Blog News August 7, 2009 and an Apology

 Posted by DrJeff on August 7th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog


Blog on the Universe has now been up for nearly 3 months, and a significant amount of content is now on the site, both in the Posts and in the Resource Pages. Feedback has been very positive, which is GREAT!! Without feedback I have no idea if I’m just wasting a lot of time on this blog. So thanks!! And keep providing that feedback, good, bad or ugly. Also, if you are a teacher or a parent, let me know how you’re using the blog or planning on using it with your class or kids. You can contact me HERE, or send me an email at


I want to apologize for a lack of new posts for 3 weeks. My goal has always been at least 2 posts per week. I’ll be putting up a new post in a few minutes. I’ve also spent the last 3 days writing lots of posts in order to have a backlog.


Over the last few weeks I’ve been pretty busy.  Not a great excuse, but wanted to share. On July 18-20, the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, of which I’m Center Director, in concert with the City of Corpus Christi, permanently installed a Voyage scale model Solar System along the Corpus Christi waterfront. It is the fourth Voyage exhibition to install. The first was permanently installed on the National Mall in Washington, DC, in front of the Smithsonian. The other two Voyages are in Houston and Kansas City. The goal is 100 installed around the planet, making this likely the largest space science exhibition project ever undertaken.


I traveled to Corpus Christi for the opening, speaking at a VIP breakfast, giving a VIP tour of the exhibition, doing a family program at the wonderful Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, doing a cool program for a large public audience at Flour Bluff High School, speaking to the Texas Governor’s Academy students, and conducting an all day educator workshop for lead science teachers in the Corpus Christi area.  It was a WONDERFUL experience. We’re now building sustainable community-wide programming in space science around the exhibition.


Check out the Voyage in Corpus Christi photoalbum on our Facebook page. If you go thru the photos in order, it tells the story of the exhibition from concept, to fabrication, to installation, to opening event programming. Definitely read the captions, they’re funny.

Here’s the URL:


By the way, if you’d like to explore a Voyage for YOUR community, contact me! In many communities we are able to help with the fundraising by identifying possible funders, and assisting with writing any needed proposals.


FYI, I wrote the storyboards for the Voyage exhibit, and together with programs for kids, families and teachers I’ve conducted for many years, I’ve developed a philosophy for science education. This Blog is formally an online extension of that philosophy, and a formal extension to the Voyage National and International Programs overseen by the Center.


Ok, I now have 3 weeks of Posts ready to go!  Let folks know Blog on the Universe is back in business!





Blog News June 9, 2009

 Posted by DrJeff on June 9th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog


Blog on the Universe has now been up for 4 weeks. That’s enough time for me to now step back and see what needs to be tweaked based on visitor feedback and a good understanding of what it takes to generate content on a regular basis. So here is what’s new—



The Blog was originally designed for parents and teachers, but the feedback indicates a far broader appeal. I’ve therefore changed the description of the Blog to reflect that it’s for anyone but we still retain a special focus for teachers and parents. Read the new About this Blog page.


Flavors of Posts

Looking at the posts thus far, it’s clear they are heavily weighted on the side of Weekly Challenges. The main reason—each week the idea was to post the solution to the Challenge from the week before together with a new Challenge—that’s 2 posts per Challenge on the same day. It’s also pretty clear that the Weekly Challenges should not be a central focus of the Blog but just one of the multiple flavors of posts. So I’ve decided to post the Weekly Challenge every other Monday. That way a Challenge is posted, the solution is posted the following week, and the new Challenge is posted a week after that.  It makes for better flow.


Spreading the Word

For this Blog to be successful, we’ve got to grow the audience. I know it’s out there. There are likely 3 million teachers of science in the U.S. alone. (I’m pretty sure the number of  parents is a bit higher.) And then there’s the general public.


So please help us get word out about the Blog. If you have email distribution lists, a newsletter, or can just Tweet about the Blog, go for it! Let’s make this a successful resource together. I’ve also just created a Friends of Blog on the Universe page. It includes a description of the Blog that you can use for email dissemination, a 1-page PDF flyer, and a widget you can download to your website. This Friends page is a place where I’d love to post comments about this Blog from organizations and individuals, provide your organizational name and a short mission statement, and a link to your website. Take a look.  Let me know if you’d like to make use of it by contacting me.


With best wishes for a wonderful summer,

Dr. Jeff



Our Earth in Space – the Nature of Our Existence

 Posted by DrJeff on May 28th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog



I started this blog to share exciting stories of exploration with those that teach the next generation—parents and teachers. I hope it can help you inspire our children. More generally, these stories are for anyone who gets joy from learning, and aspires to know.


If you really want to get a sense of where I”m coming from, read my Resource Page The Nature of Our Existence. I hope it moves you. And if it does, share it by leaving a comment on the bottom of the page.


It’s a story—a philosophy—reflecting programs developed and delivered over 19 years at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, and across the nation—to families, teachers, and the public.


I’d like to see this blog continue for quite a long time. I’ve got lots to share. But that requires us to build an audience. So please let parents, teachers, and friends know about this blog so we can make a difference together. Send out a tweet or some emails!


You might also like to read other Resource Pages in the section called Dr. Jeff on Stuff (see the column at right.) And subscribe for e-mail notification to stay up-to-date with new Posts.


To all those teachers finishing their year and feeling exhausted, you could probably use a reaffirmation right now about why you went into teaching! I think reading The Nature of Our Existence might help. It’s a good way to start your summer!

—Dr. Jeff



Hello world!

 Posted by DrJeff on May 14th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog


Blog Launch: Tuesday, May 19, 2009

-Dr. Jeff


Wait! Before you leave, read About this Blog and explore a few of the Resource Pages in the right column. While Blog posts begin on Tuesday May 19, the library of Resource Pages is now finished and the pages are calling out ‘read me’.


On the Resource Pages you’ll find powerful essays on, e.g., the nature of our existence in the greater universe, the art of teaching, and our heritage as a species of explorers through stories from the National Air and Space Museum—the most visited museum on the planet. You’ll also find moving quotes on science, science education, human exploration, and learning. And on the Cool Resouces pages, I’ve suggested how teachers can put these essays to work with their students, and how parents can do the same with their own children. (FYI—my favorite page is the Nature of Our Existence, but The Power of Models is a close second.)


If you like what you see, think about subscribing for e-mail notification of new posts—even register with your own account! You’re also invited to become a fan on the Blog’s Twitter or Facebook page to hear about Posts I’m working on, and to suggest new posts to me and the fans. I’ll be reading along!


And please share this Blog with teachers and parents you know! We want this Blog to make a difference in children’s lives—how they view their world and themselves—and to provide powerful tools in science education for both teacher and parent.


Dr. Jeff (again)