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LiveFrom the Hubble Space Telescope

Teacher's Guide

Special Thanks

Hugh Anderson and Kathee Terry, Project ATHENA/SAIC w Greg Andorfer, National Productions, WQED, Pittsburgh w Charles Benton, Films, Inc./PMI, Chicago w Joe Benton and Debbie Rivera, NASA TV w Ben Benzio and students, Connellsville Jr. High West, PA w Paula Blizzard, Winsome Mundy and Laurissa Richards, RSPAC, WV w Joe Bredekamp, NASA Office of Space Science w Bill Burnette, NASA-Industry Education Initiative & Tri-State Education Initiative w Susan Chase, OLPA, NSF w Hall Davidson and Kathryn Hulce, KOCE w Kimberly Gonzalez, NASA Classroom of the Future w Fritz Hasler and Alan Nelson, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center w David Havt, International TeleEducation, Inc. w david Howe, Step Star w Theresa Hudkins, PAO, NASA HQ w Garth Hull and Tom Clausen, Education Office, NASA Ames Research Center w William Likens and Paul Hunter, HPCC-IITA, NASA w Wes Huntress, Associate Administrator for Space Science, NASA w George Miles and Mel Ming, WQED, Pittsburgh w William Millman, USIA Worldnet w Eiko Moriyama, LA USD w Cheri Morrow w Robert Myers, NASA COTF w Joan Piper and Elizabeth Knight, Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA w Alan Ladwig, Advisor to the Administrator, NASA w Mark Leon, IITA, NASA Ames Research Center w Frank Owens, Malcom Phelps, Pam Mountjoy, Rick Smith, NASA Education w Martin Ratcliffe, Head, Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh, and Carolyn Dietrich, Carol Scott, Dena Tarshis, Dan Malerbo, Jim Hughes, Carnegie Science Center w Pat Rieff, Rice University w Margaret Riel, Interlearn, Encinitas, CA w Pam Rockwell, K-12 Learning Services Newsletter w Jan Ruff, Preston Burch, Pat Kennedy, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center w Kitty Salinas, TEAMS, Los Angeles w Gerhard Salinger and Rod Custer, NSF w Fred Shair, Rich Alvidrez, Gil Yanow, David Seidel, Jim Wilson, Education Office, NASA JPL w Dennis Small, OSPI, Washington State Department of Education w Jeff Rosendahl and Mike Kaplan, Astrophysics Division, NASA HQ w Ed Weiler, HST Program Scientist, NASA w Flint Wild, NASA SpaceLink w Bernie Withrow, Seton Hill College Talent Search

From our home on the Earth, we look out into the distances and strive to imagine the sort of world into which we are born. Today we have reached far out into space. Our immediate neighborhood we know rather intimately. But with increasing distance our knowledge fades, and fades rapidly, until at the last dim horizon we search among ghostly errors of observations for landmarks that are scarcely more substantial.

The search will continue. The urge is older than history. It is not satisfied and it will not be suppressed.

Edwin P. Hubble

The worst thing that has happened to science education is that the great fun has gone out of it... (instead, science should be) ...high adventure ...the wildest of all explorations ever taken by human beings, the chance to catch close views of things never seen before, the shrewdest maneuver for discovering how the world works.

Lewis Thomas, researcher and essayist

...the telescope has released the human imagination as no other implement has ever done... the development of the telescope marks, indeed, a new phase in human thought, a new vision of life...

H.G. Wells, "The Outline of History"

We hope to find something we hadn't expected.

Edwin P. Hubble

This Teacher's Guide was compiled, edited and/or written by
Geoffrey Haines-Stiles and Erna Akuginow

With Contributions by
Joseph D. Exline, Jan Wee, pat Haddon, Marc Siegel and

the Passport to Knowledge development team
Astronomical Activities written by
William A. Gutsch, Jr.
Teacher Reviewers
Scott Coletti, Pat Haddon, Patty Miller,
Linda Morris, April Whitt
and Kim Zeidler (STScI)
Design/Cover Design and Layout
Carol Richman
Journal and/or Interview Excerpts courtesy
Marc Buie, Heidi Hammel, Anne Kinney,
Tony Roman and Alex Storrs
Poems Courtesy
6th-8th grade students from Summit Middle School, NJ

Additional production assistance for live uplinks sites furnished by
Buhl Planetarium, Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh w WQED, Pittsburgh w Seton Hall College Talent Search w Connellsville Jr high west w Project ATHENA w Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction w Museum of Flight, Boeing Field, Seattle w Step Star/ESD 101 w Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA w Los Angeles Unified School District w TEAMS Distance Learning, LA County Office of Education w Bavarian Television w HST European Coordinating Facility, European Space Agency w Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA
For CuSeeMe and videoconferencing assistance,
Houston Museum of Natural Science
For Internet participation in Brazil,
Compaq Computer, FutureKids, USIA Worldnet

©1996 Geoff Haines-Stiles Productions, Inc. All materials contained herein may be copied for educational, non-commercial use.

