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The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Education and Communications portfolio includes products, events, and programs aligned with priority areas identified by the federal Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education (CoSTEM). This portfolio of activities engages audiences in the story, the science, and the adventure of NASA's scientific explorations of our home planet, the solar system, and the universe beyond.

This Projects Tab contains links to individual project descriptions, including overviews, audiences served, reports, evaluation information, contact information, websites, and other features, organized by CoSTEM goals. The list of projects can be narrowed using the filters on the left sidebar. Click on a project’s name to view details. You are viewing archived activities; view current activities.

These projects are applicable to Working with Diverse Audiences

Youth and Public Engagement
Undergraduate Student Experiences
Working with Diverse Audiences
Calendar in the Sky: Professional Development for Informal Educators

Calendar in the Sky offers workshops and webinars for informal educators  and latino community leaders to learn about our website content, best practices in working with Latino audiences and partners, and resources they can use in their programming on these topics. We held workshops in the 6 metropolitan areas in the US with the largest latino populations: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Phoenix, and Houston. The workshops are also intended to broker releationships between local educators and latino community memebers. In addition, we hold a series of webinars on our content. We have created an online discussion space on our website for workshop participants to use.

Dawn Outreach Events

Dawn will be represented at several conferences and on facebook, twitter, and Google + Hangout.

Dawn Web site

The Dawn website includes up-to-date resources and information of thematic asteroid content and mission specific multimedia and educational materials. Secondary pages include details of mission, science, technology, multimedia, education, community and get involved pages. The homepage includes features, timelines and links to where is the spacecraft is now, mission status reports, media releases and scientist/engineer interviews. During FY 2011, the website underwent a redesign to comply with other JPL websites. In FY 2012, refinements to the site continue as new strategies are developed to accommodate data and images as well as increasing educational materials.

Dawn: GESTEM: Girls in STEM Education

Dawn  education team members presented new science findings and activities as well as background information to a variety of student audiences in informal education settings. Here, a set of workshops about the Dawn Mission were presented at GESTEM, Girls Exploring Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, events in Denver, Colorado, April 20, 2012 and May 9, 2014 sponsored by the Colorado Women in Engineering Society. Aproximately 150 middle school girls were reached during three workshops at each event. One highlighed the Dawn mission using an activity developed for NASA's Discovery and New Frontiers Programs, Art and the Comic Connection, in which students used the elements of art to perform visual analysis of images of giant asteroid Vesta and create an individial piece of art. In two workshops, Dawn engineering using ion propulsion was highlihgted piloting a kinesthetic model of coding the spacecraft's trajectory to its destinations.

Dawn: Institute for Meteoritics, University of New Mexico

Dr. Horton Newsom and a graduate student update information on "meteorights" and "meteorwrongs" providing expert advise and walk-in opportunities for the general public. This effort provides linkage to existing meteorite knowledge and the Dawn Mission.

Dawn: Presentation of meteorites and their role in the Dawn Mission

Exhibit on meteorites featuring Vestoids for 300 visitors over the weekend at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science


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. 

Five Stars Pathway - Afterschool Program at Girls Inc.

Led by Multiverse at UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory, Five Stars Pathway: Engaging Girls in Science through Multigenerational Mentors project is developing heliophysics curriculum targeting middle school girls to be implemented in Girls Inc. afterschool programs nationwide. 


Five Stars Pathway - Curriculum Resources for Afterschool

Led by Multiverse at UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory, Five Stars Pathway: Engaging Girls in Science through Multigenerational Mentors project is developing heliophysics curriculum targeting middle school girls to be implemented in Girls Inc. afterschool programs nationwide. 

Five Stars Pathway - Training for Afterschool Program Providers

Led by Multiverse at UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory, Five Stars Pathway: Engaging Girls in Science through Multigenerational Mentors project is developing heliophysics curriculum targeting middle school girls to be implemented in Girls Inc. afterschool programs nationwide. 

