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DECEMBER 20TH                                                  UPDATES-LFA-3

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  ****   FLASH: ****
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The first two of four Passport to Knowledge electronic trips to the field of science in Antarctica took place this past week--over the information hyway. We hope you came along.

This update message follows the three basic components of Live from Antarctica project described in more detail in the Teacher's Guide:

   ++ Television ++      ++ Telecommunications ++     ++ Teachers ++

* Teachers Guide, 50 pages, available from Passport to Knowledge, Box 1587, Morristown, NJ, 07962-1587. Or contact for information.

               ---====|   T E L E V I S I O N   |=====---

The weather was cold and balmy relatively speaking, scientist IAN DALZIEL camped out on the top of a cold windy transantarctic mountains above the Taylor Valley to show you the site of his work. It was there that the first program, THE COLDEST, WINDIEST, ICIEST PLACE ON EARTH, began with a focus on the geology and climate of Antarctica. In fact the weather got so windy that by the second show, two days later some of the crew was still left out in the cold waiting for weather to allow for a helicopter to come retrieve them.

The second program, LIFE IN ANTARCTICA, THEN AND NOW had live video -- for the first time ever -- from the floor of the Dry Valleys! TWO live microwave shots, including the images of seals and penguins that we never thought we would be able to get. We were also able to include some last minute changes to respond to comments from our online classrooms (see teacher sections for more details on this). The students were able to see scientists who are captured by their interest in working with organisms in their natural settings. soil worms, each of these creatures draws researchers to Antarctica to try to understand their way of life in a very different world.

But what makes us--the whole Live from Antarctica team--a cast of 100's-- happiest is that all this really seems to be hitting home to educators and students. Responses from viewers, programmers, tv critics and kids have been overwhelming positive. It has been described as a "wonderful" lively tv program that is made ever so much more exciting by the contacts online. Kids in our live classrooms were ENTHRALLED by the tape segments and sights and sounds they conveyed, and INSPIRED by the unprecedented interaction with our guests. We are grateful to all who worked to make these first two programs so successful.

And we are even more excited that the best is yet to come. See next week for more details.

Videotapes of the programs are available from Passport to Knowledge.

         ---====|   T E L E C O M M U N I C A T I O N S   |=====---

Going O N L I N E with Live From Antarctica project involves:


The news this week involves sending Email to scientists and support people in Antarctica. Many students have begun to use this option, which will remain available until January 31, 1994. To see the questions and answers, come explore through the web location listed above.


In addition, a capability has been set up for those people that would like to receive ongoing Email with answers to all of the questions asked. Each night, one mail message will be sent to those interested. This message will contain a copy of every question/answer pair generated that day. 


This is a contest to see who can figure out the problem posed during the videocasts. The current challenge question is

         Mike Castellini's outhouse was painted black and
         shaped like a triangle.  Why black? Why triangular?

                   ---====|   T E A C H E R S  |=====---

This past week has seen a tremendous response in the Discuss-LFA forum from participating educators and their students, as the first two of four live broadcasts on December 13th and 15th aired!

Both the EXCITEMENT and the FRUSTRATION of preparing for the first Live From Antarctica programs were heard online! Excitment as many classrooms got ready for the adventure to Antarctic, but frustration for others who searched for a way to see the programs live in their local settings.

Roger Stryker and Mrs. Duncan's fifth grade classrooms of Austin, Texas didn't have access from their school, so they planned a field trip to the local PBS station, KLRU, where they were able to watch the programs live.

Jo Lynn Roberts (J.D. Zellerbach Middle School,Vancouver, WA) was one of the teachers who was frustrated and wrote to see if others were having the same problems or had any creative ideas. She writes that she

"received over a dozen replies varying from "me too's" to practical ideas to really helped to know that I wasn't alone."

After "following every lead," she was able to convince their educational services to show programs 3 and 4 live and to find a way to have the first two programs taped. When program one was shown to their 120 sixth graders "almost live" a few days later she sent the following comments

"I found the opening shots breathtaking and will readily admit I had to wipe away a tear at realizing how truly alive this continent has become to us in the last several weeks. Students throughouly enjoyed the program.

And reports that on hearing the Challenge question regarding outhouse construction:

We threw out math for the day as we conducted two classroom experiments. One group tested black vs. white for heat retention. My other research group built a variety of model "outhouse" shapes which we tested for stability with a box fan. We all had many chuckles as we thought of a poor soul in an outhouse when the wind wisked it away. Students begged to bring more designs to test tomorrow...

Her students will see the second program after the holidays and the last two live. Also a local doctor who served on a research ship in Antarctica will visit their classroom in early January to share his personal stories and slides.

While not all stories of frustration had such a satisfactory ending, we do hope that all of you that missed the live broadcast will be seeing the programs on tape or re-broadcast in January. Cindy Johanson, representing PBS K-12 Services, suggests that educators write letters to their local PBS stations expressing their desire to receive the live broadcasts. Many stations are carrying all four programs in January.

Teachers and Students Give INPUT!

Teachers and students are also being PROACTIVE participants by sending their suggestions and comments for improving our live programs.... here is what they have said:

        Dave Eggebrecht and his students
                of Kenosha, Wisconsin suggested that
                the film crew pan the view of Antarctica,
                saying his students want to see what it
                really looks like.  This suggestion was
                forwarded to our Executive Producer, Geoff
                Haines-Stiles, who immediately responded by
                making sure this was done on the next program,
                Thursday, December 15th.  Little did we know
                that there was an attempt to do this in the
                first show, December 13th, but the camera
                tripod became frozen to the ground in the
                process of filming!  ( is brutal
                climate for our crew!)

(If your students are building a CO2 Test box --Activity 1, for the third program-- they might want to experiment with the movement of a small camera tripod --not the camera!--in their simulated environment.)

        Sunnie Tait recommends that the scientists repeat the
                questions before answering.  Giving complete
                answers is important for the students! Others
                shared that they loved the rapport created by
                the scientists chatting directly to the students
                and mentioning their names during the question
                answer period.

        Students from Dave's Grott's classroom in New York provided
                some useful feedback from older students in terms
                of changes that they would like to see in future

        At least three participants would like to have LIVE chats
                classroom to classroom and have been organizing
                this opportunity to discuss Antarctica issues
                amongst themselves. (Dave Eggebrecht ,
                Michael Dibb , and GeorgeC)

        Suggestions submitted this week include the opportunity
                for schools with ham radios to interact with those
                in Antarctica, live email during the televised
                programs with the scientists/researchers and
                the LFA team, and use of FAX during programs.
                Teachers and student WANT connectivity!  And
                we are discussing these ideas and hope to have
                some new options for participation in our future

We hope that when students return in January, they will be sharing their reactions and classroom work in our Student Learning Centers.

Happy Holiday, peace and joy!

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