Asking the Kuiper team your questions

The capability to send Email questions to the men and women of the Kuiper team is available from October 5 through November 17 1995. This message 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 researchers 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 does the Kuiper do?" would not be an appropriate question.

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.

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:

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 October 5 through November 17, 1995. To submit a question during these times, mail it to the following Email address:

We will acknowledge and answer all questions as quickly as possible. Our goal is to provide a basic acknowledgment immediately. In most cases we should be able to provide an answer within one week to ten days.

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.

FROM:           your Email address
SUBJECT:        QA: Naming of M42
I am a sixth grader from Teaneck, New Jersey.  In your recent report I read
about a star forming region called M42.  How did M42 get its boring name?
Thanks, Mavis Davis

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 during the life of the project. Hopefully this will encourage more classroom discussion about what students want to know and will lead to research done before asking questions.

Browsing answers to questions already asked

An archive of question/answer pairs of previously asked questions will be maintained. This archive is readily available.

Receiving all question/answer pairs as they get created

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. If you are interested in this feature, send an Email to:
Leave the subject blank and in the message body, write the words:
  subscribe answers-lfs 

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