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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
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. 

Girl Scouts Earth Science Patch

 The CloudSat team also supports the development of new Girl Scout “Earth Science” Patches for Daises, Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes. The objective of the CloudSat informal education programs is to provide a NASA mission-connected pathway to help learners better understand the nature of clouds and their role in Earth's atmospheric system.

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.

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.

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: 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 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

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.

MOU American Camp Association

A memorandum of understanding between NASA and the American Camp Association went into effect November 30, 2012. It is the intent of NASA to provide printed and Internet-accessible material and information to be disseminated to youth utilizing the ACA capabilities. Through this partnership, NASA will:

  • broaden the STEM-related educational resources that are available to the camp community,
  • promote ACA and ACA-resources to broader audiences,
  • enhance professional development opportunities for camp professionals.

This cross-forum effort is being led by the Planetary Science Forum.

Our Solar System Through the Eyes of Scientists K-6 science and language arts curriculum

Our Solar System - Through the Eyes of Scientists (TES) is a solar system thematic science and language arts based curriculum for students and teachers in grades 1-6.  Students read biographies of current NASA scientists and view scientists’ notebook pages, while learning about planetary features such as canyons, volcanoes, and ice.  Curriculum is distributed on CD-ROM and made available on the Solar System Exploration website.  Teacher professional development is included.  Major costs have been to get a science writer and three educators (80%) to rewrite most of lessons to keep internal voice of lessons coherent and consistent, plus 10%K for audio visual time to create videos of scientists to accompany lessons plus travel for three scientists and three E/PO personnel (10%) to a teacher workshop to beta test the product.  

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!

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.