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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.

View SMD Education and Communications Activity Overviews and Impacts

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.

ExCITES: DIY Sun Science

The DIY Sun Science app (for iPhones and iPads) allows families and educators to investigate and learn about the Sun at home, at school, or anywhere they go.

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. 

GEONS (Geomagnetic Event Observation Network by Students)

The THEMIS Education and Public Outreach team established ground-based magnetometer stations in the proximity of rural schools in traditionally under-served, underrepresented communities. Teachers at these schools were trained in how to use the magentometer data with their students. The network of these teachers, students, and magnetometers together with other students who participate using the web is called the Geomagnetic Event Observation Network by Students (GEONS).

Heliophysics Community of Practice for Formal Educators

The Heliophysics Community of Practice for Formal Educators is a multi-mission effort led by THEMIS-ARTEMIS E/PO and supported by the Van Allen Probes E/PO, IBEX E/PO and the Heliophysics Forum. The Community of Practice provides professional development opportunities for middle and high school teachers across the country to learn more about current heliophysics research and incorporate it into their classroom. 

Heliophysics Concept Maps: Mini-Atlas of Heliophysics Literacy

This document outlines three sets of concepts to form a “Mini-Atlas of Heliophysics Literacy” in order to: 1) provide a way for Heliophysics Education and Public Outreach professionals to understand how their formal education (including higher education) and informal education products tie to general overarching Heliophysics concepts, and 2) provide a way for educators or curriculum designers to tie Heliophysics concepts together with related science concepts. The AAAS Atlas of Science Literacy strand maps have been used as templates for several of the Heliophysics concept maps. One main difference, however, between the AAAS Atlas of Science Literacy strand maps and the Heliophysics Mini-Atlas is that the strand maps only cover concepts for grades K-12.  The Mini-Atlas of Heliophysics Literacy includes K-12 concepts and those that extend to higher education.

Heliophysics Educator Ambassador Program

The Heliophysics Educator Ambassador (HEA) program is a collaborative, multi-mission effort that provides professional development and resources to middle and high school science teachers who then train other teachers at local, regional and/or national workshops, conference and meetings. The NASA Heliophysics missions collaborating on the HEA program are: THEMIS-ARTEMIS, IBEX, Van Allen Probes, SDO, MMS, Voyager, RHESSI, STEREO, TIMED, AIM and ICON.

IBEX Electronic Outreach

This project involves presenting IBEX mission resources and materials via electronic means.  The purpose of this project is to bring the excitement of the IBEX mission and IBEX science results to a broad online audience and to make IBEX education and public outreach materials available online. The electronic venues for this project include:

IBEX Museum Materials

This project creates resources about the IBEX mission to support the IBEX planetarium show in the form of kits, printed materials, and downloadable files. These materials are distributed by request (and as available) through U.S. educational venues that are presenting the IBEX planetarium show as well as other informal venues.

IBEX Planetarium Project

This project makes the IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System planetarium show available to museums, science centers, nature centers, and planetariums in the U.S.  The purpose of this project is to make IBEX science discoveries available to a large number of informal education venues.  The planetarium show is distributed through the IBEX E/PO program and distributers.

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.

IRIS Challenger Learning Center Module

IRIS scientists at Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory are developing a Challenger Learning Center (CLC) module parallel to the materials they created for a similar SDO program. The target audience is students in grades 5-8 who visit the Challenger Centers.

IRIS Informal Resources & Training

The NASA/Ames IRIS Education and Public Outreach team has developed a training presentation which has been given to members of the NASA Museum Alliance, the JPL Solar System Ambassadors program, and similar Informal Educator groups.

IRIS National Undergrad Student Competition

This project is a yearly nationwide undergraduate student team competition to design and build spectrographs. It is targeted at under-represented students.

IRIS Outreach Materials

The IRIS Education and Public Outreach team will create various public outreach materials to highlight the IRIS mission.

IRIS Quest Challenge

The extremely popular and highly successful program of Quest Challenges presents middle-school students and their teachers with an authentic design task associated with a mission. Student groups are introduced to the Challenge via an initial webcast, and subsequently develop a preliminary design, obtain feedback from IRIS team members through a web chat, refine their designs, and then submit them for review and presentation as part of a culminating live webcast. The challenge is designed, developed and implemented by the NASA/Ames Mission E/PO Team (AMET).

