Press


NASA Crowns 16 Educators as Hubble 'Top Stars'


For Immediate Release
June 15, 2010

Arlington, Va.--A planetarium show, student-authored wiki pages and a card game are among the entries selected as Top Stars in the fourth and final round of a NASA-sponsored contest that invited U.S. formal and informal educators to submit their best examples of using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in science, technology, engineering or mathematics education.

The Showcase section of the Top Stars Web site --
http://topstars.strategies.org -- includes downloadable materials from all Hubble activities selected as Top Stars.

The Top Stars contest is conducted by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) in cooperation with the Space Telescope Science Institute. Submissions were accepted from individuals and from teams of up to four members, and included any combination of text, graphics, video and photos.

"The variety, creativity and high quality of these materials are excellent examples of how Hubble and its images have inspired the creation of effective and diverse education products for all grade levels," said Bonnie McClain, NASA Hubble education plan co-lead.

And the winners are...

Keith Turner, a teacher at Carmel High School in Carmel, Ind., earned Top Stars honors with his final project for a grades 10-12 astronomy or Earth/space science course. The project challenges students to identify and explain stellar properties of a constellation and present their findings on a planetarium dome.

"Hubble has been a way for me to share the process of science with students, and how discovery generates new questions and unexpected results," said Turner, who was turned on to astronomy at a young age. "By the time I was 8, I had a small telescope I would look at the moon with. In sixth-grade I had a fabulous science teacher... who was passionate about astronomy. He took our class to the nearby... planetarium, and I was hooked."

One winning entry -- a planetarium show, created by informal educators AmyJo Proctor, Ron Proctor and Stacy Palen at Weber State University's Ott Planetarium in Ogden, Utah, and viewable online -- introduces the electromagnetic spectrum and multi-wavelength observation with images from Hubble and other space telescopes. Audiences learn how images are captured and what the colors tell us about the composition of deep-sky objects.

"Many planetarium show producers try to reproduce Great Observatory observations with 3D models instead of using the actual images -- these, while often lovely, fall flat because they are missing the scientific content and honesty that could be so inspiring to their audiences," the team wrote in its entry submission form. "We have developed techniques to give these 2D images a 3D feel, transforming the planetarium dome into a window on 3D space."

Another trio -- researchers Stephanie Slater, Timothy Slater and Daniel Lyons at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo., who work to improve the quantity and quality of astronomy teaching -- were recognized as Top Stars for a series of research-based lessons that use the Hubble Deep Field image to engage and educate undergraduate students not majoring in science. As part of the lessons, students generate their own research questions and investigate the characteristics and distribution of galaxies.

The following is a complete list of round-four winners:
Kareen Borders, Lakebay, Wash.: "Mission Hubble! Equipping the Next Generation of Explorers" (middle school);
Jacky Byatt, Houston, Texas: "Twenty Years of Hubble" (middle school);
Caroline Goode, Framingham, Mass.: "The Magic of Hubble" (informal education);
C. Renee James, Huntsville, Texas: "The Life and Death of Bob (a.k.a NGC 6397) in an Introductory College-Level Astronomy Course" (undergraduate);
Joan Labay-Marquez, Boerne, Texas: "Playground Planetarium" (elementary school);
Carrie Murray, West Chester, Ohio: "Hubble Space Telescope Inspired Research Wiki Pages" (elementary school);
AmyJo Proctor, Ron Proctor and Stacy Palen, Ogden, Utah: "Expanded View" (informal education);
Stephanie Slater, Timothy Slater and Daniel Lyons, Laramie, Wyo.: "Using HST to Scaffold Student-driven Scientific Inquiry" (undergraduate);
Brian Tanner and Dave Brown, Columbus, Ind.: "STS-125 Hubble 'Jr. Mission Experts' Program" (high school);
Keith Turner, Carmel, Ind.: "Adopt A Constellation: Final Project" (high school); and
John Williams, Golden, Colo.: "Hubble Star Cards" (informal education).
Recognition and Awards

All Top Stars winners receive the following recognition and awards:
A high-quality photo print (48" x 24") of a Hubble image;
Invitation to attend via teleconference a special briefing by a Hubble scientist or engineer; and
Recognition as Top Stars on NASA Web sites.

