School children track Georges' progress as part of a month-longInternet-based educational program on hurricanes presented by NASA, GTE and Discovery Channel School.

[PALM HARBOR, Fla.] - Ten-year-old Drew Smith has often wondered what it would be like to fly along with the world-famous "Hurricane Hunters" into the eye of a hurricane. The fifth grader at Sutherland Elementary
School here will soon find out because his class is taking part in a free Internet-based, educational program on hurricanes, forecasters and hurricane hunters presented by NASA's Quest Project, GTE and Discovery Channel School. "Eye of the Storm," puts students right in the middle of one of nature's most terrifying events, without ever having to leave their classroom.

Through the use of technology, students like Drew will learn about the cause and effect of one of nature's most dangerous and devastating phenomena. By way of the Internet, students will visit the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility and meet the people on the front line of defense against these deadly storms. The program includes video taken during a recent flight with
the United States Air Force Reserve's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (the world famous "Hurricane Hunters") as they flew into the eye of Hurricane Bonnie; a Category 3 hurricane.

"Eye of the Storm" begins Friday, September 25. The four-week program will feature eight live events including four video broadcasts available via satellite and by Internet Web-cast and chat. The program provides these benefits to educators:

  • Timely topic. Scheduled during the height of the hurricane season that runs through November, the program will assist students in understanding the dangers associated with this weather phenomenon.
  • It's free. Provided at no charge to students and teachers at K-12 schools.
  • In-depth curriculum. Developed by teachers, it's available through Discovery Channel School's Web site (http://discoveryschool.com). Educators can select age-appropriate materials, study guides and collaborative projects.
  • World-class sponsors. "Eye of the Storm" is underwritten by GTE; NASA's Quest Project is providing the Internet multi-cast service; and Discovery Channel School is hosting the program's web site.
  • Multiple technology platforms. While the content was developed specifically for an Internet event, adding satellite delivery makes it a true multi-cast. Schools may receive video and audio feeds from both Ku-band and C-band satellites and over the Internet via Webcast during
    any one of the four live video events.
  • Interactive Experience. The program offers the chance for students to ask questions from the experts on the science and technology of hurricanes.
  • Hear from the Experts. From the National Hurricane Center, students will hear from Director Jerry Jarrell and from Miles Lawrence who has been tracking hurricanes for more than 30 years. While during an actual flight with the Hurricane Hunters, Director of Operations, Jimmy Stewart is interviewed as he pilots a C-130 aircraft through the eye of a category 3 hurricane.

To Drew's teacher, Ginny Johnson, it's important that her students can experience real-world science adventures like "Eye of the Storm." "This program provides teachers with high quality educational content that they can get excited about, and also helps to increase student achievement by providing hands-on learning opportunities," Johnson

The first program will be broadcast live from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. The independent, coeducational, liberal arts college plays host to the cast and crew during both the Sept. 25 and Oct. 16 program.

"Eye of the Storm" -- it's just like being in a hurricane, only not as wet!

With 1997 revenues of more than $23 billion, GTE is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies and a leading provider of integrated telecommunications services. In the United States, GTE provides local service in 28 states and wireless service in 17 states; nationwide long-distance service and internetworking services ranging
from dial-up Internet access for residential and small business consumers to Web-based applications for Fortune 500; as well as video service in selected markets. For more information about this project, check http://www.gte.com/eyeofthestorm.

NASA's Quest Project is funded by the Learning Technologies Project. The Quest project features "Sharing NASA," a series of interactive online projects that connect teachers and students with NASA's scientists and engineers. The Quest Project also hosts the "Learning Technologies Channel," a location on the Internet for participating in live audio and video events (http://quest.arc.nasa.gov).

Discovery Channel School designs innovative materials for classroom use based on the documentary programming of Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, Animal Planet, and The Travel Channel. Through the Discovery Channel School web site, teachers have free access to activities, lesson plans, feature stories, and Internet links that can stand-alone or be used with Discovery Networks' programs. Check http://discoveryschool.com.

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