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 activities that have been completed.
These projects are applicable to STEM InstructionCoSTEM 1:
Instruction CoSTEM 2:
Youth and Public Engagement CoSTEM 3:
Undergraduate Student Experiences CoSTEM 4:
Working with Diverse Audiences CoSTEM 5:
The Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors project is aimed to measurably enhance student STEM achievement & engagement in selected school districts via professional development for teachers consisting of: (1) astrophysics & planetary science content & pedagogy delivered via webinars & in-person workshops; (2) a week-long STEM immersion experience at NASA’s science research aircraft facility in Palmdale, California, including participation in research flights on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA); (3) follow-through involving continuing webinars fostering connections with astrophysics & planetary science subject matter experts. Impact on student STEM learning & engagement is evaluated via a controlled protocol.
The overarching goals of this program are to exploit NASA’s unique position to provide top-notch training and education and to engage and motivate youth to follow STEM careers while simultaneously increasing public awareness and public support for NASA’s earth science activities and missions. While the ATTREX EPO effort is envisioned as an excellence program that favors quality over quantity, we envision the integration of a science, engineering and aeronautics curriculum that can be easily adapted to target different levels of education and skills.
This site serves as a repository of current and future STEM opportunities available from the Space Telescope Science Institute. Currently, the site features overviews of the Hubble Space Telescope Student ERO Pilot Project and the James Webb STEM Innovation Project. The site will be updated with additional information and opportunities over time.
This award-winning website includes a comprehensive collection of standards-based, space science education materials. Site visitors can explore a variety of resources such as A Hubble Gallery, Online Explorations, Tonight’s Sky, and Star Witness News science content readings. The “For Educators” side of the site includes support materials such as science background information and overview pages that provide strategies for using Amazing Space activities in educational settings.
NASA’s Aqua satellite was launched on May 4, 2002, with six instruments designed to collect data about the Earth’s atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and cryosphere. Since the late 1990s, the Aqua mission has involved considerable education and public outreach (EPO) activities, including printed products, formal education, an engineering competition, a video competition, webcasts, and high-profile multimedia efforts. The printed products include Aqua and instrument brochures, an Aqua lithograph, Aqua trading cards, NASA Fact Sheets on Aqua, the water cycle, and weather forecasting, and an Aqua science writers' guide.
Aquarius Communications and Public Engagement (CPE) provides content on salinity, ocean circulation, the water cycle and climate for educational purposes. The content is made available through in-person (e.g., workshops, presentations at conferences) and online events (e.g., webinars). http://aquarius.umaine.edu/cgi/education.htm
Astromaterials Education/Solar System Science Professional Development
These workshops and trainings for elementary and secondary educators are developed thematically around the topics of solar system science and astromaterials. The participants are prepared to share the science appropriately with K-12 audiences by extending their knowledge and giving them hands-on experience with classroom activities. These are usually offered within a conference or larger professional development event. The standard content of solar system science and astromaterials is shared thematically to address the audiences’ needs or requests. The content is delivered through speakers, multimedia, and hands-on activities.
Lunar/Meteorite Sample Education Disk Certification Training
These workshops and trainings for elementary and secondary educators are developed thematically around the topics of solar system science. Participants are certified to borrow the sample education disks and prepared to share the science appropriately with K-12 audiences. These are usually offered within a conference or larger professional development event. Standard content of solar system science is shared thematically preparing the educators to use the sample education disks effectively as they meet their curricular needs. The content is delivered through speakers, multimedia, and hands-on activities.
CALIPSO provides educator professional development for K-12 teachers. Professional development opportunities are delivered both in-person and virtually through collaborations with The GLOBE Program, MY NASA DATA, and S’COOL. The objective of the professional development activities is to inform teachers understanding and build their confidence and capacity to teach about topics related to clouds and aerosols. http://science.jpl.nasa.gov/projects/CALIPSO/
For FY 2011: Includes 1) Day-long teacher workshop in Denver CO. 2) Day long workshop for Florida Science Supervisors. 3) Five simultaneous workshops in February 2011 based on results of EPOXI and in anticipation of Stardust NExT and Dawn. For FY 2012, the Dawn mission will provide educator workshops about some of the findings at Vesta and a review of Stardust NExT and EPOXI educational materials. Venues to include the Colorado Science Conference and the School Science and Mathematics National Conference. The purpose of the workshops is to educate teachers on the content of comets, asteroids, the EPOXI and Stardust-NExT and Dawn mission encounters and the educational resources appropriate for classroom use. The project brings together formal and informal educators to connect with scientists, engineers, and thematic NASA resources and exhibits and offers the additional benefit of networking.