IBEX Space Explorers Afterschool Science Club

As part of a Chicago Public Schools systemic initiative, the IBEX Space Explorers After School Program (IBEX SEC) trains teachers to use the IBEX-funded GEMS SSS Curriculum with under-represented students.  The purpose of this program is to increase student exposure to space science that they do not receive during the school day and to increase their enjoyment in science activities.  This program provides professional development and classroom support for these science clubs through workshops and through staff site visits to classrooms.

IBEX Special Needs - Formal

The IBEX Education and Public Outreach program funded the development of seven strategy guides for middle school teachers. The first six guides utilize student text from Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) Space Science Sequence for Grades 6-8: Teaching How Scientists Use Models with What Makes Up Most of the Solar System?, Teaching Roundtable Discussions with Seasons on Mars, Teaching Text Structure with Understanding the Scale of the Universe, Teaching Vocabulary Awareness with Observing Stars, Teaching Science Vocabulary with The Shape of the Moon’s Orbit, and Teaching Scientific Comparison Writing with Pluto and Charon.

An additional strategy guide detailing accommodations for middle school students with dyslexia that was designed to accompany the GEMS Space Science Sequence for Grades 6-8 is available. The development of the GEMS Space Science Sequence for Grades 6-8 was partially funded by the IBEX Education and Public Outreach program and led by the Lawrence Hall of Science. The GEMS Space Science Sequence is designed to address age-appropriate core concepts in space science and common misconceptions that students have about them, and it is divided into four units: How Does the Sun Affect the Earth?, Why Are There Seasons?, The Solar System, and Beyond the Solar System. Within each of the units, students explore different areas of space science, building on what they have learned, having their misconceptions challenged, and making connections to other areas of science they have studied.

IBEX Special Needs - Informal

This project created resources about the IBEX mission and heliophysics in the form of tactile materials for people with visual impairments and online games and activities for people with visual impairments.  The purpose of this project was to make IBEX and heliophysics materials available to people who might not otherwise have access to similar resources.  The tactile materials were all distributed in 2011 at no cost through the Adler Planetarium to interested educators.

MAVEN: Girls go to Mars! Kits

Girls go to Mars – a Girl Scouts project to develop engaging activities using MAVEN science and engineering content, culminating in a patch for girl scouts. Estimated dissemination is ~20 troops per state with ~10 girls per troop, or approximately 2,000 troop leaders and 10,000 Girl Scouts nationwide

MAVEN: Girls go to Mars! Professional Development

Girls go to Mars Training – a Girl Scouts project to develop engaging activities using MAVEN science and engineering content.  Trainings for Girl Scout troop leaders are included in the final years of the project. 

MAVEN: Imagine Mars through Native Eyes

Imagine Mars through Native Eyes – a professional development project for informal out-of-school time educators of native young teenagers, which adapts the process-driven MEPPE Imagine Mars project. The MAVEN E/PO team expects to train 30 out-of-school time educators, with a total reach of 900 youth.

MAVEN: Red Planet: Read, Write, Explore! Lessons

MAVEN mission formal E/PO is a comprehensive program targeting K-12 teachers and students. The program involves product development and professional development workshops, including MAVEN Educator Ambassador Project, Space Science Teachers Summit, and Red Planet, and management and evaluation for the aforementioned activities. The objective of the MAVEN mission EPO program is to engage multiple audiences in the quest to understand Mars’ long-term atmospheric losses, giving insight into the history of Mars’ atmosphere and climate, liquid water, and planetary habitability.

MAVEN: Red Planet: Read, Write, Explore! Professional Development

Red Planet: Read, Write, Explore! – a professional development project for elementary teachers across the United States and focused on Latino, Spanish-speaking communities. The professional development will incorporate science in elementary school literacy projects using the topic of Mars exploration.

