The 30 teachers chosen will receive special training and materials for helping other teachers and their students understand MESSENGER's mission to Mercury. Both formal and informal educators are encouraged to apply.
Keri Hallau, who supports public outreach for MESSENGER through Montana State University's Extended University, said that no Montana teachers have yet participated as MESSENGER fellows. MESSENGER is an acronym for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, she said.
"We would be very excited to have a Montana representative," said Hallau. "Fellows are chosen to reflect a geographically and institutionally diverse mix of people from a variety of settings, so it would be great to have an educational fellow in a previously unrepresented region. Taking part in the MESSENGER Educator Fellowship Program is a great way for educators to make an impact on science education in Montana and beyond."
Hallau added that those teachers who are chosen will receive a five-day training workshop in Washington, D.C., business cards that identify them as a MESSENGER educator fellow, copies of MESSENGER education modules, a how-to manual on conducting effective teacher training workshops and other NASA resources.
Fellows are expected to conduct workshops that reach a minimum of 100 teachers per year for two years and share evaluation data from those workshops.
Hallau said MESSENGER will be the first spacecraft ever to orbit the planet Mercury. It was launched in 2004 and flew past Mercury three times in 2008 and 2009, sending back the first photos of the previously unseen side of the planet. In March 2011, MESSENGER will go into orbit around Mercury and begin a comprehensive year-long study of the planet.
Access the application materials at http://messenger-education.org/teachers/ao.php or through a link at Extended University's outreach site: www.montana.edu/outreach. The deadline for applications is April 10.
Keri Hallau, email@example.com