IRIS Social Media

The goal of the IRIS social media program is to increase public awareness of the IRIS mission and IRIS-related science.  We will use web-based social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Flickr, etc. 

IRIS Spectroscopy Curricula and Web Resources

The IRIS EPO team will develop a collection of web-based and physical resources that support and complement the teaching of spectroscopy in classrooms.  This includes distribution of punch-out spectrographs, videos, PowerPoints, and activities. 

IRIS Spectroscopy Educator Workshops

The IRIS E/PO team will conduct a series of workshops instructing middle and high school teachers how to incorporate spectroscopy into their classes.

IRIS Summer Opportunities for Undergrads

Stanford, Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory (LMSAL), and NASA/Ames jointly host students in summer research opportunities by leveraging on Stanford’s highly-successful Summer Research College (SRC), a ten-week program currently available to undergraduate Stanford physics majors. The IRIS team extends this program to incorporate promising non-Stanford undergraduates recruited from 2- and 4-year colleges, especially those at institutions where students would not otherwise have the opportunity to become involved in a research program. Students in the IRIS National Science and Engineering Student Competition are particularly encouraged to apply.

By leveraging on an existing successful program, and bridging the gap between opportunities such as the NASA Quest Challenges and the summer school opportunities available to space science graduate students, our SRC Extension offers a diverse collection of undergraduates an introduction to the topic of heliophysics and the opportunity to gain valuable research experience early in their careers.

MMS: Cyber Cafe

The Cyber Café is an online collaborative space where a new way of social and experiential learning can take place. Working with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and their existing network of professionals, the resources in the MMS and Space Weather Action Center (SWAC) programs are used to engage educators from around the world in monthly topics that are relevant to the classroom, school and/or professional arenas. Café participants tackle key curricular and training areas in education specifically related to MMS STEM content. At the end of each 6-week Café, participants produce educational artifacts (webinars, curricula, etc.) that are used and shared in a variety of learning environments.

MMS: EPO Website

The E/PO section of the MMS website is specifically designed for number of MMS E/PO audiences and hosts a growing collection of lesson plans, activities, games, Interactives, podcasts, video clips and social media links, while highlighting the contributions, accomplishments and career paths of mission personnel. The MMS social media team works closely with the GSFC Office of Communications and NASA’s existing social media networks to reach the target audiences.

MMS: Launch Party Resources

The online ‘Educators Launch Kit’ will include Launch Party ideas, activities, and links to mission content, videos and social media pages. When available the page will also contain information on how to connect to the live launch. From these pages, users will be invited to join the MMS Magnetic Space Café. This collaborative website used by NASA's Science Education and Public Outreach Forum will provide an online space where educators and the general public come to chat, receive E/PO updates and ask questions. After launch, the Launch Party Kit will be modified to be an MMS Mission Party kit.

MMS: Media and Education Technology Incubation (METI) Lab

MMS will work closely with Heliophysics E/PO lead, Alex Young, to develop a Media and Eduaitonal Techlology Incubation (METI) lab. This lab will be operate as a ‘think-tank’ space to assist internal personnel from Heliopysics and Planetary in the development of mission outreach ideas and opportunities related to cutting edge technologies including 2D/3D printing, model building, chroma key use and mobile media. The evaluation will include surveys at the end of workshops to show the effect on teachers’ knowledge and intent to use, and a follow up survey nine months later on actual implementation.

MMS: Models (Paper Bookmark/Activity, Card, LEGO, Life-size)

Students can use these models to make and even stronger connection between engineering and mathematics while highlighting the importance of the MMS mission. On the models page, students can see a video of the LEGO model, make their own, make a paper model, or work on MMS card models. The MMS bookmark can be folded into a 3D model. It also has web resources and QR codes.

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: Second Life

MMS worked with Stephanie Smith (NASA Second Life Designer) to install models of the MMS spacecraft on NASA's eEducation Island. Second Life has become less of a draw for users lately but continues to be a place for MMS materials and activities. Given the capabilities of Second Life, it represents an environment that is very well suited for exploring the imagery of MMS.