DISCOVER-AQ is an EPD/SE project for middle/high school grades. It leverages the content and locales of an intensive series of airborne flight campaigns, through the GLOBE program, to engage educators and their students in NASA research. The objective of DISCOVER-AQ E/PO is to involve K-12 teachers and students in NASA Earth science activities. http://discover-aq.larc.nasa.gov/education.html
"Unlocking Mysteries of the Solar System" is a video overview of the Discovery Program and missions with an accompanying educator guide. The video describes the science objectives and results of the missions, and the educator guide leads students through a series of activities to learn about the mission and then design their own space mission. Portions of the video are shown at workshops and the activity is demonstrated to teachers who work in groups to design a mission.
"Vision of Discovery" Professional Development is a 5 hour workshop for teachers held in four locations simultaneously. Using a thematic design, this workshop connects the Discovery and New Frontiers missions’ science and technology with the curriculum needs of classroom teachers. The workshop offers prominent mission scientists giving presentations and hands-on experience with classroom activities. The speaker presentations can be viewed via the Internet in real-time and in the archive.
DNF thematic educator workshops are a series of workshops in a variety of venues for teachers in grades 4-12. The workshops bring standards-aligned, engaging, hands-on activities based on mission science goals and results to educators. DNF program and project scientists and education specialists train teachers at local, regional, and national conferences and events.
Unlocking the Mysteries Professional Development is a 3 hour workshop for in-service and pre-service teachers. Using a thematic design, this workshop connects the Discovery and New Frontiers missions’ science and technology with the curriculum needs of the classroom teachers. The workshop offers mission content and hands-on experience with classroom activities.
1) In Nov. 2011 (FY 2012), McREL supported a NASA educator workshop in Rainsville, AL. 2) McREL coordinated and facilitated Vision of Discovery (FY 2012), a Discovery Program/New Frontiers Year of the Solar System (YSS) event. The 4-6 hour workshop was held in four locations across the country: JPL, APL, JSC, and Oregon. It involved collaboration with the E/PO staff of many D/NF Program missions (Dawn, MESSENGER, New Horizons), the Discovery and New Frontiers Programs, the NASA Digital Learning Network, and NASA AESP providers. The event was held on Saturday March 10, 2012. A third annual workshop is being planned for March 2013.
Earth to Sky (ETS) is an interagency partnership between NASA, the National Park Service (NPS) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), that enables and encourages informal educators to access and use relevant NASA science, data, and educational and outreach products in their work. http://www.earthtosky.org
The purpose of the Fermi E/PO program is to increase student and public understanding of the science of the high-energy Universe, through inspiring, engaging and educational activities linked to the mission’s science objectives. The E/PO program has additional more general goals, including increasing the diversity of students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) pipeline, and increasing public awareness and understanding of Fermi science and technology. Fermi’s multi-faceted E/PO program includes elements in each major outcome category:
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific and partner organizations are carrying out the "Galileo Educator Network" project, creating distributed and leveraged professional development nationwide with the primary goals to: (1) Help teacher educators and teacher professional development providers engage and educate teachers of astronomy (and general science), especially in grades 3-9, using effective instructional strategies and educational resources, with engaging and inspiring content; and (2) Promote the effective use of NASA-developed and NASA-supported resources by teacher educators and teacher professional development providers, through integration of astronomy/space science content with Galileo-inspired science inquiry and exploration
|The GPM Master Teacher program involves having a small pilot group of 3 middle school teachers develop and implement Earth/Space Science lessons with middle school students. Teachers will use existing NASA resources to develop lesson plans and then implement them as a part of a quasi-experimental study to attempt to gauge the impact of replacing existing curriculum with curriculum that includes NASA resources. This project has been designed to gauge the impact of using alternative lesson plans, which include NASA resources,on the acquisition of content on middle school students, and we will also develop both lesson plans and activities which will be sent to SMD Product Review. http://pmm.nasa.gov/education/|
|GLOBE at Langley focuses on EPD for regional K-12 teachers. GLOBE at Langley offers a variety of educator professional development workshops. The objective of GLOBE at Langley is to revitalize the GLOBE program in southeastern Virginia, and eventually the whole state. http://science-edu.larc.nasa.gov/GLOBE|
The GLOBE Mission EARTH (GME) is embedding NASA assets into the GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Program and integrating it into the grades K-20 science and STEM curricula. GME is leveraging existing partnerships and networks and supported through state departments of education, as a systemic, effective, and sustainable approach to meeting NASA’s science education objectives.
