P A S S P O R T   T O    K N O W L E D G E
__                         ______
 |                         |
 |     __   _    _  __     |___  ___   __  __    __
 |      |    \  /  |__     |     |__| |  | | \  / |
 |     _|_    \/   |__     |     |  \ |__| |  \/  |
 |____                    _|_

   /  \     _  _  ___   _   ___  ___ ___  __  ___   _
  / __ \    |\ |   |   /_\  |__| |    |    |  |    /_\
 /      \   | \|   |  /   \ |  \ |__  |   _|_ |__ /   \
/        \

FEBRUARY 2, 1995                                            UPDATES-LFA-8

PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE is concluding the "live" components of its electronic field trip to scientific frontiers in Antarctica. But "Live from Antarctica" program materials continue to be available in print, video and on the Internet for classroom use.

This newsletter is a summary of the project, looking back as we have completed the live components, and looking forward to our next adventures to new places and subjects. Next week we will send a final update with a closing letter from Geoff Haines-Stiles, Executive Producer of Passport to Knowledge. After that, we will send occasional newsletters (at least monthly) to report our progress on those new electronic field trips.

And please realize that the future of PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE depends on each of you sending us your evaluation. We need to know who we are reaching and what value you place on the various components. Our goal is to hear from *everyone* on this list.


The Live from Antarctica project has three basic components


We have sent you this newsletter each week to keep you informed of our progress in each of these three areas. We are adding a final section to this newsletter to discuss the future.



The PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE series uses the national reach of public television and classroom computer networks to provide educational resources to students and teachers across the nation. The goal of the project has been to make all project resources available in some way to teachers who vary in their access to technology. We are pioneering the integrated use of a televised video conferencing, educational video, telecomputing, classroom materials, printed guides and postal mail to reach all interested teachers and students including those that do not currently have access to the information super highway.

Our goal is provide a model of what can be accomplished with universal access to a National Information Infrastructure and to make it possible for under-served populations to join in and learn with whatever resources they have available in their schools. The four programs were shown on 209 of the nation's 349 public television stations (PBS) comprising 78.85% of U.S. homes or school districts. In addition, NASA-TV carried each program live and is still continuing to re-broadcast them. (See end of messages for details). All other services are available in many different ways (described in this message) with an effort to include *everyone* who is interested.

>>>>> The Electronic Field Trips: the Television component:

Program one, THE COLDEST, WINDIEST, ICIEST PLACE ON EARTH, opened atop a mountain in the Dry Valleys 70 miles from McMurdo Station. On a clear day this mountain site provides a magnificent view of Mount Erebus, more than 70 miles away. But, on the day of our adventure we experienced the cold, windy and icy weather that makes work in Antarctica so challenging!

We connected the students of the McAllen School District, in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and students at two Maryland schools live with geologist Ian Dalziel. One topic was the theory of a past link of Antarctica and Texas which was also the cover story of the January 1995 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. Live from Antarctica made this story come alive with computer images of shifting locations of continents over the past 600 million years and active discussion with one of the most prominent scientists exploring this geological jigsaw puzzle.

The second program, "LIFE IN ANTARCTICA, THEN AND NOW" brought us a closer look at the present inhabitants of this continent and the buried clues that tell us about the past. We joined students from Hawaii and Maryland to visit the sea-ice "live" with Carsten Kooyman. We watched researchers as they worked with penguins and seals.

You might be interested to know that we were only able to get the audio link to work 30 seconds before the program was to air. We then took you to the icy surface of Lake Hoare, where Diana Freckman discussed nematodes, the small creatures of Antarctica's unique Dry Valleys. The program concluded with researchers "going fishing" to find clues to survival in the icy waters of Antarctica in the organic anti-freeze of fish which have adapted to this environment.

The third program, "SPACESHIP SOUTH POLE", included the first-ever live video from the end of the Earth, an achievement only made possible by the cooperation of NSF, NASA, NOAA, CARA and many others in Antarctica and the U.S. It was, without a doubt, the most technically ambitious of all the programs and attracted national media attention, on ABC, CBS and CNN. We joined SPACE EXPLORERS high school students in Chicago at PBS station WTTW, who were able to interact live with a former class-mate, 18-year old Elizabeth Felton who was selected by NSF to travel to Antarctica. And we watched "live" as Elizabeth repositioned the marker of Earth's exact geographic South Pole, speaking of her dreams to become an astronaut. NSF also makes it possible for teachers to visit Antarctica. Third grade students in Charlottesville, Virginia, another of our live sites, were very excited to be once more in contact with their teacher, April Lloyd, who with Elizabeth were our guides as we explored the South Pole station. We saw how the dome structure has become buried in the ice. This was of special interest to the Middle School students "live" in Hawaii and Joe Ferraro, the architect redesigning the South Pole station. We watched as Joe Ferraro helped the students test their designs by using high winds (hair dryers) to blow the ice (sand) over their experimental designs.