MMS: Social Media

The MMS social media program is intended to communicate the science of MMS, as well as Heliospheric and STEM-related information to the general public and education professionals in an educational, fun and engaging way.

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.

MMS: Space Weather Action Center (MAGNETOSPHERE)

This program encourages students to design, assemble and use an 'easy to make' learning center called a Space Weather Action Centers (SWAC) .These centers provide a focused environment where students can monitor and report the progress of a solar storm or focus on data input from individual missions like MMS . As part of the SWAC setup, each center includes one computer with internet access to current and archived NASA data. Student flip charts offer 'Step by Step' instructions needed to quickly retrieve and transfer data to specified data collection sheets. Additional directions are provided to help students transform all of the newly acquired information into regularly scheduled news reports.

MMS will work with the CCMC at Goddard Space Flight Center to revise the MAGNETOPHERE section of the program to better reflect mission based science. For more project information, see


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.

MMS: Student and Teacher Computational Thinking Resources for NASA's MMS Mission

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) will partnet with the MMS mission to develop 3 resources related to the MMS Mission and student learning around the magnetosphere, space weather, and data manipulation.

The first resource will repurpose the previously created iBook for teachers, a companion to the student MMS Transmedia book (TBook), into other e-formats such as mobi and epub so they are accessible across the spectrum of e-readers in Kindle, Nook, and Android e-formats. While the TBook, developed by David Slykhuis and Troy Cline, focuses on experiments that help students understand the foundational scientific principles of the magnetosphere and engineering principles of the MMS satellite design, the companion resource currently is in iBook format, a mobile e-book with multimedia embedded. ISTE will make this same iBook resource available in other e-reader formats (see above) that provide an instructional guide for teachers to align these activities to both ISTE Standards and Next Generation Science Standards, and demonstrate how to modify TBook activities for students based on their age, background, and experience.

The second resource will be a Computational Thinking Student Activity e-book that teaches students how to collect data sets, analyze the information, and present their findings to create authentic, real-world application activities, known as citizen science, that can be applied to data streams coming down from the MMS mission or other related activities.

The third resource will be a companion teacher guide iBook that provides an instructional guide on how to teach students with the Computational Thinking Student Activity e-book, which again, will align to Next Generation Science Standards and the ISTE Standards; and digital age tools that teachers can use with the Computational Thinking Student Activity book to create meaningful interpretations of the data streaming from the MMS mission or similar types of activities and encouraging students to post their findings through social media channels. 

MMS: Student TransMedia Book (iMaginetic Space)

The Student Transmedia Book (T-Book) is a digital age storybook designed to help students learn about the NASA’s MMS mission through a variety of inquiry and engineering based experiences. A T-book, is a standard print book that serves as a nexus for all of the physical objects and digital resources necessary for its telling. A T-book exists in both a physical and digital space, which facilitates the seamless transition between the two states. It includes experiment instructions, data collection tables, reflection activities, QR codes linking to MMS content all while encouraging the use of digital fabrication.

MMS: Take the MMS Challenge

This is a challenge-based activity set designed to have students explore and research the Magnetospheric MultiScale Mission (MMS). Students will explore the purpose and relevance of the mission as well as the scientific methodologies. Activities include application of the scientific method, problem solving strategies, research, collaboration, critical thinking and communication. Links to resources and appropriate web 2.0 tools are provided through a shared livebinder at

MMS: Teacher iBook (iMaginetic Space)

The “Educators’ iBook Companion” is a mobile resource for the iPad embedded with self-paced professional development tools, information, and resources for educators. The iBook authors created rich learning content embedded with text, audio, and video that is well suited for complex concepts or demonstrations. This digital age teacher’s guide embeds: dynamic, interactive MMS content from NASA’s Space Weather Action network website (pending permission from NASA); lesson and experiment extensions that are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and the NETS; and self-paced professional development for teachers seeking to enhance their digital age teaching skills.

MMS: Teacher Training

Teacher professional development is designed to familiarize teachers with the MMS mission, the science and technoloygy, and the education resources. A special workshop on NASA and earth and space weather was designed and offered during FY14.Teacher training efforts were identified specifically for the impact and reach of the MMS mission. In 2014, a total of 13 teacher training related activities were identified reaching over 1100 teachers, educators, administrators, and university faculty.

