March 29, 2006 Total Solar Eclipse-International Collaboration K12 Outreach and Student Training in Space Physics


International Workshop on COSMOS in the Classroom, K12 Outreach and Student Training in Space Physics

Sebha University in collaboration with the Libyan Center for Remote Sensing and Space Science is conducting an international symposium on Solar Physics and Solar Eclipse in conjunction with the total solar eclipse to occur on March 29, 2006. The location of the symposium lies along the path of totality to enable participants to view the eclipse and to set up their own experiments directly at the site of the symposium, Waw-an-Namus. The main objective of the symposium is to offer a perfect site to observe the solar eclipse while providing a unique opportunity to establish and develop contacts between scientists all over the world. The event will present an inspiring occasion to discuss recent advances in solar astrophysics. A wide variety of topics will be discussed, and in particular Solar Eclipse; history and contemporary science, solar magnetic fields; recent results, polarimetric observations of the solar spectrum, effects of solar variability on earth’s climate and space weather, solar energy utilization; recent developments and current challenges. 

At the International Heliophysical Workshop, sponsored by the United Nations, NASA, European Space Agency and United Arab Emirates University, scientists from USA (Dr. Abebe Kebede), India (Mr Arvind Paranjpye), Iraq (Dr. Najat Urbandi) , Nigeria(Dr. A. Babatunde Rabiu,), Libya (Dr. Abdelgardir Abseim), Cameroon(Dr. Emmanuel Guemene), Ivory Coast (Dr. Olivier Obrou) and Egyt (Dr. Maha S. Quassim)  proposed a unique international outreach program around the March 2006 solar eclipse. While the main event is centered in Waw an Namus, Libya this group of collaborators will exchange content and experimental activities to be performed in their own countries as well as in countries lying along the path of totality Of particular emphasis is that an international team of undergraduate and graduate students. faculty members and space science educators will travel to Libya to participate in the SPSES2006. The team will also conduct a two day SPSES2006 “COSMOS in the Classroom” workshop for K12 STEM teachers amd participate in  “Physics on the Road” outreach reach activities for K12 students and the public.

The COSMOS in the Classroom Workshop  for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Teachers

K-12 Outreach programs and activities are the corner stone for improving the quality of education, to enhance the breath and depth of knowledge, functional literacy, as well as improve the science and mathematical skills of incoming freshman students nationwide.  Program developers for K-12 activities have collaborated to develop effective outreach activities that initiate change of general behavior towards specific fields. Particularly, such collaboration and exchange of ideas are vital in order to increase the number of university students in STEM. This particular workshop, named "The COSMOS in the Classroom" targets STEM Teachers for grades 9-12. There are three important points to this workshop.

  •  It will address several specific competencies and skills using US National Standard and standards of the State of North Carolina as benchmark.
  • It will address the No Child Left Behind Act
  • It will add now teaching and learning technologies for STEM classroom instruction. Particularly, we will introduce the application of logger  other similar products. The logger pro is an experimental and data analysis platform that is used to measure physical quantities such as kinematics and thermodynamics. 
Summary of Skills and General Topics
(1) Teachers will identify and learn to use NASA resources
(2) Teachers will learn how to use the web, 
(3) Setup email lists, make websites with links to simulation and virtual laboratories, 
(4) Hands on experience in undergraduate Physics laboratories 
(5) Teachers will learn how to integrating 
(6) NASA K12 learning/teaching materials, and technology tools in the science syllabus 
(7) Teachers will put their science syllabus on line 
(8) Teachers will develop learning communities
The sun and the solar system 
Stars and Evolution of Stars 
The death of stars 
Space Science Missions 
Light and Matter 
Atomic and Plasma Physics 
Solar Physics 
High energy physics 

General Physics 

Kinematics and Dynamics

Comparative competencies and objectives with North Carolina Standards
The learner will acquire an Understanding of the earth in the solar system and its Position in the universe.
Analyze the theories of the formation of the universe and solar system.
Analyze planetary motion and the physical laws that explain that motion: This include
Rotation., Revolution, Apparent diurnal motions of the stars, sun and moon, Effects of the tilt of the earth's axis.
Examine the sources of stellar energies
Life cycle of stars, Hertzsprung - Russell Diagram.
Assess the spectra generated by stars and our sun as indicators of motion and the composition (The Doppler Effect)
Evaluate astronomers' use of various technologies to
Extend their senses:, Optical telescopes., Cameras, Radio telescopes., Spectroscope.

