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EDUCATION

Exploring Small Worlds at Denver Museum of Nature & Science

by Judy Counley, McREL

  Participants' arrange the timeline of NASA's small bodies missions and targets.  
  Participants arrange the timeline of NASA's small bodies missions and targets.  

October 15, 2010 -- Denver, Colo. -- Thirty elementary, middle, and high school teachers participated in an educators’ A NASA Year of the Solar System event for K-12 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS) in Denver, Colorado.

Mid-continent Research for Education & Learning (McREL) teamed up with NASA’s Discovery Program missions, University of Maryland, and the Space Science Institute’s National Center of Interactive Learning (NCIL) to herald the EPOXI, Stardust-NExT and Dawn missions’ arrival at their respective comets and asteroids in the next twelve months. The timely workshop prepared educators for the Deep Impact spacecraft flyby of comet Hartley 2 November 4, 2010.


  Don Yeomans, Manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office talks about the impact on Comet Tempel 1 from the Deep Impact impactor.  
  Don Yeomans, Manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office, talks about the impact on comet Tempel 1 from the Deep Impact impactor.  

Don Yeomans, Manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office, extended the educators’ understanding of the architecture of the solar system to give context to the information and images he shared from the comet and asteroid missions. He also intrigued his audience with the Near-Earth Object Program’s ongoing research.

Amy Walsh from Ball Aerospace spoke to participants about tools that help us get a closer look at comets. With colleague, Alice Phinney, she shared mission activities to give a unique, real-life perspective on the science and engineering involved. NCIL introduced their new asteroid and comet exhibition designed for museum settings, Great Balls of Fire. An assortment of mission-related educational materials were presented in grade specific breakout sessions.

  Participant displays Vessta Model   Vesta Flipbook   Stereo in 3-D   Comet on a stick  
  Workshop participants engage in educational activities regarding the Dawn, EPOXI, and Stardust-NExT missions.  

Participants also had a chance to explore DMNS’s Space Odyssey exhibit. The action-packed day was topped off with a Star Party at the University of Denver’s Chamberlin Observatory.