SDO Project Suite

The SDO Project Suite is an NGSS-aligned curriculum that integrates new and adapts existing solar and space weather resources, which can be completed as a coherent unit or as individual lessons. The SDO Project Suite consists of a series of four student-led Solar Modules, with real-world application, that provide an interactive exploration of Solar Science:

Module 1: Introduction to the structure and features of the Sun.

Module 2: Investigates how and why the Sun is studied via the electromagnetic spectrum and magnetism.

Module 3: Explores the significance of solar activity and the effects of space weather on Earth.

Module 4: Student collaboration to design, create, and curate a 3-D Solar Exhibit summative assessment

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 - Comet Events

Since the discovery that SDO can see certain classes of comets in EUV, the SDO EPO team has created a specific website and social media program around SDO Comet sightings. This activity provides the public with information and up to date videos on the latest SDO comet sightings.  When a new comet is seen in space and looks like it will be large enough to be seen by SDO, the team updates the website to include all of the new information and develops a small social media plan to get the word out.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - Conference support

Exploration Station is a program of activities organized by the various American Geophysical Union (AGU) sections and focus groups. Many AGU section and focus group members work for organizations with well-developed education and public outreach programs. Exploration Station is an opportunity for these organizations to bring their exhibits and hands-on activities to the AGU Fall Meeting and interact with the public in San Francisco.

This event is four hours long, free, and open to the public. Participants make their way through an average of 20-30 exhibits offering a variety of easy, family friendly, hands-on activities and an opportunity to interact one-on-one with scientists, engineers, and education specialists.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - Day at Goddard

You are invited to bring your classes to spend the day at Goddard Space Flight Center! Activities include a facilities tour, a career-oriented meet and greet with scientists and engineers, and a hands-on lab activity. The purpose of this trip is to increase your students' interest in STEM subjects, expose them to STEM-related careers, and increase their awareness of the research that NASA conducts.

This trip is free; lunch and transportation are not provided.

This program currently runs on MONDAYS only. Register now! Spots fill up fast!

Classes can participate in one of two hands-on labs:

Rocketry 101: Students build an Estes model rocket with a team of their peers, altering one variable in the design of the rocket. In the afternoon, students launch their rocket and record the results.

Solar Cars: Students will develop a design for and build a solar car.

Currently this program is only available for Classroom Teachers.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - NASA Family Science Night

The NASA Family Science Night program invites middle school children and their families to come discover the wide variety of science and engineering being performed at NASA and in our every day life. You will work with volunteers to explore various themes on the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, and the Universe* through fun, hands-on activities. You will even get to take stuff with you when you leave to perform your own experiments at home!

Solar Dynamics Observatory - NEAT program

This program trains graduate students, with help of a Physics Education Research specialist, to present NASA-developed classroom activities to K-12 teachers, and to coach the teachers how to use those activities in their classrooms.  Program facilitators adopt and/or adapt activities from the existing, extensive catalogue of NASA-developed & -approved activities.  At the request of the teachers, program facilitators deliver the training/coaching sessions at their schools, with no cost to the teachers.  Participating K-12 teachers get 2 continuing education credits from the State of Montana.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - New Media

The SDO Facebook page is at The SDO Twitte feeds are @NASA_SDO and @NASA_SDO_EDU.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - Solar Science Fair

What is the Solar Science Fair?
The Solar Science Fair is a semester-long project for students ages 13-18 as well as classrooms and the general public. Participants are expected to create original projects using solar data. There will be many opportunities to ask solar scientists questions about your project or about what they do at NASA.

How will the projects be judged?
All projects will be judged based on the use of the scientific method, use of solar data, creativity and the clarity of the presentation. Each project will be judged by a panel of three judges individually and given a score for each of the sections and also an overall score.  The winners in each category will based on the cumulative score of the subsections and the overall project.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - SPOT Program

The Space Public Outreach Team (SPOT) provides FREE presentations about current NASA missions to Montana schools, youth programs, and community groups. The office at Montana State University in Bozeman sends presenters to schools and communities across the state.