The top-10 Top Stars -- scheduled to be announced this summer -- will be recognized as "Gold Stars" and will receive the following in addition to the Top Stars prizes:
An official letter of commendation from NASA;
An invitation to present their entry to other educators nationwide using the NASA Digital Learning Network;
A pair of IMAX movie tickets that can be used to see "Hubble 3D;" and
A "Hubble 3D" movie poster for classroom display.

Also, educators selected as Gold Stars will be featured in articles on NASA's Web site.

For more information, please visit:
http://topstars.strategies.org

About the Hubble Space Telescope

The thousands of stunning images captured by Hubble since its launch 20 years ago have made possible numerous breakthroughs in our understanding of the universe, and thanks to a recent servicing mission Hubble is expected to live on through at least 2014.

About IGES

Located in Arlington, Va., IGES was established in 1994 and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization supported by public and private entities. IGES is a trusted leader in Earth and space science education, communication and outreach, and in fostering national and international cooperation in observing the Earth.

CONTACT
Dan Stillman
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
(703) 312-7138 (Phone)
(703) 312-8657 (FAX)
Email: dan_stillman@strategies.org

 

Trio of NASA 'Top Stars' Use Hubble to Educate and Inspire Next Generation of Explorers

For Immediate Release
December 30, 2009

Arlington, Va.--Both in life and in astronomy, Sam Singer is always looking for something extraordinary in the ordinary. Now, educators around the world can use Singer's "Extraordinary in the Ordinary" lesson plan and presentation to encourage students to do the same.

Singer, a teacher at Teton Science Schools in Kelly, Wyo., is one of three educators selected as the latest "Top Stars" in a NASA-sponsored contest that invites U.S. formal (K-12 and college) and informal educators to submit their best examples of using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in science, technology, engineering or mathematics education. He is joined by Karen Freiboth of Chicago, Ill., and Andrew Vanden Heuvel of Coopersville, Mich.

The Top Stars contest continues into 2010 and is conducted by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) in cooperation with the Space Telescope Science Institute. Submissions are accepted from individuals and from teams of up to four members, and may include any combination of text, graphics, video and photos.

"The quality of the materials produced by these newest Top Star winners, and the spirit with which they were developed, demonstrate how Hubble inspires educators to do good things," said Bonnie McClain, NASA Hubble education plan co-lead.

The lesson plan and presentation developed by Singer, intended for fourth grade and higher, use Hubble imagery to demonstrate the extraordinary nature in seemingly ordinary things, and to show that what some people find ordinary others find extraordinary, both in astronomy and in everyday life. The materials address national education standards in the Earth, space and physical sciences as they provide rationales for learning about astronomy, help explain how stars produce light and energy and how cameras and telescopes work, and introduce students to the thousands of galaxies pictured in the Hubble Deep Field and Hubble Ultra Deep Field images.

"Extraordinary in the Ordinary is the recurring theme I come back to in my work with astronomy and with my life," said Singer, who has built a telescope and established two observatories. "As an amateur astronomer, a mentor of outdoor educators, a teacher and as a curious human being, I always try to uncover the extraordinary nature of our universe that sometimes lies just underneath its ordinary surface."

Freiboth earned Top Stars recognition with the Hubble Space Telescope lesson booklets she developed for students in grades 3-5. The booklets, which are meant to be kept by students after completing the lesson, come in two parts and are  accompanied by a lesson plan and teacher's guides. Part one provides students with a brief history and background of Hubble and features a hands-on science and art project in which students make a photo album of Hubble images. Part two focuses on Hubble's final servicing mission and includes pictures from the spacewalks during which astronauts repaired and upgraded Hubble.

"It takes a great deal of critical thinking and problem solving to create a lesson from scratch," said Freiboth, who has a B.A. in elementary education from Northeastern Illinois University. "Due to all of the material that NASA has available ... I have been able to take plain blank white sheets of paper and transform them into educational lesson booklets."

Vanden Heuvel's winning Top Stars entry is the final exam from a high school astronomy course he taught in spring 2009. The course challenged students to conduct astronomical research projects with real data from telescopes. During the course, students learned how to make a color astronomical image. For the final exam, students were asked to make a beautiful color image from raw Hubble images. Along with the final exam instructions and raw images, Vanden Heuvel's Top Stars entry includes a digital astrophotography primer, a video demonstration and written directions.

