Teacher WebChat Feb. 25

GHS: Hello, everyone, welcome to LIVE FROM THE SUN, Chat #1!

Jeff: Is there a specific URL for online class materials or did you need to buy the Kit?

GHS: As PTK Guides have grown, and grown, we've found the 20 plus Activities plus worksheets form a pretty unwieldy online offering, and also found that many teachers seem to like the convenience of having something in hand when connections go down.

There are 3 full Activities posted online--actually one is about half-posted--plus the Opening Activities. You can access them at the moment via the UPDATES Archive, but when the site goes fully live--in about a week, they will be in the TEACHERS section.

Charlie Lindgren: Hi Geoff, sorry I didn't get through yesterday.

GHS: Charlie: No problem, and how are your snowdrifts today???

Charlie Lindgren: We have about 9" of lead! I've never seen snow this heavy!

Steele Hill: What PBS program is going to be carrying your show?

GHS: Steele: In your area, MPT will be carrying both programs at the
announced time and date.

Steele Hill: I suppose I should pass along the good word that several people here have said that they love the new poster.

Tim McCollum: Hi all--Tim signing on.

GHS: Sarah: I believe you are teaching in a DOD school in Belgium?

Sarah Balace: Yes, Geoff. Good to see you here.

Charlie Lindgren: Does Belgium get to see totality this summer?

Sarah Balace: As far as I know, totality is for Romania, but we're just one time zone away, so I don't know if we'll notice the difference.

GHS: All--I think some folks who were here got bumped off--as I did a couple of times, so if any of you get evicted, please just rejoin!

Steele Hill: A question for teachers--was the $150 for the Kit hard to get or justify?

Eileen Bendixsen: Steele--I have a petty cash amount that I can use for items such as purchasing the Kit. All I have to do is submit the receipt.

Charlie Lindgren: It might be a good idea to make that a budget item in the future.

Sarah Balace: Regarding budgets, we've only been able to have priority one requests funded--partially, so LFSUN is not funded by the school. Maybe our PTSO would be willing to listen, but they want to wait until after our auction for requests of this sort. The Kit will come out of my pocket, again, in all probability. How about you others?

Tim McCollum: Just got a catalog today with a model of ISS for $699. $150 for all the LFSUN Kit includes is a bargain.

Sarah Balace: We finally had some sunshine today--blinding sunshine!!! Is it true that the mylar bags from toaster pastries or chips are adequate for protecting the eyes from the Sun?

Charlie Lindgren: That sounds dangerous. Too big a risk of damage.

Tim--I loved the sequence on magnetism. The salad containers work much better than the pill bottles.

Tim McCollum: Thanks Charlie--Looked for a clear vegetable oil, but could only find yellow. Not as good results as seen at ISTP workshop, but the kids got the idea. The salt model for a galaxy looks super.

Charlie Lindgren: David Glaser had an interesting point about the educationally challenged kid enjoying "Billions and Billions" more than others.

Jeff: Thank you--we had network problems for the last 15 minutes so I was out of the loop.

GHS: All of the Activities are part of the Guide Pack, which contains the poster which we're pleased to hear folks at NASA Goddard like, the Guide and the copy masters of the student worksheets: $30.00.

Cathy McQuone: I feel overwhelmed with all of the information. The Kit materials are great and so is the info from the listserv. Is there a timeline or sequence of activities available other than the one in the Teacher's Guide?

GHS: Cathy--I think Eileen is probably going to provide an answer, but one of the great things about the Internet is the way those PTK Advocates--aka MENTORS, to be found under the TEACHERS section, are really willing and able to provide suggestions about some of these kinds of issues.

Charlie Lindgren: Cathy--I think one of the best things about PTK is that you can pick and choose.