Using data in the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC) archive, scientists throughout the world study black holes, stars, supernovae, and the big bang. Through its Education and Public Outreach program, the HEASARC brings these objects to teachers and students using our Imagine the Universe! and StarChild websites, print materials, and educator workshops.
The ICESat-2 mission E/PO implementation plan, in direct collaboration with other NASA Earth-observing missions, strives to focus its impact on NASA’s identified target audience outcomes in education and outreach. Each current and new project will not target each and every audience, but rather focus on one or two specific audiences. http://icesat.gsfc.nasa.gov/icesat2/epo.php
IMPRESS-Ed provides an enriching STEM-oriented summer research experience in the space, earth, and atmospheric sciences for pre-service K-12 educators. This project is designed to give future teachers specialized training in research techniques in the physical sciences, in pedagogical techniques for teaching science, and to provide participants with an authentic research experience. Students participate in a two-week common module composed of interactive lectures and activities followed by a mentored research experience with physics faculty conducting research related to NASA missions.
InSight's formal-education program features comparative planetology initiatives with our E/PO partners IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology), SCEC (Southern California Earthquake Center) and NASA's SpaceMath for standards based math resources. This year begins development of Preassessment, Standards-focused curriculum, near-real-time data classroom delivery methods, earthquake analysis tools and professional development.
This standards-based, interdisciplinary STEM project focuses on the engineering aspects and potential science of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) while incorporating elements of project-based learning. It allows students to apply STEM processes, answer scientific questions, and develop cooperative learning skills. The SIP is underway in all 50 states and we are recruiting additional schools to participate.
Most of the products of Kepler E/PO and the resources we use in our presentations and teacher workshops are freely available on the Kepler website (http://kepler.nasa.gov). These include:
While LADEE supports a number of workshops hosted (and reported in the data call) by other missions/programs (see notes), these represent workshops not reported elsewhere. Educators attending these workshops are introduced to how our understanding of the Moon is changing dramatically based on results from a new generation of robotic explorers, how LADEE will further advance our understanding of the Moon, and how they and there students can directly participate in NASA lunar science and exploration through programs such as Moon Zoo the LADEE Observation Campaign. In conducting these discussions, LADEE EPO supports workshops conducted by a number of partners including Lunar Quest, AESP, Cornell University, and the National Science Teachers Association.
The lunar and meteorite disk loan program provides samples embedded in acrylic for use by trained educators in classroom and event settings.
The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), in close collaboration with the ChemCam science team, including colleagues at the Centre d’Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements in France, is: 1) implementing a week-long educator workshop; 2) implementing a two-day informal educator workshop targeting children's librarians; and 3) maintaining a new media portal. Through these activities, formal and informal educators and the general public will interact with Mars content that will inform them about Mars science, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) / Curiosity Rover, and ChemCam science, and engage them in current and future plans for Mars exploration. The programs are advertised through the SMD E/PO community and in collaboration with formal and informal science education institutions and organizations; all materials are available on the website.
This project provides educators around the country with professional development opportunities. Since research shows that an initial face-to-face training, followed up by a few distance learning opportunities, is more effective than single, stand-alone workshops, Mars Public Engagement has begun to take that approach, partnering with NSTA for educator professional development. Face-to-face regional workshops continue to occur around the country, with recruitment for distance learning opportunities.
Connected closely to both human and robotic exploration, Mars Science through the Arts, Letters, and Humanities is one of three content "threads" for formal education listed in the Mars Exploration Program Public Engagement Plan. This thread is meant to represent the earliest entry point into the pipeline, focused on elementary level, interdisciplinary activities that introduce Mars science and engineering. This thread is also appropriate for pre-service teachers and students without strong STEM backgrounds. Key activities include Imagine Mars, which brings science, arts, and technology standards together as students consider what a future community on Mars would be like. ImagineMars.jpl.nasa.gov
Sample Analysis at Mars(SAM) Educator Professional Development Workshops: The SAM E/PO team hosts workshops for middle and high school educators who visit GSFC. The workshops include an overview of the MSL mission and science goals, an overview of SAM, a presentation by a SAM scientist, and an introduction to Mars and MSL educational activities and resources.
