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N E W S L E T T E R    # 4                      O C T O B E R  17, 1 9 9 5

** Exploring Space and Cyberspace **

Passport to Knowledge is, at its heart, a unique partnership between students, teachers, scientists, television producers, public and government agencies, cable companies, network operators, and community members of all ages and with diverse experiences.

A passport is a document that permits travel but does not determine the nature of the adventure. Passport to Knowledge offers a way to design an adventure in science but the nature of the travel is determined by the way in which people come together to design their own educational adventures. This week, more than in any single week, we saw what can happen when people around the world--and out in space--use advanced, technological bridges to join with each other to create a life-long learning adventure.

In this newsletter we generally describe what has taken place organized by these three different project resources:

                           |ELECOMPUTING, &

But this week, each of these sections have brief comments and resource information so we can add a special section on how all of these resources worked:


People from--on, across, and above America -- worked *** together *** to create a very exciting CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH THE KUIPER AIRBORNE OBSERVATORY, in many diverse locations, but VIRTUALLY in the same time and space.

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

This weeks programs were the FIRST-EVER two-way video to a plane in flight, involving technological wizardry, courtesy of NASA's Advanced Communications Technology Satellite, and much hard work from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, Lewis Research Center and Lockheed Martin, New Jersey. State-of-the-art technology was deployed not for missile systems but to serve education--an encouraging precedent, and a tribute to America's teachers and students.

"Live From the Stratosphere" THE VIDEO PROGRAMS

Science in the Stratosphere
The Pre-Flight Briefing
The Jupiter Mission
Night Flight to the Stars

VIDEOTAPES now available from NASA:

        NASA CORE,  Lorain County JVS
        15181 Route 58 South, Oberlin, OH 44074
        Phone: 216-774-1051,ext 293 or 294;  Fax: 216-774-2144

Programs will be rebroadcast on NASA Television
STILL TO COME: Return to the Stratosphere, October 31,1995

             ---====|   T E L E C O M P U T I N G   |=====---

The "real time" computer contacts DURING the LIVE programs allowed students to send their questions to the scientists as they were working out in space. Clearly this technology added to the sense of togetherness as students gathered in different locations to look out in space.

            ___                                                       ___
           |   | For information on all online features, send Email  |   |
  _-==-_   |   |          To:  info-lfs@quest.arc.nasa.gov           |   |
 /  ..  \__|   |                                                     |   |
/| `--' |___)  |        Gopher Server   quest.arc.nasa.gov           |   |
||      |  |   |       Live From the Stratosphere  Web site          |   |
(___\/___) |___|http://passporttoknowledge.com/lfs.html |___|

PLEASE COPY THIS DISK SERVICE is a service to help those with minimal access to the Internet. Online materials are copied to disks received through postal mail:

     B & R Samizdat Express
     P.O. Box 161
     West Roxbury, MA 02132

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

The week of October 8-14 saw a flurry of online interaction in the discuss-lfs forum. Over 60 messages were exchanged within a few days regarding everything from the live broadcasts to evaluation instruments; from personal victories acquiring satellite dishes to permission for camp-in's; from the specifics of conducting the star count activity to how Live From the Stratosphere is impacting classrooms across the country.

To register, receive the Teacher's Guide, NASA materials on astronomy, a poster, the "mini-kit", and to cover postage, and handling send $10.00 to:

       P.O. Box 1502
          Summit, New Jersey  07902-1502

               ---====|   T O G E T H E R   |=====---

First, --exhausted but pleased-- words from Executive Producer and Project Director Geoff Haines-Stiles:

PHEWWWWW! Seven and a half hours of live television in two days! NOT your usual sort of program schedule, but then--in the PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE project--live video and tape are delivery mechanisms for experiences, more than traditional tv. That's why we call PASSPORT a series of "electronic field trips": the video is designed to deliver faces, places, and processes to personalize and dramatize that higher level of information and interaction to be found online, and to climax the hands-on learning suggested by the print materials. This week's video was SPECIAL... and we hope you realize we were *all* a part of television history. Congratulations, ACTS team, and thanks.