The last program FROM POLE TO PLANET, linked Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost school district in the United States with Maryland and Antarctica. Students demonstrated the use that many of you have been making of the Internet to explore and understand program topics, in this case the depletion of ozone. NOAA Lt. j. g. Kate McNitt joined us live from aboard a Coast Guard icebreaker in McMurdo Sound as our expert on this topic. We opened the computer lines to students across country making it possible for your students to ask questions via E-mail while the program aired. Students from Gallaudet's Model Secondary School for the Deaf received, read, and selected some of your questions to be answered directly by researchers in Antarctica.

These were our televised electronic field trips to Antarctica. But they were not the only "live" components of our program. We also took students to Antarctica on the electronic highway of the Internet...


Our goal is to include all teachers regardless of their level of access or technical skill. With the help of NASA K-12 Internet Initiative, we have made extensive materials available through email, gopher and web on three networks and have also included an option to receive the online materials though postal mail > (see next section).

We extended the "Field Trip to Antarctica" with these online services and materials:

These services are made available through email, gopher or World Wide Web (and by postal mail, see next section):

            ___                                                      ___
  _-==-_   (___)----------------------------------------------------(___)
 /  ..  \__|   | For information on all online features, send Email |   |
/| `--' |___)  |          To:  ptkinfo@passporttoknowledge.com      |   |
||      |  |   |                                                    |   |
(___\/___) |   |                                                    |   |
           |___|                                                    |___|

Similar LIVE FROM ANTARCTICA online resources also available from


Teachers have participated in all phases of the development and implementation of this project. Teachers are on the curriculum development team, they have written journals, lesson plans and internet resource files. Teachers have worked hard preparing their students to be live participants on the four programs.

We have had teachers and their classes involved as co-investigating classrooms to help us handle the 600 questions that have come from students all over the world. And teachers have sponsored their projects in our learning centers. We will be sending a message to discuss-lfa this week with a list of the projects that teachers and students have posted in our Learning Centers and teacher conference. We are energized by the learning that we see taking place.



PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE is, at its core, a partnership and hope that by including some information each week about our various partners you will see that all of us are working together. But now there is a very specific and important way in which we need all of you.

While you could look through the television screen to see us, we cannot use tv technology to look back at you. We don't know WHO was watching and HOW the materials we created have been used. We cannot find this information without *your* help. We are eager to hear your comments. Both positive comments and suggestions for ways of making future programs as useful as possible.

REFLECTION is an important stage of learning. Your students' comments on the questions that we have posed will help them think about what they have learned while providing us with valuable information for future programs.

We need *YOUR* help.

And here online technology DOES let us look at you and your reactions!

There is a Teacher and Student Evaluation Form

  • In the Teacher's Guide
  • At our Web site

            |                                         |
            |     AND we will send it online in       |
            |      early February to this list        |
            |             (Updates-lfa)               |
           /|                                         |\
         /__|              EVALUATION                 |__\
         |   \      Please complete and return       /   |
         |      \                                 /      |
         |         \                           /         |
         |            \ ___________________ /            |
         |                                               |
         |/~~~\___ i--    i\  /i   ^   i i   ~~~~~~~\___/|
         |/~~~\___ |-- ** | \/ |  /_\  | |   ~~~~~~\___ /|
         |/~~~\___ |__    |    | /   \ | |___ ~~~~\___/  |

We also will appreciate any letters, comments, local press clips on any activities associated with LFA, photos, videos, audio cassettes, and other examples of student work (poems, letters, reports etc.).

Please mail to:                        Or Email to:

P O Box  1587                         ptkinfo@passporttoknowledge.com
Morristown, NJ, 07962-1587

The efforts of many public agencies contributed to this project and we all share the responsibility of accounting for these resources. We need and WANT to hear from everyone of you.

Even if you read these messages for your own knowledge of what is available on the Internet. We do want to hear from YOU.


On Feb. 28 we will randomly select 10 from among the completed sets of Teacher and Student evaluation forms and these classes will receive:

  1. Large Color map of Antarctica, as seen behind the kids in VA in Pgm 3;
  2. US Antarctica Program patches for all students in the class
  3. Choice of one of the LIVE from ANTARCTICA Program Tapes
  4. a SPIREX poster
  5. a set of 35mm color slides from NSF's archives
  6. a copy of one disk of the "PLEASE COPY THIS DISK " archive

So please send in your evaluation forms.


PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE has already begun work on another exciting adventure-- this time to explore the Universe. If final funding falls into place, we will invite you to participate in:

 +   .                .   . .     .  .
                      .     *                              /|
   .       *                        . .  .   .  + .       / /       /
                                       .  +  . . .   ____/ /_______| |
 .  LIVE FROM THE STRATOSPHERE   .  .    .    . . -=<____   __|__|=|<|
                               .       . +.    +  .      \ \       | |
                                 .   .   . .              \ \       \
  * .  .  +   .                                            \|
            +      .           .   .      +
        LIVE FROM THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE . + .  . .     .      .
            .      .    .     . .   . . .        ! /
       *             .    . .  +    .  .       - O -
           .     .    .  +   . .  *  .       . / |
                . + .  .  .  .. +  .
 .      .  .  .  *   .  *  . +..  .            *
  .      .   . .   .   .   . .  +   .    .            +

LIVE FROM THE STATOSPHERE will involve several science museums and other partners, who will host overnight "camp-ins" in conjunction with live programming from flight aboard NASA's Kuiper Airborne Observatory, with its infrared telescope. We hope the project will begin with the opening of the 1995 school year in September, with -- perhaps -- two programs airing during school hours, and then a "virtual night flight" aboard the Kuiper. The Kuiper's infrared telescope will let students look at planets and stars and galaxies...and at the origins of celestial objects. We will present extensive background information to prepare them for their travels, explaining the tools and techniques of contemporary astronomy, just as we did in our similar work with Carl Sagan's COSMOS and other space-related PBS NOVA programs. We hope to involve local amateur astronomy groups to help kids share their interests in actual, hands-on observing, in addition to the "virtual astronomy"

LIVE FROM THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE will provide us a unique opportunity to experiment with the nature of our partnership. In September while we are taking you on the Kuiper, we will announce a kind of "Request for Student Proposals" for astronomical observations to be undertaken ACTUALLY ON THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE! An agreement with the Space Telescope Science Institute, which manages Hubble for NASA, will allow some students to undertake investigations on the nation's premier space telescope, through the commitment of Director's Discretionary Observing Time!!! Developing a quality proposal will obviously require a large amount of background information, but fortunately the STScI Home Page and STEIS is already very extensive, with excellent data and pictures! Check it out at:



ftp stsci.edu
user name, anonymous
password, enter last name or user id

We plan to have astronomers, and graduate and undergraduate students, "tele-mentor" students around the nation over the Internet, and then select winning proposals, and refine them, with the observations themselves forming the focus of LIVE FROM THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE in late Spring/early Summer 1996. This process, also involving "peer review" of proposals by student evaluators, is designed to mirror how NSF and other research agencies actually select proposals. Students will be exposed to the process of designing, developing and defending their ideas, using the tools they will later use as adult scientists, or workers in a technologically complex society. How many hours of observing time... how many project(s) can be "flown"... whether to restrict this to high school students only, or to include middle schoolers... or whether there is some way for even elementary kids to "get their hands on Hubble", on all of these, more research is needed... but again, YOUR THOUGHTS are welcome!

In addition, plans are being developed for LIVE FROM the Moon (a Discovery proposal is currently awaiting decision), from Mars (in conjunction with Mars Pathfinder '97), from active volcanoes and undersea trenches, from the Amazon rainforest and the place where the dinosaurs died -- as well as, possibly, Live from the Antarctic-2 and Palmer Peninsula and aboard the research vessel, "Nathaniel B. Palmer".

We hope you agree that PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE is an innovative and worthwhile project and we are glad to find it seems to have been well received by teachers, students and parents. It has only been made possible by an unprecedented collaboration between several U. S. Government research agencies, together with public television and Prentice Hall. Our initial respondents have been excited about the innovative integration of learning technologies. With your help, input and interest, we plan to build on this solid foundation, and advance still further in the months and years ahead.

      /                                                                 \
      |                  ~~ LIVE FROM ANTARCTICA ~~                     |
      |                                                                 |
      |       NASA-TV REBROADCAST DATES: FEB.  13, 14, 15, 16           I
      I        (all at 13:00, 16:00, 19:00, 22:00 and 01:00 a.m.)       |
      |            ALL FOUR PROGRAMS ON FEB. 25TH                       |
      |                 (08:00 - 12:00)                                 |
      |                                                                 |
      |       Tapes are available from PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE.           |
               ||                                             ||
               ||                                             ||
               ||                                             ||
               ||                                             ||
  __  _  .    /__\   ..     _     .    . _, ,_  . ,, ,.. . , /__\   __ _.