Press Release

Project officially kicks off with delivery of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center study guides to 6th graders in five counties

By SpaceRef Editor
February 12, 2002
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15th Von Braun Forum celebrates science with multimedia show, youth
writing competition and educational outreach

For 15 years, the Von Braun Forum has celebrated Dr. Wernher von
Braun’s contributions to the Tennessee Valley and the U. S. Space
Program with speakers who have a love for space science and the space
program — John Denver, Dr. James Burke, and Walter Cronkite, among
others.

But this year’s Von Braun Forum features a new focus and format.
Rather than a single event highlighting a high-profile speaker, this
year’s Von Braun Forum is actually a series of projects that build
toward a highly produced multimedia show April 6 at the Von Braun
Center in Huntsville, Ala.A

Multimedia Experience – The “Unseen Majesty of Science”

The multimedia show, the “Unseen Majesty of Science,” celebrates the
contributions of engineers and scientists, and has several elements.
Visually, it intertwines images from space and space sciences with
technology-themed artwork on three 15-by-20 foot screens.

The show incorporates live music by the 60-member Metro Youth
Orchestra and several soloists, and is punctuated by a sophisticated
light show and pyrotechnics. Also, WAAY TV news anchor Don Phelps will
present a detailed retrospective on von Braun and his accomplishments.

Educational Outreach – Sixth Grade Study Guides

A significant change from previous Forums is the addition of an
educational outreach project. This week, more than 10,000 study guides
– “The Habits of Science” — are being distributed by NASA’s Marshall
Space Flight Center in Huntsville to every sixth grader in Marshall,
Madison, Limestone, Morgan and Jackson counties.

“We felt it was extremely important that our project reach the entire
Tennessee Valley to include as many area children as possible, and
give everyone the chance to be as excited about space and the
possibilities of scientific discovery as we are,” said Teresa
Washington, director of the Customer and Employee Relations
Directorate at the Marshall Center.

The study guide includes Web links, activities and learning exercises
designed to teach six “habits” needed for scientific discovery:
creativity, imagination, curiosity, patience, honesty and attention to
detail.

“We asked a panel of educators to design the study guide to lead
students through the same material on which the multimedia show is
based,” said Washington. “For example, the students will hear about
visionaries like da Vinci and Galileo. They’ll learn about discoveries
made by the Hubble Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory. And by
doing so, they’ll begin to understand the basic principles that allow
men and women to see new possibilities.

“The study guides are free to all sixth graders and are designed to
meet the criteria for the Habits of Science module in the Curriculum
Guide for the State of Alabama, 2001-2.

To complement the study guide curriculum, the Marshall Center is
sending volunteers from its Speakers Bureau to schools throughout the
Tennessee Valley. The Bureau include specialists from engineering,
aeronautics, astronautics and space science as well as space history.

Creative Writing Competition

While the multimedia show serves as the focal point for the April 6
event at the Von Braun Center, it is not the only activity. The
evening also is the platform for honoring winners of the Unseen
Majesty of Science Creative Writing Competition. Sponsored by the
Marshall Center and supported by WAAY TV, the competition seeks poems,
short stories and essays from area students in grades 5 through 12.

“It’s important to give our children opportunities to be creative,”
said Shar Hendrick, manager of the Government and Community Relations
Department at the Marshall Center. “The competition lets them choose
the best vehicle for their own creative voice, while still focusing on
science and space exploration. This event allows students to explore
and appreciate the link between art and science.

“Entries will be accepted through midnight March 20, and the winning
entries will be posted on www.unseenmajesty.com.

Pulling it All Together

The 6th grade “Habits of Science” educational outreach project, the
creative writing competition, the “Unseen Majesty of Science”
multimedia show – it all comes together as the Von Braun Forum, which
marks its 15th anniversary this year.

Tickets to the event Saturday, April 6, are free — but limited. Those
who want to attend may pick up tickets (limit four per person) at the
Von Braun Center box office after March 15th. Larger groups of tickets
may be requested through the “Unseen Majesty of Science” Web site. The
Marshall Center has arranged for free parking in the South Hall
parking garage for the event.

For further information on the Von Braun Forum projects and “The
Unseen Majesty of Science” go to

www.unseenmajesty.com

or call 256-704-0068.

SpaceRef staff editor.