The KAO team, teacher April Whitt (GI), students Brian Scott (TX) & Laura Smith (CA), showed that it was possible to have students travel with them via technology during a scientific research mission, and look over their shoulders. This was REAL SCIENCE, REAL SCIENTISTS, REAL LOCATIONS, REAL TIME. And we're delighted to find that "students of all ages" found this REAL exciting! Again, this is a precedent for future NASA missions, specifically SOFIA, the KAO's successor, but more generally for trips to Mars and beyond!

It prototyped what we hope will be part of future PASSPORT projects, a network of participants in schools and science centers, accessing the video through whatever means possible--PBS station, NASA TV, cable company, junior college (we have collected amazing "war stories" and creative solutions for transporting the tv signal into the classroom!) to structure an event which reflects local circumstances. PASSPORT proposes a menu of possibilities: local sites select and execute what works best for them.

So, thanks for your participation and interest. On to the last video program, but it's important to remember that the online components remain LIVE through November 17, and that there are many activities--star count follow-ups, KAO position plotting from the archived data--that can help tapes and text COME BACK TO LIFE for students in the months ahead.

AND PLEASE... THINK *** EVALUATION! *** Forms are in the Teacher's Guide (in print and online). We need detailed responses from you and your students to design future electronic field trips.

So, still, Onwards and Upwards
Geoff Haines-Stiles


Teacher, Chris Rowan details what this partnership looked like from his "local site."

...My class of 21 5th graders shared our school library with Mrs. Gauvreau's class of 20 5th graders. We watched the live broadcast on a huge screen TV, posted questions to the KAO team, worked on several activities from "The Guide," and generally had a very good time.

One thing I learned, though - When working with large groups, it's best to have them split into smaller "Work Groups" or "Study Groups." I'm going to arrange several "stations" for the children:

 Station 1: "The Main Event" - Big screen TV in library
            Students watch the LIVE broadcast and take notes to generate
            questions for the KAO Team

 Station 2: "The Research Lab" - My classroom
            a) Students use to research information on the KAO Team and the
               celestial objects
            b) Students will use computers to post questions to the
               KAO team (after they have been approved by an official "Night
               Flight" sponsor)

 Station 3:  "The Eatery" - The cafeteria
             "Time out" room for eating snacks and drinking beverages

 Station 4:  "The Exploration Station"  - A cluster of tables in the
             library with art media (construction paper, ditto paper,
             cylinders, yarn, cotton balls, etc.)to create models of
             the KAO, a solar system mobile, drawings, etc.

 Station 5:  "The Communications Station" - A cluster of tables in the library
             Students will use what they have learned to generate unique,
             thought-provoking questions to ask the KAO Team

My colleague remarked that she was really impressed with how my students acted as mentors to her students. As a result of the activities we conducted over the past few weeks, my students were "experts." They KNEW the KAO telescope detected infrared radiation . . .They KNEW how to convert UTC to CDT . . . They KNEW how to plot stars using declination and right ascension . . . In short, they knew a LOT.

While student missed some of the broadcast while posting messages to experts, writing "Thank You" letters for our donated satellite dish, or building a model of the KAO, they were engaged in relevant space science-related activity for FIVE HOURS on a FRIDAY NIGHT at SCHOOL . . . and (as subjective as this may sound) they had a GOOD TIME DOING IT.

Chris Rowan


And from Marilyn Wall we get these images of how a classroom activity can be transformed into a community education event:

Oct. 12: Columbus..move on over.......

The excitement in my classroom continued to build. My students excitedly compared their star count data with each other, and they felt like "real" research scientists as they entered their star count data on the LFS web page.