MMS: NASA EDGE (Video Mission Updates/Career Interviews)

NASA EDGE is an unscripted, non-traditional video podcast or vodcast designed to highlight all things NASA in a unique and fun way. Built in the framework of sports talk radio (i.e. Mike and Mike in the Morning - ESPN Radio), NASA EDGE has generated a positive buzz for NASA in a way in which young teens and adults can relate. Produced vodcast segments will focus on a particular components of the MMS mission. For example, one segment might focus on the science instruments and another on the engineering design of the MMS satellite. In addition, the team will produced a series of 5min MMs career-based video clips that are promoted on the MMS YouTube channel, website and social media venues. In March 2015, NASA EDGE will produce a live webcast from the MMS launch site.

MMS: Space Math (Instructional Guide)

This guide uses examples from the MMS Mission to introduce mathematics in a real-world context to fifth through eighth graders. It is meant to help students learn about math utilizing the NASA MMS mission and be able to produce artifacts that can be shared with their peers and with their families. The main area of mathematics covered in this guide is geometry. The guide focuses on two-dimensional and three-dimensional geometry to assist students in developing spatial skills. There are also some activities that involve algebra and computational skills.


STEAM Camp - Dublin ISD piloted the MMS Challenge during the summer STEAM camp of 2012 and hosted a NASA national student summit in April of 2012 to help generate excitement about NASA’s MMS mission. Student experiences included hosting a digital art, physics, and robotics exhibition. Although Dublin ISD is a small and rural school, the impact of DISD STEAM camp led to an after school robotics program during the fall of 2012. The NASA MMS Challenge was piloted in Dublin ISD during the spring of 2012 and during Dublin ISD’s STEAM 2012 camp. The program was featured at ASCD 2012 fall conference, ISTE 2012, TCEA 2013, and was showcased at SITE 2013 and ISTE 2013. This program provides Dublin ISD and NASA the opportunity to extend on the previous experiences to focus on solar renewable energy and to pilot a fabrication unit to build academic vocabulary relating to renewable energies, solar weather, and magnetic space topics. The objective is to increase students’ interest in the MMS mission and science. The evaluation was the spinoff programs offered by the district as a strong indicator of student interest.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - Ambassador in the Classroom

Teachers, invite a Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Ambassador into your classroom!

Class visits include an introduction to the SDO mission and a hands-on activity aligned with national and local science standards. Presentations typically last from 45 to 75 minutes depending on the lesson and class length. An SDO Ambassador would also be happy to visit your school on Career Day or at other school events!

Teachers can choose from a variety of lesson topics including kinesthetic astronomy, what causes Earth's seasons, electromagnets, sundials, magnetic fields of the Earth and Sun, spectrometers, and space weather forecasting. For more information or to apply, please see the SDO website.

Visits will be subject to the availability of a speaker and their ability to travel to your school. Currently only teachers in Washington, DC and Baltimore areas are eligible. Apply today!

Solar Dynamics Observatory HMI Instrument - Data In the Classroom

This program involves development and facilitation of a laboratory activity for community college physics and astronomy students to give them an opportunity to analyze data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory mission. Professors and teachers at a local community college are involved in an SDO partnership to develop the lab exercise. The students at the community college are first year non-science majors coming from a diverse urban environment.

STEP: Sustainable Trainer Engagement Program for Earth and Space Science

STEP was a train-the-trainers professional development project for middle school science education specialists and lead teachers.   STEP increased the Earth and Space Science (ESS)  knowledge and pedagogy, and skills and confidence in providing professional development of middle school science specialists and lead teachers in the Houston region.  STEP provided 5 years of in-depth long-term professional development for educators already supporting other middle school teachers in Earth and space science, connecting them with Earth and space scientists from local institutions, and provided faded scaffolding support for participants as they conducted their own professional development for middle school science teachers.

Total Solar Eclipse: Live from the U.S.A

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the U.S.A. The glorious sight of the fully eclipsed sun will be visible along a 60-mile-wide path arching from Oregon to South Carolina. Millions of people are expected to travel to this “path of totality” to watch as the moon entirely covers the face of the sun.

People in the rest of the country will experience a partial eclipse. For those who can’t make it to the path, the Exploratorium, with our NASA partners, will be filming the event from two different locations and sharing it with the world by live stream. Audiences can join us on this website, by mobile phone, or at special events in the museum and other institutions across the globe.