The interactive SPOT presentations utilize slides, videos, animations and an inquisitive approach to relay the excitement of new discoveries in space science. NASA research and careers here in Montana are highlighted in each show. Presentations can be done in a classroom or assembly setting, as long as a screen or blank wall and an electrical outlet are available. Each show lasts approximately 45 minutes.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - The Camilla Space Weather Project

This project is specfically aimed at classrooms and students. It gives the public the ability to interact with the latest SDO data in a meaningful way to learn about the activity on the sun that causes space weather and what NASA and other agencies do to predict space weather.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - The Sunday Experiment

Join us at the sunday experiment and learn about all the cool science and engineering going on right now at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Take part in hands on activities, meet scientists, engineers, and super cool people like us! You can even load up on free stuff, and more.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - Think Scientifically Science Literacy Program

Think Scientifically is a three-book series for elementary school teachers that integrates math, science and reading instruction. Each storybook focuses on a key science theme and includes a hands-on science lesson, math and language arts activities, and other educational resources that can be easily utilized in the classroom. The books are based on national standards and were written by teachers. The books include a hands-on lab activity, a data collection/graphing activity, a language arts activity, a book walk, a bulletin board idea, etc.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - Transit of Venus Events

The goal of the Transit of Venus social media events was to build the excitement around this worldwide event and connect the public to Transit of Venus-related resources in their area.

Solar Dynamics Observatory - Website

The Solar Dynamics Observatory public website is available at

Solar Dynamics Observatory EVE Instrument - Solar Science Kit

The EVE Solar Science kit builds on high quality existing space science education resources and presents lessons and background information about the extreme ultraviolet light science of the Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) detector on the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The kit of lessons is supplemented by a DVD that includes a virtual tour of Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder, an overview of the EVE project, and offers the Stanford Solar Center's Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance (SID) space weather monitors as a optional enrichment activity.

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.

Solar Dynamics Observatory HMI Instrument - Informal Science Events & Materials

The goal of this project is to develop resources and events that improve informal education opportunities in solar and Solar Dynamics Observatory-related science.

Solar Dynamics Observatory HMI Instrument - Social Media

This project involves active engagement, involvement and support of public communications opportunities such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Flickr, etc., for SDO. Staff makes SDO and Heliophysics visible and "likeable" to the general public by posting current sun and solar information, developing materials to post, educate the public about the sun and solar events, including space weather, making videos and images, etc.

Solar Dynamics Observatory HMI Instrument - Student Science Events

This program involves a series of full-day and half-day events in schools that introduce students to the Sun, solar science, and space weather. The programs also encourage students to consider STEM careers.

Solar Dynamics Observatory HMI Instrument - Teacher Resources

This project involves development and distribution of solar science resources, learning guides, curricula, etc. designed to complement SDO and IRIS educator workshops and also serve as stand-alone materials (or with web-based instructional materials).

Solar Dynamics Observatory HMI Instrument - Teacher Workshops

The SDO EPO team presents a series of workshops to provide materials and techniques as to how educators can incorporate solar studies and space weather topics into science classrooms.

Solar Week

A twice-yearly week of online games, activities  and curriculum about the Sun for middle school and early high school students.  There is a special emphasis on engaging girls in science, but students of both genders are welcome. There is also an interactive element where students can ask questions of leading solar scientists (who are all female) on an online bulletin board. Solar Week takes place each fall and spring, during the latter parts of October and March.

Space Weather Action Center

Imagine being able to monitor the progress of an entire solar storm from the time it erupts from our sun until it sweeps past our small planet effecting enormous changes in our magnetic field. Now imagine being able to do all of this from your classroom-based Space Weather Action Center (S.W.A.C.)! By following the basic steps in the Instructional Guide your class will soon be on its way to accessing, analyzing and recording NASA satellite and observatory data. You will also want to download the 'step-by-step' Educator's Setup Guide where you will find a variety of recommendations and diagrams showing you how to construct a fully functional SWAC inside your classroom while keeping potential limitations on classroom space and technology in mind.

Once established your class will be ready to move into the second cross-disciplinary phase of the program where they will transform their journal data into real S.W.A.C. news reports! We've made this phase easy by providing an adaptable SWAC script! All they have to do is fill in the missing pieces based on the data collected in their student journals. In the S.W.A.C. Setup Guide we have suggested several very inexpensive alternative methods by which you can produce multimedia Space Weather Action Reports.

