Reminders, Mars Night ideas, news, etc.

From: Jan Wee <>
Subject: Reminders, Mars Night ideas, news, etc.
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 16:00:20 -0600

Dear discuss-lfm members,

Several points to share...

1) This is a reminder to those of you participating in 
the second Challenge Question!  Please be sure to mail
your responses by midnight on Halloween, October 31st. We want
to be sure to include all participants answers and recognize 
classes and individuals who are active CQ Super Sleuths!


Here is this week's Challenge Question:

The Valles Marineris is much larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon in
Arizona. Yet, if you stood at the rim of the Valles Marineris, it probably
wouldn't seem as impressive to the eye. Why?

You are invited to send original student answers to us. We will list the
names of these folks online and token prizes will be given out to a small
number of the students with the best answers. Send your answers to
Jan Wee at  

Be sure to subject head your message:  CHALLENGE QUESTION #2

2) For those of you who participated in the Live From the
Hubble Space Telescope project (Nov.'95-April, '96), this
NASA Press Release may be of interest, especially if you
have a place for Neptune in your heart!


       NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has been used to 
assemble a time-lapse color movie showing a full 16-hour 
rotation of the distant planet, Neptune.  The movie, made 
from a series of Hubble observations over nine consecutive 
orbits, allows astronomers to track cloud motion on the 
planet.  The clear images show Neptune's powerful equatorial 
jet stream, immense storms, and dark spot in Neptune's 
northern hemisphere, first identified last year by a 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology team using Hubble.

       The movie was made by a team of scientists led by 
Lawrence Sromovsky of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's 
Space Science and Engineering Center and were presented at 
the annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of 
the American Astronomical Society, in Tuscon AZ.  The team 
combined observations from Hubble and NASA's Infrared 
Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, to observe 
the distant planet in a variety of wavelengths, each 
providing a different set of information about Neptune's 
clouds, their structure, and how they circulate.  Scientists 
can make more precise calculations of Neptune's wind speeds 
and directions, yielding refined information about the 
planet's dynamic weather system. 

In addition to the movie, a still image is available 
to news media representatives by calling the Headquarters 
Imaging Branch on 202/358-1900.  Photo numbers are:

   Color:  96-HC-692                     B&W:  96-H-692

Image files in GIF and JPEG format and captions may be 
accessed on Internet via anonymous ftp from in 
                                 GIF                   JPEG
PRC96-33  Neptune          gif/nept96.gif        jpeg/nept96.jpg

       Higher resolution digital versions (300 dpi JPEG) of 
the release photograph are available in /pubinfo/hrtemp:

96-33.jpg (color) and 96-33bw.jpg (black/white).

GIF and JPEG images, captions and press release text are 
available via the World Wide Web at: and via links in: or


Pat Haddon's ideas regarding Mars Night reminded me
that we have a Press Release Kit available to help those of you
planning unique celebrations like Marg Freeman's.  Don't forget to 
visit our web site and make use of this helpful resource:


You might also consider getting your local amateur astronomy group
involved in the fun. You could have special "guests" bring a telescopes,
image samples (if their into photography), and Mars-related resources
to share.  They might be willing to set up their telescopes and
have families take turns for a close-up view of whatever can 
be seen that evening!  Nothing like a *telescopic family adventure*!
According to my sources, Mars will be not be visible until quite late
at night (11:30pm or later), but Jupiter (S-SW) and Saturn (E-SE) will
be visible about 7PM at night. 

Kids love riddles, tongue twisters, and jokes -- how about some of
their high level creativity being devoted to having some fun
with Mars-related concepts woven into these enjoyable creations!

You might even put on a "talent show" that showcases some of
the creativity just waiting to be tapped.  MJ Savaiano, one of
our PTK Advocates from Minnesota created a Cosmic Opera focusing
on the future exploration of Mars.   Check with MJ at for more details. Or perhaps,
MJ will share this fun project on line with all of us.

You could have students do create their own set of Kid-Created 
Challenge Questions -- I wouldn't want to have parents be placed in an
awkward position, so how about parent-student teams doing a "BEE" like
competition round! Something like the National Geography Bee, only 
more out-of-this-world, so to speak!  Make it fun, not threatening!

Students and parents might enjoy composing Mars-related questions
together as a team and submitting them to our *Mars Team Answers Your
Question* componet of our LFM project.  Questions should be
sent to:

For more information about this service:

Parents will likely enjoy having some of their own Mars
questions answered and will be impressed with how your school
is integrating science, technology, and writing skills.  (It
takes some thought to develop probing questions!)  You might
have an e-mail station set up and all ready for the submitting
of questions!  Students love to show off their Net-skills so 
be sure to have some student assistants/guides to share
our Live From Mars web site.

How about some Mars-treats to round out the night -- crater cookies,
meteorite munchies, rift valley torte, outflow punch (RED of course) and ice
cap critters--animal crackers dipped in white frosting. 

Well, if I think of any more Mars Night nuggets, I will post them
later.  I am sure others in this forum have some more great ideas.

4) By now most of you have had time to think about the Planet
Explorer Toolkit activity.  It would be interesting to begin a
discussion of this activity (as well as any of the Opening
Activities found in the LFM guide) and have some feedback from 
this forum. The floor is yours to contribute, ask questions,
toss ideas around!

        Is the activity one that you find engaging?
        Has anyone begun the PET Activity in class yet?  Share your
                experiences so far.
        Do you have concerns over any particular aspect of the activity?
        How will you prepare for having your students engaged
                in the debate forum scheduled for January?
        Any thoughts about the guidelines that have been established?

Have a good week as you face the sugar highs that often
follow Halloween! Maybe that extra energy can be directed
towards turning your classroom into Mars Central!  Has anyone
converted their room into a Martian landscape yet?  If so,
it would be great to see some digital images find their
way to our web site (via myself or Marc Siegel).  This is
an open invitation to send those images (GIF or JPEG) along
with a journal describing the "action", name of the school,
teacher, details as needed.  We would love to see our KidsCorner
as a sharing center for your students.

Jan Wee, Co-Moderator


Jan Wee, Education Outreach Coordinator
Passport to Knowledge
Voice: 608-786-2767  (8am-4pm Central time)   Fax: 608-786-1819