findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are
those of the developer, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE, and do not necessarily
reflect those of the National Science Foundation.
To MARS with MER - GET INVOLVED!
Tips For Asking A Good Question
WHAT MAKES FOR A "GOOD" QUESTION
following provides guidelines and procedures (primarily to inform teachers)
designed to make the ON-AIR process productive and practical for all concerned.
and every expert is excited about connecting with you and your students. 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,
at this site or those linked to it, to gain an overall understanding of their
research, and the places where they work. It would be best to ask questions that are
not easily answered elsewhere.
recognize that this creates a gray area about whether or not a question is appropriate.
Use your best judgment. For example, a question that led to one of the liveliest
and most memorable interactions during LIVE FROM ANTARCTICA might easily have
been rejected by those following our advice too slavishly: "Do penguins have
knees?" Since the main idea of P2K's "To MARS with MER" project is
to excite students about the wonders of science and research, please err on
the side of having students participate. If you are not sure whether or not
to send a question, send it.
teachers have used class discussion to refine questions before they submit them
to the experts. For example, after first studying "To MARS with MER"
materials and doing some Activities, students can divide up into groups and
create several questions per group. All of the questions can then be shared
with the whole class, and students can be challenged to find answers to their
classmates' questions from local resources. Those questions which remain unanswered
or seem particularly interesting can then be sent along to the "To MARS with MER" team.
the act of formulating and then posing questions is itself a learning experience.
It may help to think back to an early stage of a child's development when 3
year-olds learn that simply repeating the word "why?" can get parents to do
most of the work in a conversation. The wise parent will try to get their child
involved (and break the WHY train!) by asking, "And WHY do YOU want to know?"
The same is true in the classroom. Teachers might use the incentive of making
contact with real world researchers to motivate students to learn to ask good
are three things students might ask themselves as they prepare their questions:
What do I want
Can this information
be found in a resource that I could easily check (such as a school encyclopedia,
whether print or CD-ROM)?
Why do I want
to know it? (What will I do with the information? 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. Have students record their questions
in their MARSLogs and enter answers received from any component of "To MARS with MER"
answers from experts, the videos, or from hands-on Activities suggested in the
procedures to make things run smoothly:
We ask that you please send each unrelated question in a separate message rather
than as one message with many different questions. While this may be inconvenient,
it is important because it will help us make sure your question goes to the
correct researcher and - we hope - that no question remains unanswered.
Any individual teacher will be limited to submitting a total of 25 questions
per class. We hope this will encourage more discussions about what students
really want to know and will lead to research being done before asking questions.
Please check the ON-AIR archives below to make sure your question has not already been answered.
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE is very grateful to Steve Collins, Attitude Control, Rob Landis, Systems Engineer, Eddie Tunstel, Senior Robotics Engineer, Terry Wysocky, System Engineer Senior, Todd Barber, Propulsion Engineer, Paulo Souza, PDL Mossbauer, Mike Pauken, Thermal Engineer, Sheri Klug, Mars Space Flight Facility, Arizona State University, Janice Bishop, SETI Institute P.I., NASA Ames Research Center, Diane Bollen, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Cornell University for generously contributing their time and knowledge to support this unique service.
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE is very grateful to Steve Squyres, Don Banfield, Diane Bollen, and Pam Smith at Cornell University, Steve Collins, Jose Guzman, David E. Herman, Ramiro Perez, Mark Maimone, Mark Powell and Randy Lindemann at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Steve Ruff, Laura Mehall, Trevor Graff, Amy Knudson, Tim Glotch, and Alice Baldridge at the Arizona State University Mars Space Flight Facility for generously contributing their time and knowledge to support this
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE is very grateful to Larry Bryant, Mary Beth Murrill, Erik Pounders, Marla Thornton and Christine Johnson at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Laura Aben, Trevor Graff, Scott Nowicki, Keith Watt, Tim Glotch, Dr. James W. Rice, Jr. and Sheri Klug at the Arizona State University Mars Space Flight Facility for generously contributing their time and knowledge to support this
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE is very grateful to David Spencer, Robert A. Mase, Peter Poon, Michael Gayle, Larry Bryant, Daniel.F.Finnerty, Erik Pounders, and Christine Johnson at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Laura Mehall, Scott Nowicki, Tim Glotch, Kelly Bender, Amy Knudson, Dr. James W. Rice, Jr., Deanne Rogers, and Sheri Klug at the Arizona State University Mars Space Flight Facility, Joshua L. Bandfield from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Paul Delaune, Fadi M. Riman, Jeff Bahr and Robert Dunn from NASA's Johnson Space Flight Center, and Chris Shinohara, Chuck Fellows, Heather Enos from the Department of Planetary Sciences and Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona for generously contributing their time and knowledge to support this