Each team worked furiously to complete their models of the Kuiper. I am amazed how students "take off" with a simple idea, and far exceed my expectations. To simulate the Kuiper's telescope, some students used old plastic glue stick containers making telescopes with their revolving ends. Another team used an old TicTac box covered with construction paper for Juan's work station, and paper cubes with detailed computer screens to represent the KAO's computer workstations. Finally, the students made paper stand-up people to represent the crew...Ben, Terri, Juan, April, Wendy etc.

From 2:30 to 5, their eyes were glued to the live broadcast. Not once did I hear the request, "Can I go to the restroom ?" Incredible!! One student commented "This is even better than being Columbus!"

The question asked by a classroom visitors was "Is this really live?" "Of course" piped in one of my students, "we're on the KAO!"

Friday's Star Party

That evening as students arrived with their parents, they escorted their parents around the room, explaining their stratosphere murals, their KAO models, and showing off their star charts and star data. We set up one computer with NGS's KidsNet software and used it's latitude and longitude component to plot the flight plan for Friday's flight.They showed parents the Web homepage for LFS and took them on the virtual tour. For most, this was their first exposure to the Internet. This evening I just stayed in the background and let the students be the teachers. As the broadcast began, parents and students crammed the room, sitting on chairs and on the floor...children sitting beside their parents and in their laps, telling their parents all about the KAO. How neat it was to listen to these student experts!

During the Friday broadcast, my principal arrived to join our star party. This pleased my students immensely that he thought to come. I think he too was impressed with magnitude of this event....all the resources that were brought together during the broadcast."


And from a Middle School: Donna O'Callaghan, 6th Grade Science Teacher Taylor Road Middle School had this to share:

We are on a team of 4 teachers with about 100 students participating in this project. We decided to do this as an interdisciplinary project - and it has been wonderful. We really appreciate the teacher's guide because it has allowed us to cover a lot of activities quickly!

On Friday night we're inviting parents to join us for "A Night Flight to the Stars." They will be changing classes with their child - going to each of the 4 teachers during the night and doing some hands-on activities. Students are bringing snacks. We will be taking pictures to send to the newspapers, and we will be videotaping the night. The teachers are hoping to go the state middle school convention and presenting this interdisciplinary unit to teachers across the state.

I've enjoyed reading what all of you are doing!! I did the Live from Antarctica program last year and could not get over how much the students gained from an electronic field trip. I'm glad this one is early in the year! It gets students HOOKED on learning!!


>From Barbara Weimann, teacher, English as a Second Language, high school

"I have students from all over the world. My students are in high school, but many of them are on the elementary level in terms of their language, science, and social studies background. Perhaps one might think my class couldn't benefit from the LFS project, however, I am using all the LFS materials, messages, updates, journals, questions and answers as our reading materials - as my vehicle for teaching vocabulary enrichment and reading comprehension skills. They will be getting science concepts at the same time. AND IT IS REAL! It is not dry workbooks, and textbooks. My students are very interested and motivated to learn all about the Kuiper and its activities. They listen attentively and enthusiastically. For some of them, from undeveloped countries, this is their first exposure to this sort of thing and they are getting much more than just English instruction."


>From Deborah Maraziti, Department of Astronomy, Williams College, MA:

I have to comment on the group of people we had in the observatory Friday night. At 7:30, about 50 senior citizens arrived as part of a tour group. After looking at Saturn, Jupiter, and the Andromeda galaxy, it was time for LFS to begin broadcasting. We switched NASA TV on; the entire group was *glued* to the set! They were fascinated not only by the science going on, but the very idea that all of the kids were involved and communicating across so many miles. They were so impressed; one man kept circulating through the room muttering, "Fabulous! Absolutely incredible!" Later, we had families with small children arrive (you may have seen some of them via our (CU-SeeMe camera) as well as college students doing observing projects. This program has touched the lives of many age groups! Thank you, everyone, for letting us play a part in it.


