellite autonomous maneuvers. The satellites provide opportunities to test a wide range of hardware and software at an affordable cost.

    For additional information about NASA and MIT’s Zero Robotics program, visit

    For additional information about DARPA, visit

    Please e-mail any questions about this opportunity to Jason Crusan at


    2. Presenters Needed for 2012 Space Exploration Educators Conference

    The 18th Annual Space Exploration Educators Conference, or SEEC, is taking place Feb. 2-4, 2012, at Space Center Houston. The goal of SEEC is to encourage K-12 educators to use space to teach all subjects in their classrooms. Over 700 educators gather for this event each year.

    Conference organizers are looking for 170 interactive sessions that present exciting classroom activities. All sessions must have a hands-on component; lecture sessions will not be accepted. Proposals will be accepted between Sept. 1 and Sept. 9, 2011.

    For more information, visit

    If you have any questions about the conference, please call 281-244-2149 or e-mail


    3. Opportunity for Educators to do Astronomical Research with NASA Data

    From Dr. Luisa Rebull of Caltech’s Spitzer Science Center, FYI…

    Are you, or do you know of, any educators who might be interested in doing authentic astronomical research with NASA data, and who are willing to take three all-reasonable-expenses-paid trips?

    NITARP is now accepting applications for 2012. The application site is ready, and you can upload your application any time before September 23!

    NITARP, the NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program, gets teachers involved in authentic astronomical research. We partner small groups of educators with a mentor professional astronomer for an *original* research project. The educators incorporate the experience into their classrooms and share their experience with other teachers. The program runs January through January. Applications are available *now* and due on September 23.

    This program, to the best of our knowledge, is completely unique in the following two important ways: (1) each team does original research using real astronomical data, not canned labs or reproductions of previously done research; (2) each team writes up the results of their research and presents it at an American Astronomical Society meeting (the AAS is the professional organization for astronomers in the US). Each team also presents the educational results of their experience in the program.

    Most, but not all, of our educators are grade 8-13; informal educators have participated as well. The kinds of educators we are looking for are those who already know the basics of astronomy, are interested in learning exactly how astronomy research is conducted, and are willing to share their experiences with colleagues and students in their environment. Three all-reasonable-expenses-paid trips are integral to the program!

    More information and the application for NITARP for 2012 is now available here: and our application site is now accepting uploads. Applications are due Sep 23!

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at this email or at our central email,



    Dr. Luisa Rebull Research Scientist, Spitzer Science Center

    Caltech M/S 220-6 voice 626-395-4565

    1200 E. California Blvd. FAX 626-568-0673

    Pasadena, CA 91125


    4. The Susquehanna Aquatic Biodiversity Network A Professional Development Workshop

    The Pennsylvania Sea Grant is hosting a special professional development opportunity for science teachers in the Chesapeake watershed. After completing the workshop, your school is eligible for field trip assistance and a grant that may be used for transportation, substitute pay, or materials.

    Middle and High School Science Teachers in the Chesapeake Watershed

    September 23- 25, 2011

    Millersville University, Lancaster County, PA

    Participants accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Free lodging is available for a limited number of out-of-town participants.

    For an application, please contact:

    Ann M. Faulds

    Penn State University, Pennsylvania Sea Grant

    Associate Director Delaware River Office

    1350 Edgmont Avenue, Suite 2570

    Chester, PA 19013


    Fax 206-984-9617


    5. Earth Science Week Contests Announced for 2011

    Take part in the following contests to celebrate Earth Science Week. This year’s celebration takes place Oct. 9-15, 2011.

    Earth Science Week 2011 Photography Contest — Open to All Ages

    The American Geological Institute is sponsoring a photography contest to celebrate Earth Science Week 2011. Photographs should focus on the topic “A World of Change in My Community.” The contest is open to any resident of the United States. Participants should submit pictures that show how their areas are influenced by environmental changes. Entries may be submitted electronically or by mail. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Entries are due Oct. 14, 2011.

    Earth Science Week 2011 Visual Arts Contest — Open to Students in Grades K-5

    The American Geological Institute is sponsoring a visual arts contest to celebrate Earth Science Week 2011. Artwork should focus on the topic “Picturing Our Ever-Changing Earth.” The contest is open to students in grades K-5 who are residents of the United States. Participants should submit an original two-dimensional visual arts project that shows ways in which Earth’s air, water, land and living things change over time. Entries are due Oct. 14, 2011, and must be submitted by mail.

    Earth Science Week 2011 Essay Contest — Open to Students in Grades 6-9

    The American Geological Institute is sponsoring an essay contest to celebrate Earth Science Week 2011. Essays should focus on the theme “How Change Shapes Our Planet.” The contest is open to students in grades 6-9 who are residents of the United States. Participants should submit an original essay no more than 300 words in length, typed and formatted to fit on one page. Entries may be submitted electronically or by mail. The deadline for submitting entries is Oct. 14, 2011.