MY NASA DATA (MND) is a Web-based project for K12 students and educators. MND makes NASA Earth science data easily accessible for authentic learning in the K-12 classroom. The objective of MND is to engage K-12 students in STEM activities through the ability to explore the same data that scientists use. http://mynasadata.larc.nasa.gov/
The Telling Your Story program aims to form collaborations between research scientists and K-12 teachers that will result in ongoing classroom visits by scientists, and lab visits by teachers and their students. The program brings together scientists and K-12 educators in a workshop that lets each group learn about, and from, the other. Scientists are taught effective communication skills appropriate for K-12 audiences, and work with teachers to develop ideas and formats for classroom visits.
This program supports in-service teachers in their work towards a Masters of Science degree in Science Education at Montana State University. Two courses were supported in the program this year, Life in Extreme Environments and Thermal Biology in Yellowstone National Park. The courses provide science content information and authentic research experiences for practicing science instructors at the middle, secondary, and college levels.
This project provides professional development in astrobiology for teachers in Hawai'i and from the mainland US. Its purpose is to increase awareness of astrobiology science and use of astrobiology classroom materials. Teachers participate in a week-long workshop including lecture, lab, and field studies.
This is a week-long, in-depth, summer learning experience for high school science teachers in New York State. Its purpose is to increase content knowledge for teachers and support them to develop unique lesson plans in astrobiology for their classroom. This is a multi-year interaction which incorporates teacher mentors from prior years into each summer's workshop, and provides sustained contact for teachers with the scientist faculty and each other throughout the academic year.
This project provides professional development in astrobiology for teachers from across the US at Penn State University. Two workshops were supported in Summer, 2011: Earth's History: Uncovering Clues of the Past‚ and Astrobiology: The Interdisciplinary Search for Life in the Cosmos. The purpose is to expose teachers to the latest in astrobiology research, NASA missions, and classroom materials.
The Crow Education Project provides science enrichment activities for 10 4th grade classrooms and professional development for their teachers in three schools located on and adjacent to the Crow Reservation in Southwestern Montana. It's purpose is to engage 4th graders on Native American reservations to astrobiology science and expose them to science as a career. A district wide program, this hybrid education model incorporates monthly hands-on science activities, field experiences, and video conferencing technology to share science discoveries from scientists and educators at Montana State University with Hardin Intermediate School and Crow Agency School students.
This program provides hands-on research experiences for students and their teachers in Hawai'i. Its purpose is to develop astronomy research skills in students in grades 7-11 so they can conduct Science Fair quality projects and pursue STEM majors in college. After a week-long workshop in the summer, scientist mentors travel to student locations throughout the school year to provide help with the research, and students are supported to participate in science fairs.
This is an online short course for elementary teachers with modules addressing astrobiology subject material including the challenges of defining life, sorting life, and discovering life. It allows participants to contemplate and investigate the potential for finding life beyond Earth. The course is self-paced with interactive components as well as links to NASA resources.
NASA All-Stars is a summer STEM research experience for teams of students, teachers, and librarians from Chicago-area public, private, and parochial schools. Assisted by program staff, four experienced teacher-mentors, and scientists from the Astronomy & Astrophysics Center, teams undertake authentic research projects using astronomical data as they discover astronomy across the electromagnetic spectrum. The program makes use of our Multiwavelength Astronomy website, which presents the history, science, tools, and impact of astronomy across the electromagnetic spectrum, through story-based lessons told by scientists who are pioneers in their field. The story-based lessons include personal accounts of scientists' early life, education, and career to highlight the various pathways into the scientific enterprise. NASA All-Stars program elements include small-group, hands-on activities led by teacher-mentors, labs and demonstrations provided by scientists, Skype sessions with scientist-contributors the Multiwavelength Astronomy website, tours of campus and the University libraries, and presentations by college bridge and admissions staff. Students who participate in the program receive a computing device for reading lessons, doing research, presenting their work, and blogging. The blogging is an important component of the program for documenting students' experience. Each student also receives a family membership to the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum.
