Superintendent's Memo #015-10

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

January 29, 2010

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: ThinkQuest Project - Share the Skies

The Virginia Department of Education has partnered with the Oracle Education Foundation (OEF) to expand the Share the Skies statewide initiative that enables students and teachers to study astronomy in the daytime. Using OEF’s ThinkQuest platform, fifth- through ninth-grade participants will use the inquiry-based project to collect and analyze data and study the southern skies with peers in other countries. Participating students and teachers will access and control a telescope located in Australia using Internet tools. This project is aligned with Virginia’s Standards of Learning for science and mathematics.

ThinkQuest is a protected, online learning platform that enables teachers to integrate learning projects into their classroom curricula and students to develop critical 21st century skills, including creativity, communication, teamwork, and technology skills. The Oracle Education Foundation will provide free professional development for Virginia teachers and instructional technology resource teachers involved in the initiative. ThinkQuest currently supports 405,000 students in 43 countries.

More information about the project can be found on the Share the Skies website at

If you have questions or would like for your school division to participate in this project, please contact Jean Weller, educational technology specialist, at (804) 225-2825 or via e-mail at