Eileen Bendixsen: Cathy--There is no real timeline for the activities. Teachers do basically what fits into their schedule. I personally like to do the entire project at one time. I fell that this works best for my students and they like the fact we spend a longer period of time covering the material. I try to do as many activities as I can in the Teacher's Guide. I always do the collaborative activity with my students. We submit questions to the scientists and also I integrate the broadcasts into what I do.

GHS: And speaking of MENTORS, Tim and Charlie, what have YOU found works best as a timetable to implement a PTK Module???

Charlie Lindgren: Don't feel YOU have to do everything. I'm giving the "Solar Monuments" activity to our sixth grade. It's a perfect match for their ancient cultures social studies curriculum!

Tim McCollum: Ditto to Charlie--there has yet to be a PTK module in which we've done all the activities. You are the expert when it comes to your own kids and which type of activities would be the most effective.

Charlie Lindgren: Each one has been different. Hubble I did all at once. Live from Mars I went to and came back to. There is no simple answer.

Cathy McQuone:
I looked at the CD and thought the presentation is great. I tried to print the teacher's guide and it did not work. Is the teacher's guide on the CD the same or different from the book?

GHS: Cathy: Steele Hill is the "author" of the CD-ROM that's included in the Kit.

Steele Hill: Cathy--the teacher's guide for the CD is specifically for the presentation on the CD. Do not know why it would not print. It should.

Cathy McQuone: Are we allowed to make copies of the CD? I would like to check it out to students who have computers at home!

Steele Hill: Cathy--if you have a way to copy it, be my guest. The Readme file tells you how to get more copies too.

Cathy McQuone: I was interviewed by a local TV channel about teacher training. I took advantage and showed how PTK is better than a book. Even though some was cut, the TV showed the solar flare from the presentation on CD? It looked great on TV.

Sarah Balace:
Eileen--will this chat be published somewhere so we can go back to it later? My eyelids are slamming shut on me, so I'd better get some sleep. Good luck with the chat.

Eileen Bendixsen: Sarah--Yes, we will have an archive of this and all of our chats. Take care. Glad you could join us even with the time difference

Sarah Balace: Thanks, Eileen. See you all in e-mail. Bye for now.

Cathy McQuone: Charlie--I was impressed with your sunset picture. Do you use NIH image with any of these lessons?

Charlie Lindgren: OH, you've touched a nerve when you say NIH. Yes I do use it with some of them.

Cathy McQuone: Charlie--what nerve is touched with NIH?

Charlie Lindgren: I just enjoy using it with my kids. Almost every lesson has SOME image processing application. It's a shame that apparently so few teachers use it.

In addition to doing the regular measuring of the Sun's shadow length, we've also measured it's angle. I took digital photos of the kids doing the measuring, then we put the photos into NIH to measure the angles.

Cathy McQuone: Does any one else feel lonely when listening to the kinds of things Charlie is doing? I try to learn on my own but no one else in my school even knows what I am asking about let alone help me with it. I struggle to learn. It takes so much time. I get tired

Charlie Lindgren: That's why I love programs like these. This is where the educational cutting edge has moved to!

GHS: Cathy, we sure hope that one function of PTK is to use the Net to let teachers like y'all, who go the extra mile for their kids, know that there are lots of others out there--and to use DISCUSS as a way of sharing ideas. As a last round-up, do you "PTK Vets" feel it works like that???

Eileen Bendixsen: One of the things I have always felt PTK did was make we not feel as if I was alone. Even when I first started I always felt there was someone to answer my questions and that all of the teachers involved were doing the project together. It wasn't just a group of teachers collecting and submitting data together.

Charlie Lindgren: Yes. I get more and more ideas from listening to these folks. I also have an audience for my wild schemes!

Susan Hurstcalderone: I think the strength of PTK is the community support. No matter what, there is always someone willing to share an idea, help with a problem, and make suggestions for improvement to an activity.

Tim McCollum: In my early days of PTK my efforts were limited mainly to the discuss list and viewing the broadcasts with my classes. After a several week absence from the list I sent another message and received a personal "welcome back" from the moderator.

