STEM News Splash

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Office of Public Instruction



STEM News Splash

NASA Image of the Day Solar Orbiter

Creative Commons

Launch of the Solar Orbiter
Image Credit & Copyright: Derek Demeter (Emil Buehler Planetarium)

Have you ever wondered, how does weather on the Sun affect humanity? To help find out, the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA have just launched the Solar Orbiter. This Sun-circling robotic spaceship will monitor the Sun's changing light, solar wind, and magnetic field not only from the usual perspective of Earth but also from above and below the Sun. Pictured, a long duration exposure of the launch of the Solar Orbiter shows the graceful arc of the bright engines of United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket as they lifted the satellite off the Earth. Over the next few years, the Solar Orbiter will use the gravity of Earth and Venus to veer out of the plane of the planets and closer to the Sun than Mercury. Violent weather on the Sun, including solar flares and coronal mass ejections, has shown the ability to interfere with power grids on the Earth and communications satellites in Earth orbit. The Solar Orbiter is expected to coordinate observations with the already Sun-orbiting Parker Solar Probe, launched in 2018.

Solar Orbiter to Space: Watch the Launch

WOW: Osprey Teacher PD (grades 6-12)

June 22 - 26, 2020 participate in authentic Osprey research in a five-day workshop that takes you into the field with real scientists and researchers, to take part in Osprey banding, data collections, and visits to the University of Montana flight lab in the Wings Over Water (WOW) program. Build a network of peers and professionals to support you in the classroom. All expenses are reimbursed and you will receive a stipend of $250.00. Registration is open until April 17, 2020.

DNA Experiment to Space (grades 7-12 )

Genes in Space is a science contest that challenges students to design original DNA experiments that address real-life challenges and opportunities in space exploration.  Teachers may want to use this as a way to get students motivated to understand the polymerase chain reaction.  Registration is now open and submissions are needed by April 17, 2020.

Contact Opportunity: Amateur Radio on the International Space Station

Due by March 31,2020 proposals from Schools, Museums, and Community Organizations (formal and informal educations) are being accepted to host an amateur radio contact with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station between Jan 1 and June 30, 2021.  To learn more visit the ARISS website.

SKYPE a Scientist

This program is free for teachers and classes to sign up.  Students can chat with a scientist and ask questions.  These scientists are from all over the world and cover an assortment of topics.  

Global Climate Change Resources

Interested in helping your students learn Climate Literacy?  PBS LearningMedia has a multitude of resources and lesson ideas for grades 3-12.  Michelle McCarthy is looking for feedback on how this works for you, please share your findings to

Inspired Classroom Logo

Real Scientific Data

that relates to Montana Students

Inspired Classroom

Sage Grouse Challenge: Golden Eagle Challenge: Tracking Ghosts: Mountain Lions  Connect with Montana Scientists for free.  Explore the Inspired Classroom website to see if they have something that will work in your classroom.  

MLC Logo

High School Sophomores Needed!

Western Aerospace Scholar program sign up is underway.  The last day to register is February 14, 2020.  HS sophomores take the first phase of this program, an online course over a couple of months, and after passing this course they experience phase two, which is a three-day camp at the Montana Learning Center on Canyon Ferry Lake.  Students explore engineering programs, tour the Boeing facility, and join a team to get to Mars!  Do not miss this fabulous opportunity.  

Teachers/Counselors for Summer Camps Needed

Camp staff positions are open to Certified Teachers, Outdoor Educators, and college students.  The Montana Learning Center (MLC) offers competitive pay, room and board at the MLC, and up to 80 OPI Renewal units.  Applications are being accepted now, and if you'd like more information, please visit the MLC website

Nominate a Great Math or Science Teacher: PAEMST

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is taking nominations.  The nomination deadline is March 1, 2020.

Calendar of Events & Opportunities


Keep updated with new opportunities, professional development, and science resources at the Montana OPI's Science Page.  

This message was sent by Michelle McCarthy, Science Instructional Coordinator.  You can reach Michelle by email at or by calling (406) 444-3537.  

The OPI is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation, require an alternate format, or have questions concerning accessibility, contact the OPI ADA Coordinator, 406-444-3161,, TTY 406-444-0235.