Download the student Flip Charts and Data Collection Sheets from the Downloadable Materials page. Each Flip Chart offers 'Step by Step' instructions on how to quickly retrieve and transfer data to specified Data Collection Sheets. We have divided all of the Space Weather Action Center resources into four 'color-coded' categories: Sunspot Regions (orange), Storm Signals (green), Magnetosphere (blue) and Aurora (purple). The same color code scheme is used in the flipchart, the data collection sheets and on the Live Data and Tutorials webpage. You can always know which section you're in with one quick glance!

For those educators wishing to incorporate SWAC as a classroom learning experience, we have also provided an Instructional Guide and a Flip chart Guide.

Each SWAC contains the following elements:

  • Computer (Internet Access Required)
  • Instructional Flip Charts (Assembly Required)
  • Data Collection Clipboards or Notebooks (Assembly Required)
  • SWAC Display Board or Bulletin Board (Assembly Required)

Students are encouraged to design their action centers with readily available art supplies and downloadable NASA imagery. This artistic approach instills a sense of student ownership and establishes NASA as a visual point of interest in the classroom environment.

Use the introductory steps provided in the Flip Charts to quickly access and retrieve space weather data. Each Flip Chart is directly linked to specific Data Collection Sheets that will allow you to quickly record and analyze the necessary sets of data. You will find that the data collection sheets follow the same sequence and color coding as the flip charts: Sunspot Regions (orange), Storm Signals (green), Magnetosphere (Blue), Auroras (Purple).

Once you have created your SWAC your class will be ready to move into the second cross-disciplinary phase of the program: creating real SWAC news reports! We've made this phase easy by providing your students with a sample script! All they have to do is fill in the missing pieces based on the data collected in their student journals.

Now it's lights, camera, action! You are finally ready to turn your script into a multimedia broadcast complete with current NASA data and dazzling graphics! If your school isn't equipped with a broadcasting studio, don't worry! We've suggested several very inexpensive methods by which you and your class can produce professional looking Space Weather Action Reports.

The SWAC website is an extremely robust "one stop shopping' learning tool complete with step-by-step tutorials on how to interpret live or 'near real time' space weather data from 10 missions and 36 instruments. All of the data links required to make your space weather observations are located on a single webpage called Space Weather Data. Beside each of the 'live data' links you will also find 'tutorial' links containing easy to read tutorials that that will help you when interpreting the data. You can always find your place by returning to this page!

Sun-Earth Days

Sun-Earth Days (SED) was developed in response to a need for a highly leveraged education framework to help the heliophysics missions tell their integrated and cross discipline stories to the general public, informal and formal education communities.Sun-Earth Days is an innovative, multi-mission, exemplary, and award-winning NASA Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) program that to date has touched over one billion people in 42 countries. Sun-Earth Day provides an established and now familiar venue for heliophysics missions to tell their stories of discovery through an integrated, cross-discipline, highly-leveraged, and proven program. From a small startup project in 2001 with an audience of 40,000, Sun-Earth Day has grown steadily in size, sophistication, and impact to include many networks of stakeholders such as education, science, and minority professional societies such as the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), Challenger Centers, Girl Scouts of America (GSA), Aerospace Education Services Project (AESP), the Astronomical League, the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP), the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), and many more. New and cutting edge technologies have been employed including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, podcasting, YouTube, and remote instrumentation. State-of-the-art methods and strategies in E/PO have been included such as authentic research opportunities through real time access to NASA data, distance learning, themed storytelling, and hands-on student involvement. All of these activities are collected and promoted to specific audiences through the award winning Sun-Earth Days website.


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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.

Van Allen Probes Educators

The Van Allen Probes education and public outreach (E/PO) programs provide training for formal and informal educators. Middle and high school teachers and informal educators receive content understanding and experience with hands-on activities and interact with scientists through face-to-face workshop opportunities. A unique aspect of the workshop was participation by mission scientists and instrument leads who designed and presented classroom activities.The objective of the Van Allen Probes E/PO effort is to prepare teachers to engage and educate students in STEM content and Van Allen Probes heliophysics-related science as well as engineering and technology.  This effort also has a lesson plan/curriculum component.  Ongoing communication and support from the Van Allen Probes E/PO office was provided to educators following the workshop.