Setting Out on an Electronic Field Trip

photo of HST in outer space

Turn your TV and computer into a "passport to knowledge" and reach out to Neptune and Pluto via NASA's Hubble Space Telescope

Passport to Knowledge is an ongoing series of "electronic field trips to scientific frontiers." It's designed as an innovative learning experience that integrates live interactive telecasts, pre-taped video backgrounders, responsive computer communications and hands-on in- class activities to allow you and your students to travel, virtually, to places that would otherwise be almost impossible to visit. Before now, no K-12 students have ever had the opportunity to suggest what the Hubble Space Telescope should observe, and then been able to participate as the actual orbits are planned and executed. This will be the first time, ever, that live cameras have been allowed into the Mission Operations Room at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, bringing students as close as it's possible to get to Space Telescope unless you're an astronaut on a servicing mission. Because of its educational mission, Passport to Knowledge is being allowed to boldly go where not even the commercial broadcast networks and NASA Associate Administrators were permitted! It's a unique privilege, and we hope you and your students take full advantage of it. You earned this access in large part by your commitment of time and energy to the "Great Planet Debate" which demonstrated to NASA how interested elementary, middle and high school students are in the planets, people and processes to be seen in Live from the Hubble Space Telescope, (LHST).

Project Components:

"The Three T's"

Live from the Hubble Space Telescope uses the complementary contributions of the three T's-Television, Telecommunications and you, the Teacher-to help students become active participants in some of the most challenging and exciting scientific research currently underway.


The two upcoming live programs are key components, but they will contribute most to your students' learning experience if Activities and lessons precede and follow them, as many teachers chose to do as part of Live from Antarctica (LFA) and Live from the Stratosphere (LFS). You may find the 30 minute introductory program, "The Great Planet Debate" (first aired November 9, 1995, but still available on tape from NASA CORE and being re-broadcast by some PBS stations-please check local listings!) is still of interest, even though we now know the "winners" of the debate. The program provides background on HST, the target planets, and the overall timetable for the project.

"Making YOUR Observations" (March 14, 1996) will provide a "first look" at our collective observations of Neptune and Pluto, and we hope for considerable excitement as we see just what we've captured!

"Announcing YOUR Results" (April 23, 1996) will reveal the first substantive findings from the Passport observations: the 5 week period between the programs is relatively quick for analysis and review, but we hope for some significant announcements from our Planet Advocates and those students who'll be working alongside them, virtually, with the new images.


No project could ever provide sufficient video uplink sites to connect all students who might wish to interact with researchers at the remote field sites, whether in Antarctica, the stratosphere or Baltimore (home of the Space Telescope Science Institute.) But on-line networks allow us to extend the interactivity symbolized by the live, 2-way video and audio into every school and class across the nation, and indeed, around the globe. We plan for participation from Brazil, Europe and elsewhere, by students watching over USIA's Worldnet or other links.

Our on-line components allow students to send e-mail to experts, some of whom have been seen on camera, and to receive responses to their specific, individual questions. Field Journals, or research diaries, provide personal behind-the-scenes insights into the people, places and processes seen on camera. Even more than in previous projects, LHST will support collaboration between teachers and students, and feature the results of such on-line collaboration during the live telecasts. (see Going On-line, p. 42 for more details) This Guide provides basic information-and we hope some encouragement and motivation-to go on-line if you've not done so before. Once on-line, you'll find many more specific suggestions about how to use e-mail and the project's Web pages.

The Teacher

This Guide and the accompanying "mini-kit" of additional publications and discovery tools are designed for you, the Teacher. They provide practical, hands-on Activities for middle school students, often with suggestions about adapting them to lower or higher grades. You'll find icons indicating which Activities can connect across the curriculum, linking science with math, social studies, language arts, and other disciplines. We've also provided a Matrix or grid showing how the various Activities, grouped by program, embody the suggestions of the AAAS's Project 2061 (Benchmarks for Science Literacy) and the California Science Framework. We are very interested in how the entire project works for you, and welcome your feedback by mail or e-mail.

Format of the Teacher's Guide

Each activity in LHST is designed to:
  • Engage: capture student interest by preparing them to experience the videos, or by encouraging them to use the suite of available learning tools.
  • Explore: help students construct ideas from first-hand observation and experiment, using hands-on Activities.
  • Explain: provide you, the Teacher, with sufficient background to allow you to facilitate student learning with specific content and teaching strategies, suggested in this Guide, accompanying publications and in the on-line materials.
  • Expand: review and reinforce concepts, and reteach by tapping visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic and other learning styles.

Several activities lend themselves to a form of embedded assessment: for example, Activity 4A, "Writing Across the Solar System" and 4B, "Lights... Camera... The Universe" require an understanding of the new science discussed in the programs, but also creativity, authoring, presentation and publishing skills. Such extensions of the project will also provide you with concrete evidence about what your students "got" from their participation.

What Teachers Said About "The Great Planet Debate"

It is really rewarding for me as a teacher to see student interest so high in something scientific. The Planet Advocates have almost reached the "star" quality that my students usually reserve for athletes and movie stars. They've been thrilled to read the messages that have come in on the computer from all over the United States and the world. They don't even realize that they are learning.

Ruth Wahl science teacher, Allegany-Limestone Central School, NY

While watching my students evolve from a class into a "think tank" I have been able to share in their excitement, enthusiasm and their learning process. They came to me and shared their new discoveries and information in a manner which filled me with pride in them. This is a great group, and remember these are High School soph., jr. and sr. It is not often they can be so outwardly enthusiastic. We are looking forward to the final decision, and whatever the outcome, we are already planning the "Observing Party!"

Rob Theriaque, Aerospace Studies, Nashua High School, NH

ALL of us sitting in on this discuss-hst "debate" panel are...
  • celebrating the empowerment of students, students actively participating not only in a decision-making process but in their own education, learning by working in collaboration
  • celebrating the teaching of science involving hands-on research, careful observation, recording and reporting of data, comparing and sharing of information, and drawing conclusions
  • celebrating student motivation to learn because they were provided with a real "listening" audience, acquiring confidence and expertise
  • celebrating students becoming global citizens and understanding that the world is their community
  • celebrating students experiencing the power of technology

Marilyn Wall, 4th grade teacher, Wayland Elementary, Bridgewater, VA

NASA's Interest in Promoting Public Uses of the Internet Support for Passport to Knowledge: Live from the Hubble Space Telescope comes, in part, from the Information Infrastructure Technology and Applications Program (IITA) of NASA's Office of High Performance Computing and Communications. Our integrated multimedia project coincided with NASA's commitment to demonstrate and promote the increased use of the nation's vast but hitherto under-utilized treasury of Earth and Space Science Data. We hope you and your students will mine the wealth of information and marvel at the instructive and often beautiful images that await you, just an on-line connection away.

How to Use this Guide

Tips to help you implement Live from the Hubble Space Telescope

This Teacher's Guide and mini-kit closely follows the format developed for Live from Antarctica and Live from the Stratosphere. Your feedback rated those materials high in quality, but we hope you also find we've added some "New and Improved" features. You should assume every Activity is great for Science classes, but we've added Computer and Art icons to those already indicating interdisciplinary opportunities for Social Studies, Language Arts and Math. There's a two-page overview of how Passport to Knowledge and the Live from... specials can help you, the Teacher, implement some of the most important recommendations which have been published by groups such as the National Academy of Sciences and AAAS's Project 2061. Written by Joe Exline (former head of Virginia's NSF-funded State Systemic Initiative, current Executive Secretary of the Council of State Science Supervisors and a Consultant to Passport to Knowledge), these suggestions may help you both in the classroom and in the front office, when an Administrator asks you just exactly what you think this "electronic field trip" does for education and your mandatory course of instruction! To help maximize the value of the videos, and to help you create a receptive "set" in your students, we'll be posting narrative scripts for the taped segments on-line, one week in advance of the live programs.

The Activities

As in previous projects, the Activities suggested here relate closely to the real-world research you and your students will see during the live videos and read about on-line. They were developed to help make otherwise abstract aspects of, for example, image processing come to life. "The Universe in Living Color" (Activity 3A, p. 30) provides a hands-on experience using the color filters co-packaged with this Guide to show how computers transform black and white images into stunning Hubble pictures, samples of which you'll also find enclosed. We've even researched which brands of colored markers give you the best results! (see Activity 3A, Materials)


Art   Computers   Social Studies  Language Arts   Math   Technical Education

art gif computer gif geography expand math gif tech ed gif

Passport to Knowledge

Guiding principles

  • All students can understand and be successful in science. Science has applications for us all in resolving life's problems
  • Science should be learned as both content and process to develop life-long learning skills
  • New and emerging technologies should be used to provide effective learning, and these technologies should be used creatively
  • Learning in science must reflect the latest research in science, and the science of learning (pedagogy)
  • Science is best learned in an immediate environment that enables active learning and provides effective interaction with the extended environment
  • The use of a variety of systematically-related instructional resources are important for effective learning
  • The successful achievement of student learning is the ultimate aim of education and therefore student evaluation should be a valid measure of the learning objectives
  • Active learning leads to meaningful understanding

Throughout this Guide and in all the various media we employ, we've tried to make LHST a "turnkey" project, so that you'll find sufficient substance, suggestions and support to allow you to orchestrate a successful experience for your students, no matter your level of technology or prior training, whether you're an astronomy buff or relatively unfamiliar with the latest data.

Co-packaged Materials

Co-packaged with the LHST Teacher's Guide(paper version) come several existing publications, and materials designed to support hands-on activities:<> NASA's Space Based Astronomy provides background relevant to the Hubble field trips (specifically on the electromagnetic spectrum), an excellent Glossary, and a listing of other NASA resources and how to order them.

A selection of Hubble's "Greatest Hits," in and beyond our solar system: these color lithographs, supplied by the Space Telescope Science Institute, speak for themselves as stunning pictures, but when you want to go beyond the beautiful imagery you'll find explanatory captions on their reverse.

STScI also cooperated with Passport to Knowledge to permit us to print a special LHST edition of the Eagle Nebula poster, one of the most beautiful and thought-provoking space images ever.

Hubble Space Telescope: New and Improved from STScI's Starcatcher series provides background on HST and its operations, on the 1994 Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet impact on Jupiter, and other useful information.

Students can literally get their hands-on the Hubble with the copy master pages for a card or paper model of Space Telescope, duplicated from a NASA original. Since we're committed to making each Passport to Knowledge project as easy to implement as possible, we've also included samples of several items needed for various Activities: heat-sensitive paper and UV beads for Activity 2A, capturing InfraRed and UltraViolet radiation in memorable ways; color filters for 3A (you can find out how to order larger quantities of these materials in the Resources section, p. 44); and 4 pages of Earth and interplanetary weather images to be copied for Activity 3B.

Sufficient structure for success.

Flexibility enough for local adaptation

Passport to Knowledge recognizes that each school and teacher is unique. We've tried to provide enough information to make LHST successful for you and your students, whether you only watch the videos and use this printed Guide, or go on-line with simple e-mail, or browse far and wide with full Internet access. There's no "one right way" to use the project. We encourage you to pick and choose those aspects which work best for you and your students, adding parts of your regular curriculum which can be enlivened by this electronic field trip to see HST, Pluto and Neptune close up. (Please, share your experiences, successes and frustrations with your peers and colleagues all across the nation and the planet, via discuss-hst, our on-line teacher co-laboratory.)

On-line: A Unique Opportunity

Though we encourage flexibility, we'd not serve you well if we did not emphasize that the on-line resources referred to throughout this Guide and referenced in the videos are extremely important. Passport to Knowledge is perhaps best utilized as a thoroughly integrated multimedia experience in which the Video, Print and On-line components are of equal value, delivering different but complementary experiences. The on-line materials permit a degree of interactivity with the Hubble team impossible through any other medium. The on-line collaborations, such as the Star Census (continued from LFS to permit more national and international participation) and "Weather or Not?"-new for LHST and specifically seen during Program 3-provide a model for communication with peers across space and time which is an introduction to the world of work your students will inhabit.

"Writing Science"

Throughout this Guide and on-line you'll find many samples of writing and using language. Our Planet Advocates recall what hooked them on astronomy, and middle school students offer poetry about the heavens. On-line you'll find Field Journals from STScI and other NASA centers, rich with anecdotes about working with the Hubble day-by-day, when things are running smoothly, or when someone has to pull an all-nighter to get the numbers right to catch a comet on camera. We hope you'll find these worth sharing with your students: they emphasize that cutting-edge astronomy engages the imagination as well as the intellect, and demonstrate that contemporary science involves communicating with others along with collecting hard data and crunching numbers. Above all, we hope the multiplicity of voices will emphasize the human dimension of the project, and engage and motivate your students.

In our Opening and Closing Activities, you'll find suggestions about how your students can write Journals and create other literary material. These Activities should help them first get into the project and later synthesize their learning. This allows you to assess what they've gained, and helps us all evaluate what works.

Hubble Meet Hubble

Edwin P. Hubble, 1889-1953

portrait of Edwin Hubble

As a child, Edwin Powell Hubble wandered the Kentucky countryside, observing the habits of birds and animals. As an adult, he scrutinized the stars and galaxies. Although Hubble was always interested in science, he didn't settle on a career in astronomy immediately. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago in 1910, where he also lettered in basketball and almost became a professional boxer. He studied law under a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford University, in England, passed the bar exam, and practiced law briefly and halfheartedly. He "chucked the law for astronomy… I knew that even if I were second-rate or third-rate, it was astronomy that mattered." Hubble completed graduate studies at the Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago, where he began his examination of spiral nebulae. He earned his doctorate in 1917 and was invited to join the Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, California. But Hubble didn't yet begin the studies which made him famous. Answering the call to World War 1, he enlisted in the infantry, telegraphing observatory personnel, "Regret cannot accept your invitation. Am off to the war."

Two years later he finally began working with the instrument that would enable him to make his greatest discoveries-the 100-inch reflector at Mount Wilson, at the time the largest telescope in the world. Except for four years of service in World War ll, Hubble was devoted to astronomy until his death in 1953.

Hubble's patient, painstaking observations revealed a much larger universe than anyone had imagined. He was enchanted by dim, foggy patches called "nebulae," the Latin word for cloud. One called Andromeda was the most spectacular nebula observed during the early decades of the century, but telescopes weren't powerful enough to see if it harbored any stars like the vast stellar populations of the Milky Way. Since the 18th century, scientists had argued about whether these areas were "island universes," separate galaxies, or simply clouds in our galaxy. Was the Milky Way the only galaxy? Was it the center of the universe?

In 1924, Hubble ended the debate when he reported stars in the outskirts of Andromeda, and found a special kind of star, known as a Cepheid variable, which reveals its distance by the way its light regularly brightens and dims. Careful observations of the Cepheids enabled him to measure the distance to Andromeda, far too many light-years away to be in our galaxy. He moved on to classify the galaxies, grouping them by size and shape, and established that many other nebulae were also galaxies, even more distant than Andromeda. Hubble measured the depths of space out to 500 million light years, distances far greater than any previous surveys.

As he continued to study galaxies, he concluded that they were moving away from Earth at velocities proportional to their distance. This supported the concept that the universe originated in a cosmic explosion, and that all the matter in the universe was expanding from an initial Big Bang. The galactic survey resulted in "Hubble's law": the more distant the galaxy from Earth, the faster it moves away. Of course, if all the galaxies originated from one explosion, residents of other galaxies would see the same thing: a universe of fleeing galaxies with the more distant ones moving more rapidly. Hubble found that the ratio of the velocity of receding galaxies to their distance from Earth is constant -the "Hubble constant"- a significant astrophysical number still not calculated with certainty today. Current estimates of the "Hubble constant," and thus the rate of expansion of the universe, differ by a factor of two. Still more powerful telescopes are needed to make more precise measurements and determine whether the universe will expand forever, or halt and perhaps reverse.

The Hubble Space Telescope builds on Hubble's research, measuring distances with greater accuracy than ever before possible, and returning beautiful and instructive images of galaxies which Edwin Powell Hubble would have loved to see. It is altogether fitting and proper that this premier space observatory is named for the American astronomer whose work revolutionized modern astronomy. Hubble's research proved that larger, more powerful telescopes are needed to see more of the universe. He assisted in the design of the 200-inch Hale telescope at Mount Palomar near San Diego, and made the first observations with it. When asked what he expected to find with the new telescope, he said, "We hope to find something we hadn't expected." With the Hubble Space Telescope, this quest continues.

Adapted, with thanks, from Exploring the Universe with the Hubble Space Telescop e. edited by Valerie Neal,
NASA, NP-126, p. 18

The Hubble Space Telescope, 1990-20??

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a cooperative program of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to operate a long-lived space-based observatory for the benefit of the international space community. An observatory in space was first dreamt of in the 1940's, long before being designed and eventually built in the 1970's and 1980's and becoming operational in the 1990's. HST is a 2.4 meter reflecting telescope encased in a protective shell housing cameras and other instruments, solar panels for power and communications antennae. It's the size of a school- bus, 13.1 meters long, 4.27 meters in diameter, and weighing some 11,000 kilograms when launched. HST was delivered into low-Earth orbit (600 kilometers) by the crew of the space shuttle Discovery (STS-31) on April 25, 1990. To counteract the telescope's gradual fall from orbit (the result of the solar wind) and to protect the spacecraft against instrument and equipment failures, NASA planned regular servicing missions, for which Hubble has special grapple fixtures and 76 handholds. The first servicing mission by STS- 61 (Endeavour) in December 1993 was an enormous success. During extensive and carefully-rehearsed space-walks, astronauts added corrective optics to fix a problem with the HST's main mirror, which had been mistakenly manufactured 2 microns too flat at the edge, resulting in less than optimal focus for many observations. Future servicing missions are tentatively planned for early 1997, mid-1999, and mid-2002.

Responsibility for conducting and coordinating the science operations of the Hubble Space Telescope rests with the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), situated on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus in Baltimore, Maryland. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA). HST's current complement of science instruments includes two cameras, two spectrographs, and fine guidance sensors (primarily used to point the telescope precisely, and for astrometric observations). [Editor's note: for the Live from... observations, we'll be using both camera systems: WF/PC2, the Wide Field and Planetary Camera (pronounced "wiff-pik," and built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory) for Neptune; and the FOC, Faint Object Camera (built by ESA) for Pluto.]

Although HST operates around the clock, not all of its time can be spent observing. Each orbit lasts about 95 minutes, with time allocated for housekeeping functions and for observations. "Housekeeping" functions includes turning the telescope to acquire a new target, avoiding the Sun or Moon, switching communications antennae and data transmission modes, receiving command loads and downlinking data, calibrating and similar tasks. (see Activities 2C and 2D, pp. 22-24, for further background.)

When STScI completes its master observing plan, the schedule is forwarded to Goddard's Space Telescope Operations Control Center (STOCC), where the science and housekeeping plans are merged into a detailed operations schedule. Each event is translated into a series of commands to be sent to the on-board computers. Computer loads are uplinked several times a day to keep the telescope operating efficiently. Some limited real-time commanding for target acquisition or filter-changing is performed, if the observation program has been set up to allow for it. Spontaneous control is not possible.

Engineering and scientific data from HST, as well as uplinked operational commands, are transmitted through the Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) system and its companion ground station at White Sands, New Mexico. Up to 24 hours of commands can be stored in the on-board computers. Data can be broadcast from HST to the ground stations immediately or stored on tape and downlinked later.

The observer on the ground can examine the "raw" images and other data within a few minutes for a quick-look analysis (which is what we'll see happening, live, during LHST Program 2.) Within 24 hours, GSFC formats the data for delivery to the STScI. STScI is responsible for data processing (calibration, editing, distribution, and maintenance of the data for the scientific community). Competition is keen for HST observing time. Only one of every ten proposals is accepted. This unique space-based observatory is operated as an international research center and as a resource for astronomers world-wide.

This HST "biography" is adapted, with thanks, from the "Overview" authored by Rob Landis, to be found on STScI's main Web page

Live From... and Science Reform

How Passport to Knowledge and Live from the Hubble Space Telescope can help teachers implement the national science standards

Joseph D. Exline, Ph.D., Executive Secretary, Council of State Science Supervisors, former head, V-QUEST (VA)

At the national and state levels, standards have been developed in an attempt to make science education more relevant for ALL students. Guidelines, such as the National Science Standards (National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council), Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy (AAAS/Project 2061) and the California Science Framework have been promulgated to help direct local efforts. Central to these efforts is the argument that science taught as a kind of history course ("this is what your learned predecessors have found out") or lecture series ("this is what we experts already know for sure") is not as relevant, nor as effective, nor as exciting for most students as other approaches. Instead, science presented as "these are ways YOU can join with others to find out about the Universe we all inhabit" helps students understand the present and shape the personal and social future. An added benefit is that this approach even appeals to those who won't find their career in research. To make science as relevant "For All Americans" (in the words of one AAAS publication) as are reading and writing, students must become more involved in the "finding out" aspect, i.e. turning science into a process of "scienc-ing."

To help science reform succeed, efforts like those undertaken by the NSF-NASA funded Passport to Knowledge project (PTK) and its Live from the Hubble Space Telescope "Module" can become an integral and ongoing part of classroom learning. I believe that PTK activities help teachers address many of the objectives outlined in the National Science Standards and the Benchmarks. PTK certainly provides ways to make the classroom a place for active student learning and suggests relevant, flexible, immediate and practical ways to use new and emerging technologies. The use of free, broadcast tv and open access via the Internet also helps support the National Science Foundation's state, urban, and rural systemic initiatives, designed to reach otherwise under-served populations.

Passport to Knowledge and Science Reform

PTK hopes to assist the classroom teacher in two principal ways. First, PTK focuses on scientific literacy, emphasizing the "finding out" aspect of science. PTK believes that science content (varying from Module to Module) can be a means to that end and not just an end in itself, that how you come to know something is as important as what facts you know.

Figure of onceptual Themes

The philosophy of the National Science Standards and Benchmarks advocates using important and relevant science content to develop real-world connections, problem-solving skills and to nurture reasoning abilities. PTK parallels these national trends by involving students as active learners, and serves as a model for how to make science connect beyond the classroom, showing how science literacy may also apply to resolving non-scientific issues in modern society.

The second important way that PTK embodies the spirit of the new standards is by demonstrating the use of cutting-edge technology and demonstrating in specific ways how increasingly "school will be just one of the many places where learning will occur." Technology can make the whole world a classroom. Resources for learning are no longer confined to one school and to an isolated teacher working alone. The ability to interact with real scientists at remote locations, and to collaborate with other educators and students in the doing of real science, is well illustrated by Live from the Hubble Space Telescope. Too often modern telecommunications delivers merely "distance teaching": PTK, however, illustrates true "distance learning."

During the "Great Planet Debate," for example, students from around the world were interacting with scientists to help select which planets to study. During the remainder of the project they have the opportunity to interact "live" with astronomers and other working researchers as data is gathered and interpreted, and so can be part of the process of making new scientific discoveries.

Live from the Hubble Space Telescope: addressing the Standards

Classroom teachers often feel tortured on a Procrustean bed of content, stretched every day in every way to cover the demands of the curriculum. Given the requirement to deliver large amounts of content, there's a natural tendency to question why time should be taken away from existing obligations and spent on such projects as "electronic field trips." The value of projects such as PTK becomes more obvious if educators look beyond current demands for the mastery of content (as Dickens' Gradgrind or Joe Friday in Dragnet would say, "Facts... facts... facts!") to perhaps more important and relevant aspects of science education. Beyond the specific content of each PTK field trip (Antarctic geology, penguin biology, infrared astronomy, comparative planetology) are principles which can enliven any and all content. In order for all the talk about "Standards" to deliver real benefits to students, teachers and society, it's essential that we address four inter-related elements which together define scientific literacy.

These four elements are:

  • conceptual themes or connectors which put isolated information into a meaningful context
  • process skills which are necessary to observe, collect and analyze valid data
  • habits of mind which encourage the validation and testing of the reasonableness of information
  • the specific content of the discipline

These four interrelated elements can be easily remembered as illustrated by the cube in the illustration above.

All four of these elements are essential and must be an integral part of all learning in order to develop scientific literacy. These elements also lead to the development of the attributes necessary for life-long learning in subjects other than science. Through skills in problem solving and scientific reasoning, learners can understand the content under study. More importantly, they can use these same abilities to understand new and different content they encounter later. The method or approach is the key to successful and meaningful learning. Science education is important for the learner to the extent that it enables him or her to understand, in an active way, how the natural world is organized and interrelates changes and interacts with the human-designed world. PTK is modeling this integration of process, content and active learning by having scientists, teachers, and students do scientific investigations in ways that have both personal and societal applications.

The following examples show how these four elements are an integral part of the design of Passport to Knowledge and the development of scientific literacy.

* Conceptual Themes or Understandings are broad and interdisciplinary in nature in order to have cross-content application. They can be subdivided into more science-related themes such as evolution and energy. Themes are used to put the smaller details of information into a more meaningful context, such as learning how the natural and social worlds are organized, interrelated, and changed. PTK uses themes to organize information as follows:

  • The interrelationship of the planets' essential characteristics, atmospheres and weather systems.
  • How conditions on the outer planets relate to conditions we experience here on Earth

*Skills of Problem-Solving are developed when the learner becomes actively involved and takes more responsibility for his/her learning. These skills are important tools for future learning and make science as relevant as reading and writing. PTK's programs help develop these skills as illustrated by the following:

  • Experimenting with color filters, and generating rules for how colors appear
  • Figuring out how to measure the speed and scale of storms on Jupiter, Uranus and Earth

* Scientific Values are attributes which predispose learners to take action (curiosity) and to test the judgment (respect for data) of their decisions. PTK's on-line and on camera scientists model these attributes as illustrated by the following questions they'll be seen to ask:

  • How do we know the atmospheres differ? (Respect for Data)
  • What conclusions do the data support? (Demand for Verification)
  • Should we devote resources to study other planets? (Consideration of Consequences)

* Relevant and Important Content is essential in itself but it is much enriched if it serves as a means to an end in developing conceptual understandings and skills of problem solving, and nurtures scientific reasoning. Passport to Knowledge stresses important and relevant content as illustrated by the following:

  • Latest findings on characteristics of the planets being studied
  • Characteristics and unique advantages of using the Hubble Space Telescope

* Conclusion

PTK sees itself as a member of a larger learning community. The project evolves as the development team learns new things along with you. You'll see some changes from the design and format of our earlier Modules and this will continue. However, to keep our project of high quality both from a scientific and an educational perspective, we subscribe to certain Guiding Principles for design and implementation. (See sidebar below) We hope you'll agree that Passport to Knowledge can help you and your students do science.

Sketch of HST

Opening Activities

This section of the Guide summarizes what the Passport to Knowledge development team considers the most significant Content or Curriculum objectives for Live from the Hubble Space Telescope. For convenience and clarity, they are grouped by Opening and Closing Activities, and by Video program. However achieving these objectives will likely involve on-line as well as video and hands-on work.

While LHST is not intended as a plug-in replacement for sections of your existing course of instruction, we do believe this 3-5 week project can be justified in terms of at least three criteria: (1) what content your students know after participating which they might not have known before; (2) what positive attitudes they develop towards what they now know; and (3) what research and technical skills they gain and practice (see also pp. 10-11 for thoughts on PTK and science reform, and, of course, the Teacher and Student Evaluation pages.) Each individual Activity also states a specific Instructional Objective in clear-cut performance or behavioral terms.

We hope these project objectives and program overviews also provide you with tools to create an "anticipatory set" for your students, so that they approach each Activity or viewing experience as active learners rather than passive consumers.

Activity 1A: Planet Tours, Inc.

Project Objectives expand geography art gif computer gif

After Program 1 and Activities 1A-1C, students will be able to:

  • describe the scale and structure of the solar system in terms of distances between the planets, compare/contrast their relative sizes and distinctive characteristics, and differentiate between "terrestrial" and gaseous bodies.
  • develop collaborative learning and research skills to create multimedia reports illustrating the complexity and diversity of our solar system.
After Program 2 and Activities 2A-2E, students will be able to:
  • describe the Hubble Space Telescope as both a spacecraft AND a telescope, and compare and contrast the importance of each role.
  • describe the extensive network of people, places and processes needed to design, deploy and operate the HST.
  • summarize current knowledge about Neptune, Pluto and Jupiter, and explain what might be learned about these planets through the use of HST during the Passport to Knowledge observations.
  • identify the main parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, and compare and contrast the use of various wavelengths to study the planets.
  • compare/contrast HST with other telescopes, and describe how its unique advantages are being used during the Passport to Knowledge observations.
  • describe how HST observes the "moving targets" of the planets of our solar system, and how the data is routed down to Earth for analysis.

After Program 3 and Activities 3A-3D, students will be able to:

  • understand how images are constructed from digital data, and the process by which black and white images become color pictures.
  • understand how the use of different color filters, time exposures and image processing techniques reveal different aspects of the same image.
  • compare/contrast weather patterns on the HST target planets to storms on Earth, in terms of scale, speed of motion, vertical structure and duration.
  • describe how scientists gather data, interpret it, test hypotheses, come to preliminary conclusions and publish results for review by peers.

