IMAGE's POETRY Education and Outreach Activities

Volume 13, Number 3, September 1997
By Sten Odenwald and William Taylor

The Mid-Sized Explorer (MIDEX) Imager for Magnetopause to Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) satellite will be launched January 1, 2000, and as part of its mission to "image" the magnetosphere-to-auroral regions, it has set aside a portion of its approved budget to create K-12 education and public outreach opportunities called Public Outreach, Education, Teaching, and Reaching Youth (POETRY). POETRY members currently have an award-winning active Web site ( that provides a wide range of evolving activities for middle school physical science courses. POETRY also has a very popular "Ask the Space Scientist" area (supported by Sten Odenwald) that receives 15 to 20 questions per day and has a growing archive of 1,200+ questions and answers already posted and indexed. POETRY members are developing a number of publications and posters that will be distributed to middle schools to make science teachers aware of how Sun-Earth Connection and space weather forecasting activities can be used to stimulate and enrich the sixth through ninth grades physical science curriculum. POETRY members have also participated in a number of CuSeeMe and E-mail visits to classrooms across the country during the last year and plan to continue and enlarge this activity in subsequent years.

Sten Odenwald, third from left, answers questions from teachers and students on Goddard Education Day.

Following a successful POETRY Teachers Workshop at Goddard Space Flight Center on July 28-30, 1997, members start this next academic year with a small but growing ensemble of teachers who plan to contribute to the development of the POETRY resources and who will be using some of POETRY's ideas in their classrooms this year. By the time the IMAGE satellite is operational, POETRY classroom activities will be upgraded to use the minute-by-minute IMAGE data products to support space weather forecasting exercises and to study the impact of solar activity upon human activities in space and on the Earth. A network of participating schools in Canada, Alaska, and Scandinavia will be set up to provide daily observations of auroral activity for schools at lower latitudes. POETRY is also developing a variety of software products and "laboratory" simulations in which the student can interactively explore the basic concepts behind the solar wind, plasmas, magnetic fields, and other space physics issues.

In addition to the immediate emphasis upon the middle school curriculum, POETRY supports the Interactive NASA Space Physics Ionosphere Radio Experiments (INSPIRE) Program, which uses simple low-frequency receivers at over 1,000 participating high schools around the country to receive pre-programmed broadcasts from the MIR Space Station and the Space Shuttle. Moreover, as part of public outreach activities, POETRY staff have an on-going collaboration with the Houston Museum of Science in their Space Update kiosk, which is being expanded to include other museums across the country.

Through future workshops and educational products developed in the POETRY program, staff expect to develop and foster new opportunities for bringing space physics into the classroom to support the on-going national curriculum reform movement. For more information contact Sten Odenwald (Hughes STX/Code 630) at or William Taylor (Hughes STX/Code 630) at

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Miranda Beall,, (301) 286-0162
Hughes STX, Code 633, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, U.S.A.

Erin D. Gardner,, (301) 286-0163
Hughes STX, Code 633, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, U.S.A.

NASA home page GSFC home page GSFC organizational page

Author:Miranda Beall
Curators: Erin Gardner and Miranda Beall
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
Last Revised: 22 OCT 1997 [EDG]