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Volume 3 Number 1

Harry & Rosemary Wong say, "All effective schools have a culture and it is the information one gets from a culture that sends a message to the students that they will be productive and successful." This month the Wongs offer more examples of successful school and classroom management...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Around the Block by Cheryl Ristow
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
The Visually Impaired Child
Teaching Is...
Avoiding the 'Stares' When Intellectually Challenging Disadvantaged Students: Partnership Lessons from the HOTS Program
Why Use an Interactive Whiteboard?
A Bakerís Dozen Reasons!
The Effects Of Diet
Bully Advice For Kids
Teaching Gayle to Read (Part 2)
Both Sides Now in Gifted Education
What Are We Aiming At--What Do We Really Want To Aim At?
Teaching Graph from the Grassroots
Why Teachers Need Tenure
A Different Perspective to the Holidays
A Lesson Learned
Follow The Wonder
The Lighter Side of Teaching
Handy Teacher Recipes
Classroom Crafts
Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
New in the Lesson Bank
Upcoming Ed Conferences
Letters to the Editor
Chatboard Poll
eIditarod 2002
Planetary Society Protests Stop to Near-Earth Object Observations
Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
7th Annual Multidisciplinary Symposium on Breast Disease
Arab American Students in Public Schools
School Bus Subsidies for Field Trip to 2002 Tour De Sol
Gazette Home Delivery:

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In Focus...
Planetary Society Protests Stop to Near-Earth Object Observations

by Susan Lendroth

The Planetary Society strongly condemns NASA's decision, announced today, December 19, 2001, to terminate radar observations of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Arecibo is the most powerful radio observatory on Earth and is the most accurate instrument we have for studying NEOs.

NASA made its decision because of being inadequately funded to meet a congressionally mandated goal of detecting all objects larger than one kilometer in near-Earth orbits by 2008.

"Arecibo radar observations are crucial for determining the exact location, speed and direction of objects that approach Earth," said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society. "We need this information to know how significant the probability is of any one asteroid hitting the Earth. It is irresponsible for Congress to mandate that NASA undertake asteroid and comet detection, and then to not provide sufficient funds for that program."

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and the Goldstone Tracking Station in Barstow California, which is part of the Deep Space Network, are the only two radar sites capable of asteroid observations. Goldstone is not as powerful as Arecibo and is very busy supporting spacecraft missions.

The funding problem arose when funds to provide facility support at Arecibo had to be taken out of the asteroid observation program in NASA. That program includes the high-priority optical telescope searches for Near-Earth Objects, a class of bodies that includes asteroids and comets whose orbits carry them close by our planet.

Radar observations provide the very accurate position and velocity information necessary to determining the orbits and predicting the future paths for the objects that come very close to Earth.

"The decision to eliminate these Arecibo observations, and not obtain precision data, is very short-sighted," commented Friedman. "If an object is discovered headed to Earth, we are certainly going to wish we had the ability to track it accurately."

In addition to providing detailed position and velocity information, the Arecibo observations also are often the only way to characterize the NEO's shape and rotation. This information is critical to the science of NEOs, and to understanding their origin and evolution, and the important role they have played in the evolution of terrestrial planets.

A NEO that struck the Earth 65 million years ago triggered the extinction of the dinosaurs and most species then flourishing. Another such object could come our way at any time.


Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in 1980 to advance the exploration of the solar system and to continue the search for extraterrestrial life. With members in over 140 countries, the Society is the largest space interest group in the world.

For more information about The Planetary Society, contact Susan Lendroth at (626) 793-5100 ext 237 or by e-mail at

Item of Interest
from the
Editor's Desk...

2002 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
Do you know a great mathematics or science teacher?
Encourage them to apply for the 2002 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the nation's highest honor for mathematics and science teachers in grades K through 12. The application deadline is April 1, 2002.

Each year, after an initial selection process at the state or territorial level, a national panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators recommends teachers to receive a presidential award - one elementary and one secondary math teacher and one elementary and one secondary science teacher from each jurisdiction. Awardees each receive a $7,500 educational grant for his or her school, a presidential citation and a trip to Washington, D.C. for a series of recognition events.

A new video component in the application process will be used this year in many states. The video component will be used in all jurisdictions next year. Applications are available on the following web site: