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Teacher Programs: Weightlessness in Space. Deadline: April 30, 2010

Eligibility: Public Middle School teachers of STEM subjects in schools near flight locations. Special consideration given to educators in underserved communities and schools with underperforming math and science scores. Application Deadline: April 30, 2010.

The Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery program includes teacher workshops and parabolic flights in locations throughout the country. To see the 2010 workshop and flight schedule, click here.

In each workshop, teachers learn about the physics of weightlessness and what to expect on the zero gravity flight. They also design microgravity experiments that applied science, technology, engineering or mathematics principles to human activities in a weightless environment. During the weightless flight one or two weeks later, they conduct their experiments under the watchful eye of a video camera. Teachers then use their videotaped flight experience and the results of the experiments to help shape math, science, technology or engineering curricula at their home schools.

Transforming America’s Classrooms

Teachers who participated in previous Weightless Flights of Discovery have reported through letters and e-mails that the fun and exhilaration they experienced during the program have begun showing up in their classrooms.

The flights have helped them demonstrate to students that math and science are not only “cool,” but also “fun,” a language understood by students worldwide. And the teachers now see themselves in a new light, as a critical cog in a process that will help restore U.S. leadership in scientific and technical excellence. This program is all about giving teachers the tools and experiences they need to show their students that math and science are not only entertaining but can also be the basis for a fascinating career.

Online Resource Guide for Educators

Northrop Grumman Foundation has developed an educators’ guide as an online resource for teachers to learn more about the Weightless Flights of Discovery program. It provides insight on how to maximize the experience and take it back to the classroom to inspire students.

How to Apply

To apply for the 2010 Weightless Flights of Discovery Program, click on the  link below: Application for Teachers

The deadline to apply is April 30, 2010 or until all seats are filled.

Eligibility and Requirements

Eligibility:

  • Teachers of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, math) at an accredited public middle school near locations where flights will take place may submit an application to participate in the Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery program
  • Special consideration will be given to educators in underserved communities and at schools with underperforming math and science scores
  • Only teachers who have not previously participated in the Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery program are eligible to apply

Requirements:

  • Obtain and submit a letter of recommendation, on school letterhead, from the school principal or the math or science department chair. If you are a future teacher enrolled in an education program, please obtain and submit a letter of recommendation, on school letterhead, from your department chair.
  • Have the ability to obtain release time from school to participate in the workshop and flight
  • Complete and submit the Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery application
  • Complete a post-flight analysis survey

How a Zero Gravity Flight Works

Zero gravity flights are performed using a specially modified aircraft, an FAA approved aircraft called G-Force One. The maneuvers are conducted in dedicated airspace 100 miles long by 10 miles wide. Specially trained pilots fly the aircraft in a series of maneuvers called parabolas, or arcs, between the altitudes of 24,000 and 32,000 feet.

At the beginning of each parabola, the aircraft climbs at a 45-degree angle. At the “top” of the parabola, the aircraft is “pushed over” into a controlled descent that creates a temporary zero-gravity environment. The teacher flights include approximately 15 parabolas ranging from low-gravity environments typical of the moon (1/6th G) or Mars (1/3 G) to complete weightlessness. At the end of each “weightless” period, which lasts approximately 30 seconds, the aircraft is gradually pulled out of the descent, reestablishing a more normal gravity environment inside the plane.

One Response to “Teacher Programs: Weightlessness in Space. Deadline: April 30, 2010”

  1. […] development and class resources for teachers. The resources and programs include Northrop’s Weightless Flights of Discovery Program, which allows teachers to experience microgravity; the EarthWatch Educator Program where teachers […]

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