    If you have any questions about any of these contests, please e-mail the Earth Science Week staff at


    6. Electronic Professional Development Network Courses

    NASA’s Learning Environments and Research Network and the Georgia Institute of Technology have teamed up to create the Electronic Professional Development Network, or e-PDN, an initiative dedicated to preparing K-12 teachers to engage their students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM through the use of NASA-developed learning materials and resources.

    If you are looking for a way to enhance your instructional skills, meet your professional development goals, or find new and exciting resources to use in your learning environments, apply to one of our free courses today!

    Applications are now open for the following courses starting in September:

    Don’t Just Show Me the Numbers; Make Sense of the Information — Sept. 14 – Oct. 18, 2011

    Strengthen your understanding of the statistics content included in the Common Core Standards, while deepening your understanding of data analysis, sampling and inference. Participants will use the four-step investigative approach for problem solving using statistics. Learn to use online interactive applications, NASA data sets and electronic collaborative tools for data collection.

    Project-Based Inquiry Learning: Science Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century — Sept. 28 – Nov. 1, 2011

    Develop your skills in designing and using project-based inquiry learning, or PBIL, to enhance conceptual understanding, critical thinking, scientific reasoning and problem solving in standards-based classrooms. Experience and analyze two NASA-oriented PBIL projects firsthand; learn PBIL curriculum design strategies and methods; and design a PBIL unit for use in your classroom. Use e-PDN’s suite of online tools to collaborate, connect and create with other course participants.

    Using Robotics to Enhance STEM Learning — Aug. 31 – Oct. 11, 2011

    Learn how to build and program LEGO Mindstorm robots and use them to promote student engagement and conceptual understanding of mathematics, science and engineering. Explore robotic manipulators and end effectors like NASA uses on the International Space Station, and integrate multiple sensors into your robot to allow for systematic control. Join your colleagues in the Grand Challenge to design, build and program a robot to explore an environment and return with a sample for investigation.

    Technology Integration – Podcasts in the Classroom — Oct. 5 – Nov. 8, 2011

    For instructors interested in teaching online, the Technology Integration Certificate series introduces you to best practices of online learning. Examine how podcasts can be integrated into the STEM classroom. In this course the benefits as well as obstacles to podcasts will be discussed and you will be introduced to the tools and techniques of creating podcasts.

    Technology Integration — 3-D Visualization — Oct. 12 – Nov. 15, 2011

    For instructors interested in teaching online, the Technology Integration Certificate series introduces you to best practices of online learning and helps get you started on designing your own online course. Learn how to create models of complex objects and bring visual creations to your students to teach them how mathematics, science and communication skills are vital in bringing ideas from imagination to reality.

    Technology Integration — Turn Your Classroom Digital — Nov. 2 – Dec. 13, 2011

    For instructors interested in teaching online, the Technology Integration Certificate series introduces you to best practices of online learning. Learn how to create your own online course from start to finish. Participants will get an overview of online teaching models, learning management systems, instructional design models, Web 2.0 collaborative tools and online assessments.

    To learn more about these free courses and to apply online, visit

    For more information on the e-PDN and the resources it offers to K-12 teachers, visit

    Questions about these courses should be directed to Fran Sponsler at


    7. 2011 DIME and WING Competitions

    NASA announces two opportunities for students to design and build an experiment to be conducted in a NASA research drop tower. The Dropping In a Microgravity Environment, or DIME, competition is for students in grades 9-12. Students in grades 5-8 are encouraged to participate in the “What If No Gravity?”, or WING, competition.

    Four teams in the high school DIME competition will be invited to visit NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and operate their experiments in the drop tower. Four additional teams will send their experiments to Glenn for the drop tower staff to operate them.

    The winning WING teams will have their experiments operated in the same drop tower by the NASA drop tower staff.

    Proposals for both competitions are due on Nov. 1, 2011. Competition selections will be on Dec. 1, 2011, and drop tower operations will be conducted in March 2012.

    The DIME & WING competitions are funded by NASA’s Teaching From Space project.

    For more information about this opportunity, visit

    If you have questions about this opportunity, please e-mail your inquiries to the DIME team at


    8. 2012 NASA Space Settlement Design Contest

    Design a space settlement! Space settlements are permanent communities in orbit, as opposed to being on the moon or other planets. Designing a space settlement involves physics, mathematics, space science, environmental science and many other disciplines.

    The NASA Space Settlement Design Contest is for 11-18-year-old students from anywhere in the world. Individuals or teams may enter. Grades 6-8, 9-10 and 11-12 are judged separately, except for the grand prize. All participants will receive a certificate.

    Submissions must be received by March 15, 2012.

    For more information about the NASA Space Settlement Design Contest, visit

    If you have any questions about the contest, please e-mail Al Globus at

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