Responsible Official:
Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633

Last Revised: [NAB]

Sun-Earth Days

The NSSDC-managed Goddard component of the Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum (SECEF) recently sponsored an event called Sun-Earth Days. Sun-Earth Days “Having a Solar Blast” was a national celebration of the Sun, the space around the Earth (geospace), and how all of it affects life on our planet. The emphasis was to provide an opportunity to share the science about the Sun in classrooms, museums, planetaria, at NASA centers and during hundreds of concurrent National Astronomy Week celebrations. Sun-Earth Days was celebrated on April 27 and 28, 2001. There were more than 65 formal events arranged through the education support groups at several NASA field centers and numerous informal events, both national and international. Many of the informal events were connected to National Astronomy Week and the Fifth anniversary of ESA’s SOHO spacecraft. The international focus was through the efforts of ESA (European Space Agency) in 40 locations in Europe.

The formal education efforts involved educators in workshops learning about the science of the Sun-Earth Connection in accordance with the needs of the school districts and what is taught within the curriculum. Mission scientists took time to share their expertise during the workshops and in the classrooms. The science understanding was enhanced through numerous hands-on activities that educators could duplicate with their students. A Sun-Earth Days Web cast, hosted by Dr. Paul Mortfield of Stanford University, provided an opportunity for students to share data that they collected about the Sun. There were three activities promoted for the event, on three levels suitable for elementary, middle and high school students. It was estimated that 10,000 students participated in the Web cast. During the Web cast there was an opportunity for students to ask questions and learn about career opportunities from the scientists who participated.

Scenes of student activities on Sun-Earth Days at various sites.

Scenes of student activities on Sun-Earth Days at various sites.

Support Materials for the event were available. “The Educator’s Kit” reached 9,000 educators. The materials were contained in a geospace folder. The materials included background information, activities and images suitable for classroom use. A Web site was developed to provide support for the event as well. In March and April, prior to the event, the monthly hits peaked at 150,000. The Web site provided resources, documentaries, misconceptions, images and special programming announcements. Included was online registration to participate that also served as a list serve for weekly announcements and updates, 58 scientists registered and 267 educators. Also included were hands-on activities, Web site links for additional resources, events in local areas, images, and information to participate in the Web cast.

This Web site, is still accessible and has been updated to reflect some of the events as they happened on Sun-Earth Days.

The Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum seeks high-leverage activities through partnerships and makes connections with extant education networks that engage the Space Science Community. These efforts help to sustain participation in Education and Public Outreach (EPO), provide national coordination and dissemination of EPO activities and give long-term access to EPO products and programs. Our goals are to provide tools, resources, and assistance for the K-14 community, and to contribute to the scientific literacy of the general public through high visibility events. We were pleased with the results of our first Sun-Earth Days and look forward to supportinga second Sun-Earth Day in March 2002. end of paragraph mark

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