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February 2002 TOPS Newsletter

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News for Everyone

TOPS 2002 Participants

We are pleased to have the following teachers and students participating in the June workshop. Welcome to the TOPS ohana (family). We are also pleased to have so many returning teachers.

ChunTomKamehameha School (Hawaii)
Dela MadridLiliaYap High School (Yap)
EwenScotLanai High and Elementary (Hawaii)
FajardoIreneYap High School (Yap)
GiacobettiJeffreyKahuku Complex (Hawaii)
GovernorDonnaBrown-Barge Middle School (Florida)
HamaiJeanUniversity High School (Hawaii)
HemphillRosaOregon Episcopal School (Oregon)
HuSophiaMcKinley High School (Hawaii)
HuffmanSteveSacred Hearts Academy (Hawaii)
IkeokaAlyceLanakila Elementary School (Hawaii)
JonasMixonKosrae High School (Kosrae)
KepleyKathyMarshall Island High School (Marshall Islands)
Kim Jr.VictorMcKinley High School (Hawaii)
King-MockBethHonolulu District Office (Hawaii)
KobashigawaClydeKailua High School (Hawaii)
LombardiDougOak Ridge High School (Tennessee)
LonnoJacobKosrae High School (Kosrae)
MistryRiyadMarshall Islands High School (Marshall Islands)
NeedhamMarshaRed Lake Elementary (Minnesota)
PaulisPeterG.B. Harris (Palau)
ReedDennisMississippi School for Math and Science (Mississippi)
RichwinePebbleMiami High School (Oklahoma)
SoramCassianoPICS (Pohnpei)
BesebesRaquelMindszenty High School (Palau)
ClevengerKathleenMililani High School (Hawaii)
ElmMatthewKaiser High School (Hawaii)
HandleyJennyUniversity Laboratory High (Hawaii)
HoriokaNinaLa Pietra (Hawaii)
IgeRyanUniversity Laboratory School (Hawaii)
JohnsonBenjaminHilo High School (Hawaii)
JohnsonCoreyHilo High School (Hawaii)
MalakaiKathyPICS (Pohnpei)
MasiwemaiJohnSeven Day Adventist (Yap)
MatsumotoShawnUniversity Laboratory School (Hawaii)
NakamuraKellyIolani School (Hawaii)
OliverAdorPICS (Pohnpei)
PauloJuliusWaipahu High School (Hawaii)
PerkinsKiliKamehameha Schools (Hawaii)
SakimuraValerieUniversity Laboratory School (Hawaii)
StoraasliKristinKamehameha (Hawaii)
UrabeRyanUniversity Laboratory School (Hawaii)
WarrenKathleenSacred Hearts Acadamy (Hawaii)
YamadaShawnRoosevelt High School (Hawaii)
YangJessicaIolani School (Hawaii)

TOPS Awarded as a Science Prize

Participating as a TOPS student this year will be Melissa Lamberton of Tucson, Arizona. Melissa is the winner of the Discovery Challenge "Reaching for the Stars" award. The Discovery Challenge arranged with the University of Hawai'i Institute for Astronomy to award the TOPS workshop experience as the top prize.

Melissa won the prize with her project, "Hydraulic Conductivity." Melissa sought to determine a way to conserve limited water resources, since she is aware of the importance of water conservation in today's world. Melissa discovered that one way to conserve water is by recharging, or filtering water into a saturated zone where it can be saved as ground water in the soil. Melissa measured the hydraulic conductivity (or permeability) of southern Arizona soils to determine the best type of soil that can be used in recharge areas to help conserve water. Congratulations, Melissa, and welcome to TOPS.

Comet Tour Student/Teacher Contest

NASA is holding a comet tour challenge for teachers and students. The grand prize for the winners is a trip to Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral Spaceport, Florida, to witness the launch of the spacecraft, scheduled for July 1.