Van Allen Probes: Maryland Science Center Partnership

SpaceLink at the Maryland Science Center is an informal education and public outreach partner for the Van Allen Probes mission. An instructional PowerPoint was produced for distribution to informal educators at museums, science centers and planetariums across the U.S. with the purpose of providing content information about the Van Allen Probes mission and science objectives, and to help educators in communicating the mission to their audiences. 

Material and activities focusing on the Van Allen Probes mission were provided by the Maryland Science Center to support the pre-launch educator workshop.  The Center’s observatory hosted special event days featuring the Van Allen Probes mission and the current solar maximum (e.g., Solar Plasma Fest); safe solar viewing by several means (white light and hydrogenalpha filtered telescopes and a Sun Spotter) as well as Sun-related activities were provided.  To interact directly with the public, Van Allen Probes mission scientists and E/PO specialists supported the events. The Solar System Exploration Wall, designed and fabricated by the Maryland Science Center and located in the Davis Planetarium queue space, features NASA exploration of the solar system and Sun-Earth connections.  Interactive exhibits are included in the queue area, one activity challenges visitors to arrange the planets in order and size.  Large panel monitors are being programmed with images relating to the Van Allen Probes, with both stills and video.  A spacecraft search activity will encourage visitors to find various spacecraft displayed on the wall mural. 

Van Allen Probes: Pre-Service Teacher Workshop

The Van Allen Probes Pre-Service Teacher Workshops provide professional development opportunities for undergraduate and graduate pre-service teachers attending HBCUs.  The training engages students by providing a more in-depth experience that focuses on the Van Allen Probes mission.  The objective is to improve K-12 educator awareness and understanding of the Sun’s influence on Earth and near-Earth space through the study of Earth’s radiation belts.  Students interact with scientists and engineers, and are introduced to mission-related activities and resources.  The goal is for the pre-service teachers to learn how to incorporate activities and resources into their classroom lesson plans to motivate their students to pursue STEM studies and careers. 

The workshops target traditionally underserved populations with the intent of increasing diversity in space science.  Students participate in hands-on activities and classroom lessons, and then develop individual plans for implementing in their classroom.  NASA resources for teachers across curriculums are provided, as well as links to educator resources.

Van Allen Probes: Space Academy

Space Academy is a hands-on, minds-on experience designed to engage and excite both middle school students and teachers about current NASA missions. It takes students behind the scenes of actual space missions and introduces them to engineers and scientists working on some of NASA’s most exciting projects. In the format of a mini-NASA press conference, the daylong event includes briefings by Van Allen Probes mission team members represented by varying backgrounds, careers, and roles on the mission. Students play the role of reporters, and come prepared to ask the scientists and engineers questions about the mission.  Student discussions with scientists and engineers continue during lunch, followed by a tour of space simulation labs, science/engineering demonstrations--even a peek as the Van Allen Probes were being built in the cleanroom.  Weeks before the actual events, students learned about the mission, its science theme, and space-related careers through classroom activities and videos developed by the Applied Physics Laboratory and Discovery Education.  Schools in underserved, underrepresented communities are targeted.



Van Allen Probes: Girl Power STEM Expo

Girl Power is an annual STEM expo for middle and high school girls exploring careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics hosed by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the event is free and open to the public.  The one day event is designed to attract and retain girls in STEM fields, stressing that women are making a difference, changing the world, and transforming the future.  Van Allen Probes E/PO staff, scientists and engineers host a booth at the event, and discuss the science and engineering of this Sun-Earth mission.  Girl Power features hands-on activities and challenges, cool demonstrations, workshops, and take-home material.  Girls have the opportunity to talk with professional women in STEM careers such as aerospace, computer science, electrical engineering, geology, information technology, and space mission engineering, cyber awareness; college and career presentations are provided.  Girl Power is in alignment with the goal of “developing and providing transformative STEM outreach opportunities that help prepare our future workforce to be problem solvers and thought leaders who have the ability to make critical contributions both locally and globally”.

Van Allen Probes: Lesson Plans and Activities (Gr 5-12)

Development of Van Allen Probes resources for informal education and formal education grades 5-12.  These include lesson plans as well as interactive games for students.