Rover, tunnel, gross, astronomy, canopy

==> I’m amazed that the Mars rovers are still poking and prodding the red planet. They’ve been there since 2004 and Opportunity just got new marching orders to check out a huge crater seven miles from its current location.

Opportunity will have to pick up the pace to get there. The rover team estimates Opportunity may be able to travel about 110 yards each day it is driven toward the Endeavour crater. Even at that pace, the journey could take two years.

==> Palm Beach County schoolchildren are going to be some lucky ducks next year when the Science Tunnel exhibit sets up shop at the South Florida Science Museum.

The futuristic, interactive multimedia exhibit will make its U.S. debut in a 10,000-square-foot tent behind the museum. Using 16 video projectors, 26 DVD players and 14 sound systems, the 3-year-old exhibit explores the world of natural science — from the complexity of molecules to the origins of the universe.

==> But there is no reason to wait for January to roll around. Head there now for some gross fun.

The museum’s newest exhibit, “Grossology, the (impolite) Science of the Human Body,” uses interactive displays and games — including The Burp Machine, a Toot Toot station and a short climbing wall that resembles an enlarged section of skin, with warts and all — to teach children and adults about embarrassing, yet necessary functions of the human body.

==> If I had an 8th grader at Canterbury School, I would definitely be at Astronomy Night!

Guest speakers Cara and Mark Summit will lead the star-watching extravaganza.

This talented duo, Canterbury School science teachers who taught astronomy for the Catalina Island Marine Institute, will discuss how galaxies, stars and solar systems are formed.

==> Canopy Meg (Dr. Margaret Lowman) writes a regular column, and her most recent one discusses “Transforming science education.”

At a time when American science and technology are losing ground, national initiatives to revitalize science education are critical. Last week, I chaired a national workshop of science education experts representing cultural and ethnical diversity. Together, we created an action plan for the next five years to inspire advances in ecology education. Initiatives included:

“No child left indoors,” a national movement to prioritize getting kids outside to learn about their local ecosystems;

Integrating technology with real ecosystems (virtual versus real ecology);

Training the next generation of scientists to communicate with public and policy audiences, not simply to create technical messages for their peers; and

Re-configuring national science so that it is not dominated by a testing system that fails to inspire creativity on the part of teachers.

==> Headline time! Make a headline using the words in the post title. “Rover misses astronomy lesson while stuck in gross tunnel under Mars rock canopy.” Ugh. I know you can do better.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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