From: Jan Wee <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: hello from W.A.
Date: Wed, 05 Feb 1997 23:00:57 -0600
Dear Dean and all, >Hello from Perth, Western Australia. Welcome to Live From Mars! >My class of year 9's are working in groups of 3. I am spreading one >of their modules over the first half of the year. They will be tuning >into the Mars missions several times this year. >Pay TV and Cable TV is new to Australia, and luckily some people at >this school have access to the Discovery channel, so we may be able >to get some of the broacasts mentioned recently. Our broacasts are carried on NASA-TV and PBS's main satellite, Telestar 402R, but not the Discovery Channel. From what I understand you would likely *not* be able to access either satellite coordinates from your locale, but we do make tapes of the programs available. The debut program, *Countdown* which aired live November 19th, 1996 can be ordered from the Passport to Knowledge office. Please email me directly if interested in more details! >Is it possible for us(students) to ask questions about the mars missions. Yes, in fact, the LFM Researcher Q and A is available through December of this year. The following file was posted in our Live From Mars online newsletter (updates-lfm) back in mid-November but serves as a refresher for all on how to use this special interactive component of this project. THE MARS TEAM ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS The opportunity to send email questions to the men and women of the Mars team is available now until December of 1997. In most cases, you will receive a direct reply within 10 days to two weeks. We are grateful to the Mars folks for generously volunteering their time to support this service. The sections below will describe some guidelines and procedures for the process. K-12 students and teachers can email questions to researchers, engineers and support staff. This interaction will be supported by a "Smart Filter" which protects the professional from Internet overload by acting as a buffer. The actual email addresses of these experts will remain unlisted. Also, repetitive questions will be answered from an accumulating database of replies; thus the valued interaction with the experts will be saved for original questions. (More information about how you can directly search this database will follow later). TIPS FOR ASKING GOOD QUESTIONS Each and every expert is excited about connecting with classrooms. But it is important to remember that the time and energy of these people is extremely valuable. If possible, please review the materials available online to gain an overall understanding of the basics. It would be best to ask questions that are not easily answered elsewhere. For example, "What is the Mars Global Surveyor?" would not be an appropriate question. Questions which arise from reading a expert's biography or Field Journal are encouraged. We recognize that this creates a gray area about whether or not a question is appropriate. Simply use your best judgment. Since the main idea is to excite students about the wonders of science and research, please err on the side of having the students participate. If you are not sure whether or not to send a question, send it. Some teachers have used a group dynamic to refine the questions that they email to experts. For example, after first studying LFM material, students divide into groups and create a few questions per group. All of the questions are then shared, and students are given an opportunity to find answers to their classmates' questions. Those that remain unanswered are sent to the LFM team. Ideally, the act of sending questions will further engage the student in their learning. It may help to think back to an early stage of development when the 3-year-old learns that repeating the word "why" can get parents to do most of the work in a conversation The wise parent will try to get child involvement by asking "Why do you want to know?" The same is true in the classroom. Teachers might want to help students to learn to ask good questions. Here are three questions the students might ask themselves as they submit their questions: What do I want to know? Is this information to be found in a resource I could easily check (such as a school encyclopedia)? Why do I want to know it? (What will I do with the information? or How will I use what I learn?) The last question is the most interesting. Student reflection on why they want to know something is a very valuable learning experience. LOGISTICS OF SENDING IN QUESTIONS (ADDRESS AND FORMAT) Questions will be accepted from now through December 1997. To submit a question, mail it to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will acknowledge all questions immediately and answer as quickly as possible. In most cases we should be able to provide an answer within ten days to two weeks. In the subject field, please put the letters "QA:" before a descriptive subject. Also, provide a sentence of background information to help the experts understand the grade level of your students. The following example should illustrate this idea. TO: email@example.com FROM: your email address SUBJECT: QA: People in control room Hello, I am an 8th grader from Mt.View, California. In the television program, it seemed like there were a lot of people in the control center to control the mission to Mars. How many people normally work in this room? Thanks, Kelly Valentine ONE QUESTION PER MESSAGE If you or your class have several questions which are unrelated, we ask that you please send each unrelated question in a separate email message rather than as one message with many different questions. While this may be inconvenient, it is important because it will help us to keep track of the questions and ensure that no question remains unanswered. Messages that do not follow this request will be unnecessarily delayed as we go through the extra step of splitting up the messages ourselves. TWENTY QUESTION LIMIT Any individual teacher will be limited to submitting a total of twenty (20) questions every three months. Hopefully this will encourage more classroom discussion about what students want to know and will lead to research done before asking questions. THE QUESTION ARCHIVE All of the question/answer pairs will accumulate online for your browsing or searching pleasure. To visit this archive, use http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/ask/index.html as the starting point. ______________________________________________________________________ Good luck! I hope your students send their questions soon. Jan Wee, moderator of discuss-lfm