The Educator Cadre program – working in partnership with the NASA Solar System Educator Program (SSEP) – develops middle and high school teachers who represent New Horizons and serve as an important resource for solar system exploration programs across the country. Through New Horizons Teacher Training Workshops, we developed a cadre of skilled master teachers who now represent the mission; these workshops comply with National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) benchmarks and standards. Workshop activities are structured according to principles of professional development, in full alignment with national standards. Thus, both pedagogical and scientific content are addressed, and effective instructional strategies are modeled. This formal education effort also includes a curriculum and lesson plan component. http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/
3 separate workshops, for teachers of grades 1-5, 6-8, and high school. Teachers received and practiced age-appropriate astronomy activities with a focus on lunar science. They built inexpensive "galileoscope" telescopes. Cooperation with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, which was meeting in Boulder, CO in 2010, increased teacher attendance. Nearly all teachers who applied were accepted. Scholarships were supported by NASA and ASP. Teacher assessment forms quite positive.
Working with Erin Wood (LASP) we hosted a teacher workshop for Elem & Middle School teachers. This workshop was in association with the ASP. The theme was the Scientific Method and we focused on the Moon to convey many aspects of the scientific method. 20 teachers registered. Main activities:- Pre-evaluation with clickers, moon phases (predicting, then "kinesthetic astronomy to explain), remote sensing (shoebox activity), talk by LUNAR PI Jack Burns, post evaluation
DREAM's Lunar Extreme Program: The Lunar Extreme Program works with high school teachers and students via Webinar over the course of a semester to prepare them for participation in a week-long Lunar Extreme Workshop in June. The Workshop will bring together high school teachers and students with members of the DREAM team to investigate extreme events, such as a lunar impact, and their effects on lunar dust, plasma, and the exosphere.
Journey through the Universe is a national science education initiative that engages entire communities - students, teachers, families, and the public - using education programs in the Earth and space sciences and space exploration to inspire and educate. The initiative engages communities in sustained science, math, and technology education, and is a celebration of exploration and the joys of learning. The initiative includes local programming for thousands of students and families, grade K-12 lessons and curriculum support materials, grade K-12 educator training, and ongoing support from scientists and educators nationally in both science content and pedagogy for the classroom. The communities integrate these resources into their existing science, mathematics, and technology education programming in both formal and informal science education venues. The result of this partnership is programming that reflects the strengths and capabilities of the community, and provides access to resources that would otherwise be unavailable. Programming provided to each community includes a weeklong celebration of learning "Journey through the Universe Week" conducted by a National Team of researchers and engineers reflecting organizations from across the NASA communities. During that week, three major threads are provided:1- Family Science Events: A family science night will be held at the `Imiloa Astronomy Center, including planetarium shows, four guest lecturers, and free access to the exhibit area. 2-Classroom Visits: A National Team of researchers and engineers working on the frontier conduct Classroom Visits for 8,000 K-12 students. The researchers are gifted at communicating their passion for research and science to audience of all ages, providing students a personal interaction with explorers working on the space frontier, and providing a window on the lives of researchers and the process of science. 3- Educator Workshops: Training is provided for K-12 educators on Education Modules that are mapped to the National Science Education Standards. Each Module includes an Educational Unit at three (K-4, 5-8, 9-12) or four (K-2, 3-4, 5-8, 9-12) grade levels, and includes content overviews; inquiry-based, hands-on activities; assessment rubrics; and resource listings.
The course, Geology of the Moon (ERTH 580-50), offers MSU graduate credits in earth science for middle school teachers. The online course runs Sept. 28 through Nov. 29 and is taught by Cass Runyan, who teaches at both MSU and the College of Charleston, and Noah Petro, a lunar geologist from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Pamela Whiffen, a high school science teacher, will also be part of the instructional team, helping participating teachers better incorporate the science concepts into their classrooms. The class is part of MSU's National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN), which offers online science courses for teachers.
