Press Release

10,000 Students to Attend “Frozen Worlds” Project at NASA Ames

By SpaceRef Editor
January 25, 2002
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NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: You are invited to attend “JASON
Project XIII: Frozen Worlds,” a series of live, one-hour satellite
telecasts Jan. 28 through Feb. 8, in the main auditorium, Bldg. N-201 at
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. Hands-on student
activities also will take place in historic Hangar 1. Each day, broadcasts
start at 7:00 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., PST.
There will be no JASON activities at Ames on Feb. 2 and 3. To reach Ames,
take the Moffett Field exit off Highway 101, and drive east to the main
gate. Journalists should report to the Visitor Badging office for vehicle
passes and directions to the main auditorium and Hangar 1. U.S. media
representatives must present valid press credentials or photo ID to enter
Ames.

Some 10,000 students from the greater San Francisco Bay area will interact
via satellite with scientists in Alaska during 50 telecasts Jan. 28 – Feb.
8 at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

During the broadcasts, local students from grades 3 to 12 can talk live by
satellite with scientists and students in polar regions who are studying
geology, climate change, native cultures, plants, animals and even the
bacteria of some of Earth’s colder places. These investigations are part of
“JASON Project XIII: Frozen Worlds.” Organizers intend to show students
connections between science concepts and real-world problems. Students also
will take part in many hands-on educational activities in historic Hangar 1
at Ames.

“In JASON, neither the teachers nor the students have the answers, and
young people and educators must find them together,” said science teacher
John Colombero, Ames’ JASON Project coordinator. “This is how real research
is accomplished.” The JASON Foundation, named in the spirit of the Greek
myth of Jason and the Argonauts, is a non-profit educational organization
with headquarters in Needham, Mass. NASA is one of many sponsors of JASON
activities each year that benefit students in the U.S. and abroad.

Each year the JASON Project focuses on an exotic theme and locations during
the school year to excite and engage students in science and technology.
After studying a unique environment for months, millions of students are
able to view and, in some cases, to interact live in real time with
researchers on the expedition site from primary interactive network sites.
Ames is one of 33 JASON primary interactive network sites located across
the United States, Canada, Bermuda and Europe.

This year students will be able to chat with ‘Argonauts’ on location in
Alaska. Argonauts are students and teachers selected by the JASON Project
to travel to JASON expedition sites.

“The JASON broadcasts offer students opportunities to see their peers take
part in real research as it actually happens,” said Thomas Clausen,
education officer at Ames. Eight educators are accompanying a team of
researchers and 25 student Argonauts from around the world on the
scientific journey to Alaska.

“They are examining the geologic nature of these locations as well as many
other things affecting the regions,” Colombero said. “How is the climate
changing? How is the ice pack being affected by climate change? What effect
does pollution have on the polar environment? Students study the native
peoples of Alaska and how their culture is affected by environmental
changes taking place. We will examine the plants, animals and even the
plankton and bacteria of these cold places.”

“The teachers and students participating in JASON have been preparing for
their visit to Ames since last fall,” Clausen said. Local teachers who take
part in JASON were required to attend a one-day class taught by scientists
and local educators. Teachers received a 250-page curriculum, videotapes,
compact discs, posters, maps and access to JASON Online. Using the
educational materials and on-line activities, teachers prepared their
students for the hour-long, live JASON broadcasts. The Internet site at
http://www.jasonproject.org includes ‘chat sessions’ with scientists, a
digital lab that provides experiments students can do on-line and other
information. Teachers even can manage their students’ class work with the
JASON website.

In addition to almost 10,000 students from more than 100 schools, Ames will
host at least 1,800 adults and teachers for the JASON activities. More than
2,700 of the students and 75 teachers are from 41 San Jose schools with a
concentration of diverse and under served student populations. The city of
San Jose’s Healthy Neighborhoods Venture Fund provided grant money that
enabled under served San Jose schools to bus students and teachers to JASON
activities at Ames.

The NASA Ames JASON Project and the Resource Area For Teachers (RAFT), San
Jose, Calif., collaborated to apply for the Healthy Neighborhoods fund that
also paid for teacher trainers. Additionally, RAFT provided supplies for
‘JASON City’ activities for students in Hangar 1. A major part of RAFT’s
mission is to donate computers and hands-on materials to Bay Area schools
and community groups at low cost. RAFT’s website is at: http://www.raft.net

Following each broadcast, students will go to Hangar 1 to take part in
hands-on JASON City activities designed to spark student interest in
science and engineering. Volunteer scientists and science organizations
will conduct the activities. They are mostly academic, but many of them are
fun, too, according to Colombero. “We’re going to do liquid nitrogen
demonstrations, freezing balls and plants and then smashing them into a
‘gazillion’ pieces,” he said. “We also have a make-a-walrus activity. The
students will dress their teachers in walrus parts for a ‘photo-op.'”

Organizers will provide a tall, walk-in freezer as large as a huge truck.
“Kids will get a chance to ‘chill out’ in the huge freezer,” said Clausen.
Programs in Hangar 1will repeat daily during JASON from 9:45 a.m. to 1:45
p.m. PST.

SpaceRef staff editor.