Texas Science Educators conferences coming up!

Link

The 2012 CAST (Texas Science Teachers Association) meeting is now in the history books.  I know one booth gave out 6,000 catalogs so there were at least that many teachers present.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this kind of event will be a life-changer for you.  Whatever level you teach or hope to teach there is something about being a part of a HUGE group of the best of the best to get a person excited and energized and full of new ideas!

The best part for us Northerners (Oklahomans, as seen by Texas) is that there are several such events coming up near us.  The future CAST meetings are:

Nov. 7-9, Houston (OK, so Houston is not so close – but think what kinds of field trips there will be with Galveston and NASA so close)

Nov 20-22, 2014, Dallas

Nov 12-14, Fort Worth

And… drumroll…. the BEST of the best of the best – the NSTA National Science Teachers national conference this spring in Dallas, April 11-14 .  If you can only make one day, do it!  It will be unimaginably big.  http://www.nsta.org/conferences/2013san/

How to spot satellites

Image from NASA

So you’re looking up at the stars one night and you see something up there moving… suddenly it goes out.  Was that a satellite?  Was it an airplane?

There are a lot of websites out there for watching satellites but the best, most comprehensive and one of the oldest is www.heavens-above.com.  I have been using it for almost as long as the internet itself has been around.

It’s great to know that at a certain time tonight you can step outside, look in a certain part of the sky, and maybe, just maybe, see a satellite suddenly appear and whiz by.

You will need your latitude and longitude; there are lots of ways to get that.  Then go to the heavens-above site and just play around with it.

The first and easiest is the ISS, followed by the Iridium satellites.  With practice you can even see the Iridiums in the daytime!  The best way is to practice on these two until you get pretty good at it – then there are hundreds more.  And, the site has lots and lots of other good information about spacecraft.  The more time you spend there, the more things you’ll want to try.

Keep these things in mind though:

1) Your fist help at arm’s length covers about 10 degrees.  Use that to measure altitude (Alt.) above the horizon.

2)  The direction (North, northeast, etc.) is given as a bearing and is called “Az.”.  East is 90, south is 180, west is 270, etc.

3) “Magnitude” is how bright the satellite will be.  The smaller the number the brighter it is.  Anything smaller (brighter) than zero will be very bright, like an airplane.

4) Airplanes often have their flashers on; satellites do not.

5) The light from a satellite is reflected from the Sun.  That’s why it will suddenly appear in the middle of the sky and will suddenly go out.  The website tell you exactly when these will happen.

6) The whole thing is an estimation.  It’s a sort of a sport.  Times may vary, usually a little later as the orbits decay unexpectedly, and magnitude can change too.

Have fun! and let us know how you did.  or didn’t.

Free Green School Training, with STEM components

OK GREEN SCHOOLS 2012 TRAINING REGISTRATION NOW OPEN
Please register below for one (or more) of our five FREE Oklahoma Green Schools Training sessions. Join us for one of these events to learn how the Oklahoma Green Schools Program works, review the Project Learning Tree (PLT) GreenSchools Investigations in the five topics: ENERGY, WATER, WASTE & RECYCLING, ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, and SCHOOL SITE (includes STEM-related activities), participate in small group discussions and peruse the toolkit. All sessions will be held from 9:00-11:00 am (except Weatherford which will be from 4:00-6:00 pm). Refreshments for each session are sponsored by Greenstar Recycling.

PLEASE DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO REGISTER! If we do not have at least fifteen (15) registrants three days prior to each event, the training session will be cancelled. You can help us increase registration by passing this email on to other folks you know who might be interested. We hope to see you in July or August at one of these events!

Click here to register: http://www.okgreenschools.org/okgs-training/

(View dates & locations below. Additional details are available on the website)

July 19—4:00 to 6:00 pm—Weatherford (SWOSU )
Host: Marie Pool, Clinton High School
Location: Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU), 100 Campus Drive, Weatherford, OK 73096

July 24—9:00 to 11:00am—Metro Career Academy— Oklahoma City (+optional tour)
Host: Barbara Loudermilk, Principal
Location: Metro Career Academy, 201 N.E. 48th, Oklahoma City, OK 73105
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July 31—Ada: East Central University (ECU)
Host: Dr. Douglas Weirick, Chair—ECU Department of Environmental Health Science
Location: ECU Physical and Environmental Sciences (PES) Building, Room 262

Aug 2—Bartlesville: OSU Extension Office (Dewey – suburb)
Host: Gale Mills, OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Educator
Location: Washington County Extension Office, 205 E 12th Street, PO Box 10, Dewey OK 74029

Aug 9 —Stillwater: Skyline Elementary (+optional tour)
Host: Andrea Rains, Skyline Principal
Location: 1402 E. Sunrise Ave., Stillwater, OK 74075

Thank you for your interest in our program!
Please direct questions to: info@oklahomagreenschools.org

Physics workshop for all levels – elementary and up

Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers:

  • 2012 AAPT/PTRA ToPPS II: Designed for In-Service Oklahoma Teachers of Physics and Physical Science, this professional development opportunity is a 5-day summer institute (with 2 follow-up sessions during the 2012 – 2013 academic year).  This is a very “hands-on,” “minds-on” professional development opportunity.  Those seeking to enhance their students’ learning in physics and physical science are encouraged to apply!
  • Details:

o   Summer institute runs July 9 – 13that the Alva campus of Northwestern Oklahoma State University

o   $600 stipend ($400 at end of 5-day summer institute; $100 for each follow-up session)

o   Free instructional/curriculum materials endorsed by AAPT (American Association of Physics Teachers)

o   High-tech and Low-tech equipment used

o   This year’s topics: Energy, Momentum and Impulse

o   Total of 40 hours of professional development (30 in July, 5 at each follow-up session)

o   Free on-site housing (if staying in dorms)

o   Website:  www.nwosu.edu/ToPPS

o   Participants may enroll in 3 hours of graduate EDUC, PHYS or PHSC credit to apply toward an advanced degree

o   A $100 refundable check will be required of applicants (checks will be returned at the close of the summer institute)

While this PD opportunity is designed for HS physics teachers, MS and ES teachers may also apply.  We are fully aware that science teachers wear many hats, and we want to encourage teachers of all grade levels to consider this opportunity.

 

Please let list members know that they can contact me directly if they have any questions.

 

Thank You!

Steve

 

Steven J. Maier, PhD

Chair, Department of Natural Science

Associate Professor of Physics

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

Science Building 107-B

709 Oklahoma Blvd.

Alva, OK  73717

 

sjmaier@nwosu.edu

580.327.8562 (o)

580.327.8556 (f)

History of Oklahoma Highways

Today seems to have evolved into an Oklahoma History theme.  Fine, let it go in that direction then.  Here is another one of Wes Kinsler’s sites that I have used often. This one is about the history of Oklahoma Highways.  It’s good for armchair traveling, either down the highway or backwards into time.

http://okhighways.wkinsler.com/

Oklahoma Bridges

A photographic history of bridges throughout Oklahoma, and some discussions and diagrams of the various kinds of trusses. Especially useful for students working on a balsa-wood bridge for Engineering Day!  The pages “Bridge Design” and “Oklahoma Bridge Types” would be excellent required reading for these students.

http://okbridges.wkinsler.com/