"This final exam was not a recitation of facts or vocabulary terms, but rather was an opportunity for students to continue to learn and grow while they create for themselves one of the most stunning images ever captured," said Vanden Heuvel, who teaches physics and math at Grand River Preparatory High School in Kentwood, Mich. "In short, their final exam was to be an astronomer working with the Hubble Space Telescope."

The Showcase section of the Top Stars Web site includes downloadable materials from all Hubble activities selected as Top Stars to date.

"With the addition of these high-quality Hubble educations materials, the Top Stars Showcase is becoming an increasingly rich resource for educators working in formal and informal settings," said Theresa Schwerin, IGES vice president for education.

All Top Stars winners receive the following recognition and awards:

A high-quality photo print (48" x 24") of a Hubble image;
Invitation to attend via teleconference a special briefing by a Hubble scientist or engineer; and
Recognition as Top Stars on NASA Web sites.

At the end of the contest period, the top-10 Top Stars will be recognized as "Gold Stars" and will receive the following in addition to the Top Stars prizes:

An official letter of commendation from NASA;
An invitation to present their entry to other educators nationwide using the NASA Digital Learning Network;
A pair of IMAX movie tickets that can be used to see "Hubble 3D;" and
A "Hubble 3D" movie poster for classroom display.

Also, an article on NASA's Web site will feature educators selected as Gold Stars.

Top Stars are selected periodically during the contest period. The next deadline for entry is Feb. 28, 2010. Educators, including those who have already submitted entries, are allowed and encouraged to revise, improve and re-submit their entries.

For more information, including submission guidelines, please visit:

http://topstars.strategies.org

About Hubble

The thousands of stunning images captured by Hubble since its launch nearly 20 years ago have made possible numerous breakthroughs in our understanding of the universe, and thanks to a recent servicing mission Hubble is expected to live on through at least 2014.

About IGES

Located in Arlington, Va., IGES was established in 1994 and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization supported by public and private entities. IGES is a trusted leader in Earth and space science education, communication and outreach, and in fostering national and international cooperation in observing the Earth.

 

 

Newest NASA Top Star Uses Hubble Imagery to Inspire and Educate Children, Parents and Teachers

For Immediate Release
October 15, 2009


Arlington, Va.--Selected for his educational Web site, StarryCritters.com, John Williams of Golden, Colo., is the latest to be recognized as a "Top Star" in a new NASA-sponsored contest that invites U.S. formal (K-12 and college) and informal educators to submit their best examples of using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in science, technology, engineering or mathematics education.

The Top Stars contest continues through January 2010 and is conducted by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) in cooperation with the Space Telescope Science Institute. Submissions are accepted from individuals and from teams of up to four members, and may include any combination of text, graphics, video and photos.

StarryCritters.com is designed to help children, their parents and educators explore the universe together. The Web site uses a blog format to feature colorful imagery from Hubble and other spacecraft. Users can manipulate images with zoom and pan controls. Children are encouraged to use their imagination to look for patterns in the star clusters, nebulas and galaxies that are pictured. Each image is accompanied by a detailed explanation.

Williams says he got the idea for StarryCritters.com while making a presentation at a nature center. He says the children in the audience were captivated by Hubble images.

"They saw patterns and shapes and it struck me that the imagery really lends itself for releasing imaginations," Williams said. "And since children seem to respond to more interactive presentations, StarryCritters became a vehicle for that engagement."

Williams has served as a NASA Solar System Ambassador since 2005. Sponsored by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Solar System Ambassadors program oversees about 500 volunteers nationwide who help spread the word about JPL space exploration, including recent discoveries and future missions, by organizing and attending community events.

"John's site is a great example of how stunning Hubble imagery, presented in an innovative and interactive way, can engage and inspire young minds," said Bonnie McClain, NASA Hubble education plan co-lead.

StarryCritters.com is the fourth product to be featured in the Showcase section of the Top Stars Web site, which includes downloadable files for educators who wish to use the activities in formal or informal settings.

"StarryCritters is a fantastic addition to this growing collection of Hubble education materials," said Theresa Schwerin, IGES associate director for education. "The Top Stars Showcase allows educators across the U.S. and world to access high-quality content for use inside and outside the classroom."

As a Top Stars winner, Williams will receive the following recognition and awards:

A high-quality photo print (48" x 24") of a Hubble image;
Invitation to attend via teleconference a special briefing by a Hubble scientist or engineer; and
Recognition as Top Stars on NASA Web sites.

The top-10 Top Stars will be recognized as "Gold Stars" and will receive the following in addition to the Top Stars prizes:

An official letter of commendation from NASA;
An invitation to present their entry to other educators nationwide using the NASA Digital Learning Network;
A pair of IMAX movie tickets that can be used to see "Hubble 3D;" and
A "Hubble 3D" movie poster for classroom display.

Also, an article on NASA's Web site will feature educators selected as Gold Stars.

Top Stars will be selected periodically during the 2009-2010 school year according to the following schedule:

Entries submitted by:    Awards announced:
November 30, 2009    December 18, 2009
January 2, 2010    January 28, 2010

Gold Stars will be selected at the end of the full contest period, in late January 2010.

Educators, including those who have already submitted entries, are allowed and encouraged to revise, improve and re-submit their entries up to the final deadline of Jan. 2, 2010.

For more information, including submission guidelines, please visit:

http://topstars.strategies.org

About Hubble

The thousands of stunning images captured by Hubble since its launch nearly 20 years ago have made possible numerous breakthroughs in our understanding of the universe, and thanks to a recent servicing mission Hubble is expected to live on through at least 2014.

About IGES

Located in Arlington, Va., IGES was established in 1994 and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization supported by public and private entities. IGES is a trusted leader in Earth and space science education, communication and outreach, and in fostering national and international cooperation in observing the Earth.

 

 


 

First 'Top Stars' Selected in NASA-Sponsored Contest Recognizing Inspiring Uses of Hubble in Education
Contest continues; Entries accepted from individuals or teams


For Immediate Release
August 25, 2009

Arlington, Va.--Entries by Andrew Fraknoi of San Francisco, Calif., and Sheree' Kearns of Jacksonville, Fla., are the first to be selected as "Top Stars" in a new NASA-sponsored contest that invites U.S. formal (K-12 and college) and informal educators to submit their best examples of using Hubble in science, technology, engineering or mathematics education.


The Top Stars contest continues through January 2010 and is conducted by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) in cooperation with the Space Telescope Science Institute. Submissions are accepted from individuals and from teams of up to four members, and may include any combination of text, graphics, video and photos.


"The Hubble images are one of our civilization's great legacies, not just for science, but for education," Fraknoi said. "They make the astronomical objects we have taught about for years become vivid and unforgettable for our students."
 
Fraknoi, chair of the astronomy department at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, Calif., earned Top Stars honors for his activity in which undergraduate students pretend to be travel agents and use Hubble images to plan a honeymoon to 10 "visually and astronomically interesting places." The activity is designed to familiarize students with "the amazing repository of Hubble images, to get them to think about what it would be like to visit the objects ... and see some of them up close, and to help them see the Hubble images in context," according to a description provided by Fraknoi.


"I got the idea for this activity when students, toward the end of the introductory class, complained that there were so many beautiful pictures and strange objects discussed in my class that it was hard to sort them all out," said Fraknoi, who uses the activity in his "Astronomy for Poets" class. "So the activity uses the beauty of the Hubble images to help them sort through their textbook, their class notes, and the well-organized Hubble image gallery, and find those images that are the most meaningful to them."


Fraknoi has authored numerous books and articles on astronomy and astronomy education, is a frequent guest on radio and TV programs where he translates astronomy news for a lay audience, and was named the 2007 California Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.


Kearns, a senior flight director and facilities manager at the Kirby Smith Middle School Challenger Learning Center in Jacksonville, authored two entries selected as Top Stars --  "Galactic Brain Buster Game," a computer game that introduces high school students to astronomy and helps them distinguish between the different types of galaxies and stars, and the "Hubble Space Telescope Scavenger Hunt," an activity that challenges high school students to answer questions about Hubble by exploring articles, videos and photographs on the Hubble Web site.


"I have always believed the best way to remember something is to surround learning with fun activities that are minds-on and hands-on," Kearns said. "Games can ignite learning and challenge students to explore.  So using the format of question-and-answer games like Galactic Brain Buster and search games like Hubble Space Telescope Scavenger Hunt are natural extensions of play and are great avenues to promote retainable knowledge."


"Both of these educators have provided stellar examples of how creative and innovative lessons built around the Hubble Space Telescope can engage and inspire young minds," said Bonnie McClain, NASA Hubble education plan co-lead.


Top Stars selections are featured in the Showcase section of the Top Stars Web site, which includes downloadable files for educators who wish to use the activities in formal or informal settings.


"One of the most important results of the Top Stars contest will be the sharing of exemplary educational activities with educators across the U.S. and worldwide," said Theresa Schwerin, IGES associate director for education. "The Top Stars Web site will provide educators with access to the materials needed to conduct the activities in the classroom or elsewhere."


Fraknoi and Kearns, like all educators whose entries are selected as Top Stars, will receive the following recognition and awards:

  • A high-quality photo print (48" x 24") of a Hubble image;
  • Invitation to attend via teleconference a special briefing by a Hubble scientist or engineer; and
  • Recognition as Top Stars on NASA Web sites.

The top-10 Top Stars will be recognized as "Gold Stars" and will receive the following in addition to the Top Stars prizes:

  • An official letter of commendation from NASA;
  • An invitation to present their entry to other educators nationwide using the NASA Digital Learning Network;
  • A pair of IMAX movie tickets that can be used to see "Hubble 3D;" and
  • A "Hubble 3D" movie poster for classroom display.
  • Also, an article on NASA's Web site will feature educators selected as Gold Stars.


Top Stars will be selected periodically during the 2009-2010 school year according to the following schedule:


Entries submitted by:                                                        Awards announced:

May 29, 2009                                                                   June 30, 2009
August 30, 2009                                                               September 30, 2009
November 30, 2009                                                          December 18, 2009
January 2, 2010                                                               January 28, 2010

 

Gold Stars will be selected at the end of the full contest period, in late January 2010.


Educators, including those who have already submitted entries, are allowed and encouraged to revise, improve and re-submit their entries up to the final deadline of Jan. 2, 2010.


For more information, including submission guidelines, please visit:
http://topstars.strategies.org

About Hubble
The thousands of stunning images captured by Hubble since its launch nearly 20 years ago have made possible numerous breakthroughs in our understanding of the universe, and thanks to a recent servicing mission Hubble is expected to live on through at least 2014.

About IGES
Located in Arlington, Va., IGES was established in 1994 and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization supported by public and private entities. IGES is a trusted leader in Earth and space science education, communication and outreach, and in fostering national and international cooperation in observing the Earth.


CONTACT
Dan Stillman
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
(703) 312-7138 (Phone)
(703) 312-8657 (FAX)
Email: dan_stillman@strategies.org


Top Stars: Educators Invited to Submit Examples of Inspiring Uses of Hubble in Education
March 25, 2009


Top Stars Web Site: http://topstars.strategies.org
For almost 20 years, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has inspired and engaged educators and students of all ages. U.S. formal (K-12, college) and informal educators -- both individuals and teams of up to four members -- are invited to submit their best examples of using Hubble in science, technology, engineering or mathematics education.


Entries will be accepted from May 2009 to January 2010, and may include any combination of text, graphics, video and photos. Selected entries will be recognized as "Top Stars."


Educators selected as Top Stars will have their entry featured on the Top Stars Web site and will receive the following recognition and awards:

  • A high-quality photo print (48" x 24") of a Hubble image;
  • Invitation to attend via teleconference a special briefing by a Hubble scientist or engineer; and
  • Recognition as Top Stars on NASA Web sites.


The Top Stars contest is sponsored by NASA and is a project of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) in Arlington, Va.

Entries will be reviewed by IGES, NASA scientists and educators, and Top Star selections will be made periodically through the contest period according to the following schedule:


Entries submitted by:                                                        Awards announced:

May 29, 2009                                                                   June 30, 2009
August 30, 2009                                                               September 30, 2009
November 30, 2009                                                          December 18, 2009
January 2, 2010                                                               January 28, 2010

In addition, the top 10 Top Stars -- as selected by IGES staff, NASA scientists and educators -- will be recognized as "Gold Stars." These educators will receive an official letter of commendation from NASA, be featured in an article on Nasa.gov, be invited to present their entry to other educators nationwide over the NASA Digital Learning Network, and more.


The Top Stars Web site will begin accepting entries April 30, 2009. For more information, please visit:
http://topstars.strategies.org

About IGES
Located in Arlington, Va., IGES was established in 1994 and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization supported by public and private entities. IGES is a trusted leader in Earth and space science education, communication and outreach, and in fostering national and international cooperation in observing the Earth.


CONTACT
Dan Stillman
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
(703) 312-7138 (Phone)
(703) 312-8657 (FAX)
Email: dan_stillman@strategies.org