PART 1: Sending questions to the experts 


The capability to send Email questions to the men and women of the Kuiper
team is now available. 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).

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:
 -  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.

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: question-lfs@quest.arc.nasa.gov.

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:             question-lfs@quest.arc.nasa.gov
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?
Mavis Davis

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.

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.

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.

An archive of question/answer pairs of previously asked questions will be
maintained.  This archive can accessed using the Internet tool called
World Wide Web.  It will also be available using basic Email.

Using a Web browser, connect to this URL:
A capability to automatically return interesting question/answer pairs is
also available. This will operate through regular Email.  The system relies
on the sender choosing one or more keywords related to their interest.
Every existing question/answer pair will be searched to see if it contains
the keywords.  The five pairs which best match the keywords will be
returned automatically.

The Email messages to activate this searching should be sent to
search-question-lfs@quest.arc.nasa.gov.  The format of this message should
simply list the keyword or words on the first line of the message.  Multiple
keywords should be separated by a space.  The following message is an
example of a sample query:

TO:             search-question-lfs@quest.arc.nasa.gov
FROM:           your Email address
SUBJECT:        (not necessary)
M42 name

This query would be likely to return an answer to the question posed above.

It may be necessary to try several attempts with different keywords in order
to produce satisfactory results.  Multiple keywords will first initiate
searches for messages that contain BOTH keywords as opposed to messages
that contain one or the other keyword (keywords are first ANDed, not ORed).

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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