Students and their teachers are being challenged to devise a program to educate and involve their communities about Contour's goal to study at least two comets as they travel through the inner solar system. The spacecraft will provide the closest look ever at a comet's nucleus. The teams submitting the two winning programs -- one in grades 5 through 8 and one in grades 9 through 12 -- will be invited to attend four days of launch-related activities, including interviews with mission scientists and engineers, at Kennedy Space Center. Each team will be allowed a budget of up to $1,000 for its educational program. The winning teams, each consisting of a teacher and a student, will be chosen by a panel of educators and scientists on the basis of the originality and feasibility of the submitted plans.

For more information on the space mission and how to enter the competition, go to http://www.contour2002.org.

News for Teachers

Pilot Test Teachers Wanted

Middle and high school science teachers are invited to pilot test four classroom activities for the SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) Education and Outreach team. The application deadline is February 28. [Sorry for the short notice.] The hands-on lab activities in "Active Astronomy: Classroom Activities for Learning about Infrared Light" focus on improving student understanding of infrared light and are designed to supplement classroom instruction about the electromagnetic spectrum. The activities are aligned with the National Science Education Standards and are suitable for physical science, earth science, general and integrated science, astronomy, and physics courses. Pilot teachers will conduct the activities at least once, administer the student pre- and post-test surveys, and provide an evaluation of the activities. Pilot testing needs to be completed by May 15, 2002. For more information about applications and SOPHIA, go to their web site: http://www.sofia.usra.edu/.

Hawaii Technology Conference

Cheryl Shintani (2001) sends this information about participating in "Building a Community of Learners" on March 12-13, 2002, at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. Nainoa Thompson and Mary Montle Bacon are the keynote speakers at the 5th annual technology in education conference. More information is available on the Web site, http://www.k12.hi.us/~eschool/conf2002/. You can even register online.

Cheryl says, "This conference is a marvelous way to network with many people, organizations, and businesses to bring the best education to our classrooms. Perhaps next year, we can do a presentation on TOPS. (Applying for a workshop presenter happens around October.) Since this is a high tech conference, the presenters do PowerPoint presentations, video conferences with students and teachers from other states and countries, etc. Awesome networking for all those attending."

Skies of Mauna Kea Workshop

Up to 10 TOPS teachers can attend the Sky of Mauna Kea workshop for FREE. The dates are June 30-July 3 at the Royal Kona Resort on the Big Island. The Sky of Mauna Kea is a four-day program featuring two days of intensive lectures given by astronomers and engineers from the observatories atop Mauna Kea. These observatories will include the Keck, with the largest light gathering capacity in the world, the Canada - France - Hawaii, one of the outstanding telescopes of the world, and the 8-meter single piece Subaru. One day of the program will be spent doing comparative planetology to illustrate the similarities and differences between Earth and Mars. These lectures will provide preparation for the drive to the 13,000 foot summit of the world's tallest volcano to visit various observatories, including the Keck Observatory. The extreme altitude does restrict access to individuals in reasonably good health. Children under the age of 16 and pregnant women are not permitted to travel to the summit by observatory policy. The workshop director, Dr. Yanow, is presently the Outreach Coordinator for the Genesis Mission and is a member of the Deep Impact Project. He has been at JPL for 27 years. He has been a Principal Investigator on several NSF teacher enhancement and curriculum development programs. For more information about the workshop, see the Web site at http://www.engr.pitt.edu/chautauqua/astronomy.html.

NSTA Presentation Proposal Deadlines

TOPS teachers, consider making a presentation about TOPS at one of the NSTA conventions. Starting with NSTA's 2002 area conventions in Louisville, Ky., Portland, OR, and Albuquerque, NM, all session proposals for NSTA conventions are to be submitted online. This new procedure will allow NSTA to more quickly and efficiently process the large volume of session proposals now received for the various conventions.

Deadlines for 2002 area conventions have passed, but you can still submit a proposal for the Philadelphia convention, March 27-30, 2003. The deadline is April 15, 2002.

For more information about the conventions, please see the NSTA Web site convention page at http://www.nsta.org/conventions. To start the online proposal submission process, go to http://ecommerce.nsta.org/sessions/proposal_submission.asp.

