National Aeronautics and Space Administration
The Search for Other Earths
All web seminar participants use online tools that allow them to mark-up presenter's slides or share desktop applications in addition to engaging in chat with others online and answering poll questions

This Web Seminar took place on March 12, 2012 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The presenter was Dr. Steve Bryson, Target Scientist for the Kepler Mission. In this Seminar, Dr. Bryson discussed NASA’s search for extra-solar planets and the methods for determining whether those planets can support life.

The PowerPoint, related resources from the NSTA Learning Center, and web links from the presentation are now contained in the above resource collection. Clicking on the collection link will place it in your Learning Center, My Library, neatly organized under the My Resource Collections tab.

In this program, Dr. Bryson gave an in-depth look at the Kepler Mission and its work to identify planets orbiting stars outside our solar system. He described three strategies for finding planets, including the tactic used by Kepler—the transit method. Dr. Bryson shared the results of data gathered by Kepler, and he talked about the first confirmed small planet in the “habitable zone,” orbiting its star at a distance that could potentially allow life to flourish.

Thirty-five (35) participants were present at the live Web Seminar in addition to the presenter and NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. In addition, three participants joined the presentation from locations outside of the United States: Dominica, Philippines, and Turkey.

Seminar participants received one of the NSTA SciGuides. A certificate of attendance was deposited into participants' My PD Record and Certificates area in the NSTA Learning Center for completing the evaluation form at the end of the program.

Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:

  • “This not only provided excellent information on an area that I find interesting, but opened up my eyes to the possibilities of what types of tools are out there that I can use in my classroom.”
  • “The seminar was very informative and interesting. It enhanced my previous knowledge about stars and our milky way galaxy.”
  • “I love these webinars, we are a lucky crowd of educators to have current NASA data available to us all.”
  • “This is beyond textbook knowledge, and it shows actual research data. This is what we need to engage the students in [the] learning process in our classroom.”

Thanks to the participants and the presenter for the learning opportunity, the interactions, and a job well done!

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