Laura: I hardly ever send a message through DISCUSS, I use it as a guide and resource on how to introduce activities to my students.

Cathy McQuone: I was on the LIVE FROM THE SUN website yesterday. It says it is a preview site. What will be different when it is NON-preview?

GHS: Cathy--when the LFSUN site expands it will have the following features: STUDY THE SUN will house BIOGRAPHIES from all the sites we'll visit, including those from UPDATES, but also others, all with images to show you who the participants are. There will be SITE TOURS, so that you can browse around NASA Goddard, or Kitt Peak at your own pace. There will be much more content in the 4 Theme sections--and more than I can type right now!!! So, bottom line, lots more than in the Preview site.

Charlie Lindgren: Cathy--how does Passport to the Sun fit your high school curriculum?

Cathy McQuone: It fits wonderfully. On my web page under purpose are the curriculum frameworks for Integrated Science. PTK covers all of the astro-space concepts. I need to tie in the other planets and some outer space concepts, but since they are also SUNS, there should not be a problem accomplishing this.

I was impressed with the video. GHS is great on it. The materials suggested it is for teachers not students. I thought I would use some of the explanation segments in class. How do other teachers use it?

Charlie Lindgren: Well I have 25 kids who want to see "Billions and Billions!"

Eileen Bendixsen: I've never used the Teacher Resource Tape with my students before, but I will this one. I feel the first part of the tape shows some great simulations I plan to use.

Cathy McQuone: I created a class email account for each of the six classes I teach. Will there be a listserv for students?

Eileen Bendixsen: Cathy--when we start the collaborative activity we will be setting up a listserv where students can post messages. We encourage teachers to have the students do as much of the work as possible, but we want them to stay on task and not just post chat messages. We tried to set up discussion groups last year for LIVE FROM THE RAINFOREST, but they never seemed to get off the ground.

Charlie Lindgren: The stove just buzzed. My supper is ready and we still have power. I've got to go. Clear Skies.

Laura: Early on teachers posted information on how often they are using LIVE FROM THE SUN in the classroom. Either as a one day a week enrichment or as a 6 week unit. Would some of you post how often you will be doing this in the classroom over the next few months?

Eileen Bendixsen: Laura--I am planning to use the project with my students during the month of March and April. I am giving the pre-test to my classes tomorrow and will begin on Monday with some of the activities. We have been doing the Solar Monuments project since Dec. off and on.

Laura: This is the third PTK project I have done with my students. I know each time that it gets easier. I always feel like I'm not allowing enough time for students to participate and I have to leave some things out. I would like some advice on management of email, WebChats and website creation.

Cathy McQuone: I appreciate all of the suggestions from you. I will continue to learn from DISCUSS. I must sign off now. Thanks to all of you.

Eileen Bendixsen: Even with dedicating the two months I still don't have time to do everything. I usually end up prioritizing what I want to accomplish. I do a number of activities in the Guide. I use the broadcasts and always the online collaborative activities. I also use the opportunities to ask questions of the scientists.

Laura: I have a group of 6th graders so any advice or ways that I can add math to the activities. We will be in the middle of fractions so any ideas would be great.

Eileen Bendixsen: This unit has plenty of places where math can be incorporated. "Billions and Billions" in some ways is more math than anything else. Fractions can easily be used. What fraction of the container or what fraction of the room are just a couple of examples. I plan to have my students do quite a bit of graphing. I've found seventh graders in the past do not know how to graph. They still want to put their numbers in the spaces and not on the lines. I think this is not only an important math concept, but also a science concept. I'm sure as we go along there will be other opportunities to use math.

Laura: I came in late so will use DISCUSS to continue my questions, plus the end of the day bell is about to ring and I need to get organized.

Eileen Bendixsen: I would like to thank everyone for being here today. The transcript will be edited and placed on the LIVE FROM THE SUN website for everyone to read.