After Closing Activities 4A-4C, students will be able to:

  • synthesize and articulate, in media of their own choice, the individual learning they have experienced during Live from the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • discuss/debate the value to society of such "Big Science" projects as HST.
  • describe and evaluate the effects of advanced technology on the process of contemporary scientific research.
  • demonstrate a greater interest in the study of astronomy, and a more positive attitude towards scientific research and/or high-tech employment as a possible career.


To collaborate in teams and demonstrate the ability to use appropriate research, writing and presentation skills to create a fact-based travel brochure or poster for an exotic location elsewhere in our solar system.

Ask students to describe their favorite summer vacation. Take out a map of your state, America or another country, and have students place pins to show where they've traveled. Ask them what made their adventure special, and what features of the location they most remember. Ask them where they'd like to go if they could go anywhere in the world. Ask them where they'd like to go if they could go anywhere in the solar system!

Explain to students that for this Activity, they are going to imagine that it's not 1996 but rather far in the future. Tourist travel to the planets is just becoming possible and they are working for the first interplanetary travel agency, "Planet Tours, Inc." Their task is to research the wonders of the solar system (especially those of the LHST target planets) and create a series of brochures or travel posters designed to attract the first space tourists.


  • Advertisements from Sunday newspapers or travel magazines, and/or brochures and posters collected from area travel agencies
  • appropriate art supplies, texts, back issues of astronomy and science magazines with space imagery, or computers with scanners and graphics software

Procedure: Divide the class into conveniently-sized teams, who will each work on a different solar system destination. Have students collect brochures, travel posters and other material advertising exotic destinations. Challenge them to create similar brochures and travel posters for the most exotic ports of call in the solar system. What wonders of Mercury or Mars do they feel would be most appealing? What adventures for the well- equipped adventurer-ballooning on Jupiter? Sulfur-surfing on Io? What creature comforts required to tame the chill of Mars, the heat of Venus? What incredible sights on Neptune or Pluto, Triton or Charon?

Have student teams discuss what factors make some posters and brochures more compelling than others. How is the writing they find in a travel brochure different from what they find in a book, the front page of a newspaper, or a magazine? Have students develop a list of "rules" for a successful travel poster or brochure

Turn students' attention skyward. Help students research the necessary factual information about our neighboring worlds and obtain the pictures they need from books, magazines, CD-ROMs or the Internet.

(Check our A note from Jan Wee, Education Outreach Coordinator, Passport to Knowledge)

Dear Educators,

Welcome to Passport to Knowledge! One of my top priorities is to provide support to all educators as you integrate our projects into your learning environment. My background of 18 years as science teacher, computer support services (especially in the area of Internet- based resources), library media director, and Passport to Knowledge team member gives me a broad perspective.

Please feel free to call, no matter your question (608-786-2767), or fax (608-786-1819), or e-mail (janw@quest.arc.nasa.gov), or write (Jan Wee, 431 North Youlon Street, West Salem, WI 54669).

Looking forward to assisting your efforts to make this experience an exceptional and successful one!

Program 1:

The Great Planet Debate
Aired November 9, 1995, and available on tape from NASA CORE, (see inside front cover). The full script of this program may be found on-line.

This 30 minute program introduced the entire project, and announced the on-line discussion which led to a December 1995 consensus decision about which planets to observe. The four astronomers who served as "Planet Advocates" for the on-line debate (Reta Beebe for Jupiter, Marc Buie for Pluto, Heidi Hammel for Neptune and Carolyn Porco for Uranus) each presented reasons for using three HST orbits for "their" planet, and summarized key scientific goals which could be achieved. Presenter Bill Gutsch reviewed the history of Space Telescope (launch, servicing mission, most revealing and amazing images, current capabilities). Gutsch provided a project timeline, Internet addresses for on-line updates and encouraged participation in an unprecedented experiment in science education and outreach. Web page for links to some great on-line resources. See Activity 4B for tips on how to make slides from books or computer screen.) Challenge them to find the most exciting sites and sights offered by their chosen planet or its moons-from Valles Marineris, a Grand Canyon on Mars that would stretch across the entire United States, to sheer cliffs of ice on Uranus' satellite, Miranda, 8 miles high. What resort attractions might 21st century technology bring? A golf course on the moon? Snow machines creating a long downhill ski run from a mighty Martian volcano?

Have students make rough sketches of their posters or brochures. Through team discussion, encourage them to edit and refine. Have them compose the finished product before making an oral presentation to the entire class-and come prepared to respond to charges of false advertising or bad science!

Lead a class discussion about what might some day be feasible, and what are likely to remain fantasies. (Be somewhat cautious about skepticism: in the late 19th century, eminent scientists were still saying heavier-than-air flight was utterly impossible.)

Give students an overall advertising budget for "Planet Tours, Inc." for a one month advertising campaign, and challenge students to develop a marketing plan. If a student has a relative who's a travel or advertising professional, they might be invited to give a talk before the class.

Have them make their presentations to another class (perhaps a lower grade, who can then also ask questions, turning your students into teachers) who will vote on their favorite planetary vacation destination.

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