Welcome to this special educators' section of the LIVE FROM THE SUN website. Whatever grade you teach, and whether your subject's science or social studies, math or art, we think we have something exciting for you and your students. And if you're a home-schooler, we trust these materials will connect you to the wider world. Please register so we can update you on the latest... and know our educator participants a little better!
LIVE FROM THE SUN! How can that be? No spacecraft yet designed can brave the Sun's incredible temperatures-not that there aren't plans on the dreaming boards. But "live" from the Sun is exactly what you get in the amazing real-time images you can see on the Internet from telescopes all around the world and from spacecraft now in orbit.
And "live" is certainly an apt description of the vital and involving interactions with some of Earth's leading researchers awaiting you and your students via the Web as part of LIVE FROM THE SUN. (Yes, PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE has found the solar physics community full of enthusiastic men and women with sunny dispositions, ready to share their lives and work!)
The Sun is the most massive object in our solar system, and the source and sustainer of all life on the surface of our planet. It shines, as the Bible says, on the just and the unjust alike-uniting all creatures on Earth under its gaze. To study it requires telescopes all around our planet, so that the Sun will never set on the eyes of science. It's literally all things to all people. Most of us just accept it, taking it for granted: a blinding, featureless white disk. Yet, in fact, our Sun is a star-the only one we can study close up. It's highly variable, with awesome and dramatic features shaped by vast magnetic fields. Understanding the Sun is a portal to physics, chemistry, biology and human culture. It's fusion reactions and Van Gogh's sunflowers. It was a god to be worshipped and will be a power source to be tapped. To know the Sun involves space, earth, physical and even life science, along with math, social studies, art and technology. (In fact, we estimate that topics covered during LIVE FROM THE SUN relate to 35-40% of all the middle school science standards, especially NAS/NRC Standards 3, 10, 11, 13, and 14, 15 and 16.)
Like the Sun, this Module is also designed to last: perhaps not another 5 billion years, but certainly through Solar Maximum, the peak of the 11-year solar cycle expected to climax in 2000 or 2001. And this Solar Max may unleash potentially disruptive effects on a global civilization now more than ever dependent on space-based communications. That's why we plan to keep this website active and updated. Come back often to see what's new and improved, and for news about new video and Web events! The Sun is eternal, and yet ever changing. We hope future students will benefit from your successes with preceding classes, and that you'll build on successful lessons and Activities each year!
The TIMSS studies of science and math education in America reveal a curriculum a "mile-wide and an inch-deep." LIVE FROM THE SUN, like all PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE Modules, allows teachers and students to cover much of the required curriculum within a unified and engaging context of related content and examples. TIMSS also found that the middle school years are critical: this is when America's ranking (at the very top in science in grade 4, and above average in math) tumble. The US is the only nation on Earth to drop during this period!
PTK Modules offer proven, standards-based materials for those critical middle grades. PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE also provides elementary teachers with content and activities to launch their students on the right path, and opportunities for high school students to look over the shoulders of real-world researchers to see how the scientific enterprise actually works-at NASA' Goddard Space Flight Center, NSO's Kitt Peak and Sacramento Peak, NOAA's Space Environment Center and Lockheed Martin, not just in a dry, out-dated textbook.
This special Teachers' section of the website also offers 3 complete hands-on Activities on the electromagnetic spectrum and some classic experiments to bring it to life for your students (Barcode of the Cosmos, The Sun Also Sets and Noon Shadows on the Equinox). A Teacher's Guide, which you can order by mail, fax or phone, provides 20 more Activities, grouped-like this site-under our 4 Themes (The Sun as a Star, How the Sun Works, The Sun-Earth Connection, and The Sun in Human History). A MultiMedia Kit is also available, including an original 56-page Factbook written especially for teachers with chapters relating to the 4 Themes, a Teacher Resource Video with Activities demonstrated by Master Teachers, posters, hands-on materials (diffraction gratings, UV beads, heat-sensitive paper), a NASA sponsored CD-ROM (The Dynamic Sun), other NASA materials, and a Lockheed Martin briefing book on the US-Japanese Yohkoh spacecraft, and more! See order for more information and to request materials.
We hope this website and its companion materials help you put real life into LIVE FROM THE SUN, and we thank you for your commitment to innovative science education.
Geoff Haines-Stiles Erna Akuginow
Project Director Executive Producer
PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE and the LIVE FROM specials