<<<<<< Working Together to Overcome Technical Obstacles: >>>>>

As you can tell from the excerpts, they are many different groups of partners who are *very excited* about LFS! There were also frustrations---new technologies, lack of easy access to the broadcasts, the challenge of organizing camp-in's, and even hurricanes and electrical blackouts had an impact!

Laura Bashlor, Shumate Middle School, Gibraltar, MI wrote:

"Whether this project will be a success or not still hangs on the smallest of details..... A modem was donated; an "orphaned" computer found in a counselling lab that is being fixed, but is 2 weeks late being returned; the principal arranged a phone line; the cable company has sent two employees to set up the dish I found in a storeroom. But the aftermath of Hurricane Opal kept the cable company from the roof on Thursday morning so the video of that day went on without my 3 classes."

>From Paul Watson Bar Nunn Elementary, Bar Nunn, WY

I got some great news today. I had been in contact with our local TCI cable company over the past three weeks to try and get them to put NASA TV on the community channel. Today they called and left a message saying we were a go for Thursday, Friday and the 31st. I guess it pays to keeping pushing.

>From Ginny Dexter, Hydesville, California, 5th 6th grade science teacher,

"I hope everyone had a great night. We are a small community tucked into the Redwoods. Tonight my whole science class came out to view the Kuiper, do science exploration activities, and enjoy a community meal. The Humboldt County Astronomers club set up their telescopes. The kids rearranged our room. We borrowed an Optic Kit and set up lights for students to view the different spectrums: yellow lights, black lights, white lights. We had heat sensitive paper, and computers with NASA CD's on mars and the moon.

Students "chatted" on the computer with other students who were also watching this event. THEN FRIDAY THE 13 HIT! and in a POOF all the electricity was out. It took PG&E an hour to come out. So the students went out and drew pictures of the telescopes and started designing and flying gliders. Electricity did not restore our reception so the students had to lookthrough the telescopes to see Jupiter and 4 very obvious moons, Saturn and a very clear ring, and other objects that were viewed by those who were in or with the Kuiper. The students and parents were spellbound... It was a wonderful clear night and even without electricity we felt connected in our own way. The kids used flashlights to show a reporter their Kuiper Workbook, Log and bulletin board display. They were very excited learners!! "


All in all, postings to the discuss-lfs list have been prolific, enthusiastic, and rich in support for each other and a sense of camaraderie. These teacher exchanges, like this suggestion made by Chris Rowan:

" I was wondering if it would be appropriate for the children to post summaries of their experiences to this discussion list. I have read many impressions given by teachers, but I haven't read much that was written by the children themselves. What did they learn? What did they like about it? What didn't they like about it? Do they have any suggestions for making these kinds of tele-travel more informative/engaging/interactive, etc.? "

To Chris and others, they are welcome to post examples of student work in discuss-lfs. There is also a "Student Gallery" reserved on the Web and Gopher archives (look under "Kids' stuff"). The intent of this space is to provide a place to display student-created work (writings, pictures, photos of models, etc). If your students have created something you'd like to share, please send us a copy and we'll put it online.

These partnerships have made the Live From the Stratosphere project an extraordinary experience for everyone involved! Over the upcoming weeks, we will continue to share the LFS experience and discuss the closure experiences --Astronomer's Logs, Reflecting on Stars, Space Poetry, and plans for the upcoming Live From the Hubble Space Telescope experience!


the Information Infrastructure and Technology Applications program of NASA's Office of High Performance Computing and Communications, the NASA Astrophysics Division, NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Education, and PBS K-12 Learning Services. It is also supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation.

Live From the Stratosphere is a Passport to Knowledge project. The video programs are a co-production of GEOFF HAINES-STILES PRODUCTIONS and MARYLAND PUBLIC TELEVISION. "Night Flight to the Stars" is co-presented by WNET/New York.




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LFS Newsletter Editor: Margaret Riel (mriel@weber.ucsd.edu)

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