Department of Education and Public Outreach
Lunar and Planetary Institute
3600 Bay Area Boulevard
Houston TX 77058
The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) has trained nearly 1000 librarians and other community educators to bring Earth and space science and engineering to their youth programs through its Explore program. Over the course of its 15-year history, Explore has reached 35 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Explore was originally funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and has since grown to encompass NASA missions and ongoing science, as well as additional NSF projects.
Status: Internal Review
Status: Internal Review
- Increase and Sustain Youth and Public Engagement in STEM
- Better Serve Groups Historically Under-represented in STEM Fields
Goal: Explore aims to provide the content knowledge, skills, and materials that librarians need to engage and inspire library patrons in current explorations of Earth and our solar system, thus bringing the excitement and opportunities of NASA and the broader science and engineering professions to young people across the nation.
• With input from library and STEM professionals, develop Earth and space science and engineering activities characterized as
o Simple steps to follow
o Relying on inexpensive materials
o Relating to emerging Earth and space science and engineering
o Bolstering classroom concepts and practices
• Develop and distribute online and material resources, such as
o Hands-on activity procedures
o Supporting media lists
o Facilitator background information
o Implementation suggestions
o Program support resources (customizable flyers, PowerPoint files, press releases)
• Through in-person trainings, increase the confidence, self-reported ability, level of preparedness, and intention to use Explore activities and supporting resources of library staff.
• Through online trainings, increase awareness, the level of preparedness, and intention to use Explore activities and supporting resources of library staff.
• Communicate national and regional STEM education news, resources, and opportunities to library staff.
• Library staff facilitate active Earth and space science and engineering experiences for children, youth, and families.
• LPI receives feedback about educational approaches, online and material resources, and trainings methods from library staff.
• Children, tweens, and the older teens and community members that support them (i.e. parents, siblings, mentors) are engaged in active learning in Earth and space science and engineering
• Patrons access the library’s STEM resources (e.g. books; online access to STEM websites; community collaborators, such as STEM educators and professionals).
• Libraries attract new audiences (e.g. tweens) to and support new interactions (e.g. father-daughter) at library programs.
• LPI E/PO products and practices continue to innovatively support the provision of exciting, current STEM experiences.
86% are actively using Explore materials
~60% implement Explore activities on a regular basis
Compared to their perceptions from before participating in Explore:
Over 50% feel more prepared to offer science and engineering experiences and more comfortable using related resources — and they are more likely to lead science and engineering programs themselves (instead of hiring others)
60% are very committed to providing science and engineering experiences for their visitors (compared to 16% before the training)
Over 75% are more likely to advocate for including science and engineering in the programs offered at their facilities