Science Highlights and Resources

Internet-Based Telescope for High School Students

The Student Telescope Network (STN) is a collaborative project to enable high school students interested in astronomical observing to access a telescope with digital camera in a remote dark location via the Internet, and to pursue basic observational research. For information about the pilot project, and how to participate, students and their science teachers are invited to look at the Web site, www.youthinastronomy.org.


TOPS Alum Happenings

  • Onizuka Day Sophia Hu, Clyde Kobashigawa, Alyce Ikeoka, and Vic Kim presented TOPS hands-on acitivites at Onizuka Day in Hilo in January. They deserve medals for a day filled with unexpected adventures.

    • At the airport, Alyce had to take off her shoes for a security check, and the security people confiscated a pair of little scissors they found in her bag. Sophia was thoroughly scanned because her clothes contained too much metal.
    • They arrived safely in Hilo at 6 A.M., but the box with all their materials did not. So they went to the open-air market and bought fresh fruit. They also went to eat breakfast at a restaurant and met Cheryl Shintani there.
    • When they did get the box from the airport and checked in at Onizuka Day, they had to lug the box through pouring rain to several different rooms as organizers directed them to wrong rooms.
    • Their luggage did not come with them on the return flight either, so they chatted at Honolulu airport for an hour and then rewarded themselves with a delicious Chinese dinner.
    • Sophia forgot her house key and her husband would not be home when she returned. Thanks to Victor's cell phone, she could call her husband and make arrangements to get into the house.

  • Physics Open House Jean Hamai, Sophia Hu and Gheri Fouts all took students to the UH Physics Department open house. Jean's students included all five University Laboratory School students accepted for TOPS 2002. Jean sends this report.

    "Do we get extra credit?" "She doesn't give extra credit." "Do we have to dress up?" asked future TOPS 2002 participant Val Sakimura, who is more accustomed to open houses for her ballet performances.

    Juniors and seniors from University High School decided to opt for some learning just for the fun of it and showed up early Saturday morning at the Physics Dept. Open House at UH Manoa, Watanabe Hall, on 9 February 2002. The Welcome & Overview was given by Prof. Gaines to an auditorium of Oahu students. "Look around, this is what Physics 101 will look like, and everyone thinking they're going to get A's!"

    Groups of 10-15 were sorted and toured 4 of the 8 possible sites on topics including Electron Microscopy, Physics Labs, Belle Experiment, Free Electron Laser, Cosmic Ray Physics, Theoretical Physics, Super-Kamiokande & Kamland, and Physics & Toys (rememember Joe Laszlo, former TOPS 1999 teacher?). Our TOPS 2002 students (Ryan Urabe, Ryan Ige, Sean Matsumoto, Jenny Handley, Val Sakimura) and classmates enjoyed listening to professors as well as doing activities. The half-day tour gave students a sense of what physics will be like in the university, as well as exposure to the wonderful things going on in science.

    Students were thrilled to get an image of carbon nanotubes taken at 100 million magnification by the Scanning Tunneling Microsope! They also had fun making flutes, thinking about sound with Joe, found out that Theoretical Physics is not a fiction topic, and saw one of the neutrino catching bulbs used in the water tank in Japan.

    On Monday morning, students completed their "information encoding activity" (AKA pop quiz) with flying colors. Thank you TOPS staff for letting us know about this Open House opportunity at our last meeting. We had a lot of fun and appreciated being around some pretty hot topics.

    Gheri said that "I took ten Maryknoll physics students to the Physics Open House at UH and they wrote excellent descriptions of the research labs. It is important that students get the chance to see the excellent work that the Physics department there is involved in. Usually students in an introductory physics course spend most of their time in classical physics and often wonder what a Physicist does in today's world."

  • Science Fair Winner Chad Nishizuka (Clyde Kobashigawa's student) won his school's science fair with the variable star project he did with Jim Bedient.

Contact Information

Last Updated on February 26, 2002

This page has been visited times since February 2002.
Karen Meech, Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii