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November/December 2001 TOPS Newsletter

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News For Everyone

TOPS 2002 Applications

Please encourage teachers and students to apply for TOPS 2002. Applications are available on our Web site, http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/tops. Deadline is January 15 . We mailed TOPS 2002 brochures right after Thanksgiving, so we hope you have received yours by now. If you need more to post at your school or hand out to potential applicants, please contact Bev. Remember that you can also get the same information on our Web site.

NSF Teacher Training Program

Ute Kaden (TOPS 2000) says to check out the NSF teacher training program at http://hou.lbl.gov/. The program for 2002 comes with a stipend and graduate credit. Ute is currently participating in the online version of the "Hands On the Universe Workshop". This requires teaching at least 15 hours of astronomy to her students. Ute reports that astronomy topics enhance her physics curriculum perfectly and students are really interested in it. Thanks to TOPS she loves teaching it. (Thanks for the kind words, Ute.)

News for TOPS 2001 Participants

Stipends for 2001 Teachers

Please send your portfolios to Karen at IfA so that we can send you the rest of your stipend. Karen will return from a scientific meeting on Dec. 7 and begin reviewing portfolios at that time. For details about portfolio requirements, please see "Astronomy Teaching and Portfolio Assessment" in the "TOPS 2001 Spring Meeting 1" notebook.

Portfolio Checklist
  • Cover sheet
  • Checklist sheet
  • Introduction letter to the reader. (This contains two typed pages carefully describing what each piece of evidence is, why the evidence demonstrates how astronomy has been effectively integrated into a particular portion of your course, which state science or mathematics standards have been addressed, and a log of how much time you have devoted to making these changes.)
  • Evidence demonstrating where a particular astronomy topic fits into your course (e.g., syllabus)
  • Evidence of inclusion of astronomy in instruction (e.g., an assigned student instruction sheet, video, etc.)
  • Evidence of effectiveness (e.g., pre/post test question results, samples of student work, etc.)
  • Exit letter to reader: What will I do differently next time?

Science Highlights and Resources

TOPS Resources

We have re-structured the Tops Teacher resources web page (http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/tops/tresources.html) to now include the following:
  • TOPS related power point presentations
  • The Deep Impact cratering module
  • The Mars MOLA topography data at 1 degree resolution
In addition to the schedules, list of participants and contact information.

Europa's Icy Crust

Two University of Arizona scientists are studying the cratering process on Europa. This work is important in understanding ice thickness and the possible existence of a subsurface liquid ocean. Such an ocean could possibly harbor life. Those of you teaching the Deep Impact cratering lessons, plus Earth science and biology teachers, may be particularly interested in the press release.

Hubble Measures Atmosphere on World Around Another Star

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have made the first direct detection and chemical analysis of the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system. Chemistry teachers and those of you teaching lessons on extra-solar planets or the search for life may be particularly interested in the press release.

Origin of Sunspots

Scientists have produced the first detailed image of the inside of a sunspot. This new study is shedding light on one of the great mysteries of astrophysics - the origin of sunspots. Physics teachers may be particularly interested in the press release.

Origin of Comets

Observations made with the High-Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS) of Subaru Telescope have, for the first time, enabled astronomers to measure the formation temperature of ammonia ice in a comet. These observations provide us with not only direct evidence of the environment in which the comet was born, but also establish brand new methods for probing the origin of comets. Those of you teaching comet lessons and chemistry teachers may be particularly interested in the press release.

TOPS Alum Happenings

Meteor Shower

TOPS folks out watching the Leonids on Oahu included Jim Bedient, Alyce Ikeoka, Sophie Hu, Kris McCrone, Nick Bradley, Laura Fabrey, and Keli Ching. Bev would appreciate receiving comments from any of you who enjoyed the meteor shower.

Rowena Delavin's baby

Rowena Delavin (TOPS 2001) has welcomed a baby boy. Irene Fajardo (TOPS 2000) has been substituting for her. When Rowena returns to teaching on Dec. 10, she and Irene will begin their astronomy project. Congratulations, Rowena!

Fellowship for Rick Seidel

Rick Seidel (TOPS 2000) has been extended a full graduate fellowship in Marine Biology at the University of Guam. He will get a Master of Science in Tropical Marine Biology for free. Congratulations, Rick!

Followup Activities and Presentations

  • Carla Brooks (TOPS 2001) helped Kathy Chock (TOPS 2001) present the Mars Workshop at the Hawaii Science Teachers Association Conference. Kathy reports that Carla researched, planned, prepared, and presented an outstanding hands-on workshop about a "ball-type" rover on Mars. She had participants being the Martian wind and moving their rovers around the Martian landscape.
  • Kurt Woolslayer (TOPS 1999/2000/2001) is working with the Capstone Project with Starlab to align programs with national standards. Kurt gives a half-hour show at a different elementary school every week. On Sundays he is the planetarium assistant for observing. Kurt is working on a Master in Curriculum & Instruction degree with an astronomy content area.
  • Cassiano Soram (TOPS 2001) taught an astronomy class this semester to seniors, who all did well on the final exam. Cassiano was able to get the loan of a telescope from the local college on Pohnpei. Cassiano recently attended a PREL science conference in Honolulu and hopes to return with some of his students for another conference in February.
  • Belan Yoma (TOPS 2001) made a presentation about TOPS to Outward Bound students. The presentation was excellent, according to Cassiano.

Contact Information


Last Updated on December 8, 2001

This page has been visited times since Dec 2001.

Karen Meech, Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii
meech@ifa.hawaii.edu