US Grades 9-12 Science Content Standard
Physical science
Structure of atoms
Structure and properties of matter
Chemical reactions
Motions and forces
Conservation of energy and increase in disorder
Interactions of energy and matter
Science as inquiry
Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
Understandings about scientific inquiry
Earth and Space Science
Energy in the earth system
Geochemical cycles
Origin and evolution of the earth system
Origin and evolution of the universe

Tentative -Program Schedule 
Day 1


  • Technology Tools for Science and Mathematics Learning: 
  • Overview of technology for hands-on activities 
  • (Logger PRO, academic software, Information technology) 

9:35-10:35: Overview of astronomy

  • Observations and identification of prominent stars constellations and planets
  • Overall size, structure and age of the Universe
  • Evolution of Stars 

  • 10:45-11:55 SUN-EARTH CONNECTION 

  • Structure of the Sun-Interior
  • Solar Surface Features
  • Motions of Sun
  • Gravity
  • Tides
  • Tidal Forces
  • Eclipses
  • 12:00: Lunch 


    • Orbital mechanics
    • The mathematics of space flight: 
    • Understanding gravity
    • Keppler's laws
    • Newton's laws of motion

    14:35-15:30 Overview of Earth and Space Science Education Resources 

    15:40-16:30: Feedback, Q&A, ADJOURN

    Day 2


  • Technology Tools for Science and Mathematics Learning: 
  • Overview of technology for hands-on activities 
  • (Logger PRO, academic software, Information technology 

  • 9:35-10:35: Overview of astronomy 

  • Solar systems: comparing
  • our sun to other stars.
  • Formation of Planetary Systems
  • Comparative Planetology
  • Early Earth; Planetary Exploration

    10:45-11:55:Overview of astronomy
  • Position and motion of objects in our solar system and Galaxy
  • Big Bang; Synthesis of the Elements
  • Technology of exploring space- human and non-human 

    12:00: Lunch 


    • Techmology tools for space science and space exploration
    • Get ready for the Total  Solar Eclipse under Libyan Skies. 

    Physics on the Road Project (PoRP): A project to enhance Public visibility of Physics, to support K12 Physics Education in Guilford County Schools, North Carolina and beyond

    Scale of project 

    Text Box: We plan to conduct Physics on the Road Project (PoRP) that will be a international model for recruitment and retention of students in STEM, particularly in physics. This program begins with on March 26  by visiting several schools in the city of Tripoli using a mobile physics laboratory. We plan to spend at least two hours per school.

    Physics on the Road Activities

    Text Box: This program is an outgrowth of our recent science on wheels activities in several schools and after school programs in North Carolina, We began with an activity we call "Colors are everywhere" tailored to level of the student. Several topics were introduced. These include identification of colors of the rainbow fractions, electromagnetic spectrum and the energy from the sun.We expanded the activities to include demonstration on Mechanics, Electromagnetism, change of phase, light, magnetic levitation, superconductivity and many others.


    A total of 500 students and their teachers have been served so far. Dr. Abebe Kebede and one undergraduate student currently lead this outreach. We propose to replicate these activities in Libyan schools. As much as possible we will attempt to make the demonstrations treflect aspects of everyday life such as sports, toys and entertainment, climate and weather, safety, light and Acoustics, famous people and the like. In every demonstration we do we will attempt to build every day experience of the observer and the experimenter..

    List of  activities
    The Physics on the Road program contains activities to demonstrate principles of physics in common everyday experience. For example sports, light, acoustics. In order to develop a diverse set of activities, we plan to collaborate with similar activities in the country and around the world. For example we will adopt or directly use activities from the Physics in a Van program (UIUC), the Pacific Science Center, Little Shop of Physics (Colorado State University), Kids-Physics(Syracuse University), and Science on Wheels (Marshall University), the Science Houses (North Carolina State), as well as other outreach programs spread in the US (
    (1) Colors are Everywhere: This module about the origin of color, and how color forms as light from a source pass through a devise such as prism. This program is designed to fit all classes including high schools. The topics include identifying colors in the rainbow, manipulation of shapes, fraction, optical devises, energy and the sun.
    (2) Electrostatics:This module contains documentation and activities that will be used at any grade level. It will be accompanied with demo and hands on activities that will involve generation and transport of charge. We will use the Van De Graff Generator a center piece for electrostatics
    Text Box:
    (4) Electromagnetism: This module contains documents about electricity and magnetism and the relationship between the two. This document will be tailored to fit the K12 course of study. Students will design their own circuits and electromagnets. We will use a variety of electromagnetic devices to measure electrical quantities such as current, voltage power. While students learn the principles of electromagnetism, we will introduce the magnetic field of the earth by introducing the function of a compass.
    Text Box:
    (5) Mechanics: This module contains documents and activities about kinematics, dynamics, energy and momentum transfer. The demos include rotational motion, bouncing balls, motion and motion detectors etc. We will add projectile motion, rocket design, and space flight in a public setting.
    Text Box:
    (6) State of Matter: This module contains documents and activities on state of matter. We will use liquid nitrogen to demonstrate change of phase. We will also go further to demonstrate superconductivity and its interaction with magnetic field.
    (7) Hands on Solar Eclipse models and operation of portable solar telescope.


    Five lecturers Sebha University
    100 undergraduate and graduate students from Sebha University
    Two members of the NASA Sun-Earth Connection community
    15 US graduate and undergraduate students
    Five NASA ESA space science experts and educators
    Ten other international students and educators from developing countries

    Participating schools: TBA

    Funding opportunities: Pending availability we plan to privide partial travel funds (Please contact Dr. Abebe Kebede