The purpose of the NuSTAR E/PO program is to increase student and public understanding of the science of the high-energy Universe, through a multi-faceted education and outreach program that capitalizes on the synergy of existing high-energy astrophysics E/PO programs to support the mission’s objectives. Science content goals of the E/PO program are aligned with mission science goals and include: Facilitate understanding of the nature of collapsed objects; Develop awareness of the role of supernovae in creating the chemical elements ; Facilitate understanding of the physical properties of the extreme Universe. The E/PO program has additional more general goals, including increasing the diversity of students in the STEM pipeline, and increasing public awareness and understanding of the NuSTAR science and technology program.
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.
The overall strategy of Physics of the Cosmos (PCOS) and Cosmic Origins (COR) Education and Public Outreach is to infuse PCOS and COR science topics into established programs, as well as develop new projects to reach audiences from formal and informal education and the general public.
SMAP provides Educator Professional Development opportunities for K-12 educators through our partner network and the regional NASA centers. The professional development opportunities will be offered to all K-12 educators who are interested in incorporating the latest soil moisture and freeze-thaw science and technology in the classroom. The objective of SMAP is to offered the latest advances in remote sensing science and technology to support the existing science standards in the classroom. http://smap.jpl.nasa.gov/educationpublicoutreach/
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 System Master Teachers (SSAMT) are master teacher volunteers who train educators in their states in the use of NASA's STEM educational materials. Training for SSAMTs on NASA/JPL educational products is accomplished by webinars with downloadable web-based materials. SSAMTs were formerly known as Solar System Educators before becoming a Solar System Ambassador specialty subgroup.
Solar System Treks Project (SSTP) provides: 1. planetary data products that are georeferenced, 2. data services (web APIs) for data access, 3. tools (a set of web-based portals, mobile applications, VR goggles and touch table implementations) that support measurement and study of planetary terrain and facilitate 3D printing of surface terrain, 4. infrastructure/platform that support visualization, exploration and research of landscapes for planetary bodies and Earth.
NASA's Space Forensics project takes students in formal and informal education settings through astronomy problem-solving narratives that parallel crime scene forensics. Each standards-aligned Space Forensics case fuses STEM and literacy, using mystery narratives and hands-on activities to take students through the process of scientific problem-solving. This approach tells the story of "doing science" and meets educators' needs for resources that encourage reading, writing, and speaking outside of the English Language Arts classroom.
The Space Telescope professional development program is designed to support the needs of formal and informal educators and enhance educators’ science content and pedagogical knowledge. Scientist and educator teams present STEM topics and the latest educational research, while emphasizing real-world connections. The purpose is to share information about the James Webb Space Telescope mission, support the teaching of standards-based science, and incorporate Hubble discoveries into educational settings.
1) In Crater Capture students model the problem NASA engineers encounter as they mathematically predict the position of the comet in its trajectory and the location of the crater in the rotation of a comet nucleus, and then photograph or video the crater as the comet nucleus rolls by the observer. 2) In Comparing Cosmic Cameras, students compare cameras from different spacecraft capturing the cool images illuminating comet science. 3) In Comet Mysteries, stories of comets in history are highlighted.
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”.
Synergistically combining resources from several other high-energy X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy missions, the XMM-Newton E/PO program from 2003-2010 was aligned with all three of NASA’s Education Outcomes. Outcome 1: We have contributed to the development of the STEM workforce by working with dozens of students at the community college and university levels in partnership with SSU’s new MESA Engineering program and similar programs at other local community colleges. We have also engaged dozens of high school and college students in authentic XMM-inspired research experiences through our Global Telescope Network. Outcome 2: We have attracted and worked to retain hundreds of underserved students in STEM disciplines through after-school programs in partnership with local schools, where we use NASA-approved products to enhance science and technology education. We have also trained thousands of K-12 teachers with our highly popular and NASA-approved formal educational products. Outcome 3: We have built strategic partnerships with informal education providers to promote STEM literacy and awareness of NASA’s mission, inspiring tens of thousands of the public and young people through multi-media presentations, websites and the Night Sky Network and bringing exciting XMM-Newton mission science to diverse audiences.
Beginning in 2010, due to significant reductions in the XMM-Newton E/PO program budget, we have chosen to strategically focus our efforts on highly-leveraged and demonstrably successful activities, including the wide-reaching Astrophysics Educator Ambassador program, and our popular website Epo’s Chronicles. We have also continued to make major contributions working collaboratively through the Astrophysics Science Education and Public Outreach Forum (SEPOF) on identified high-need activities: the on-line educator professional development course “NASA’s Multiwavelength Universe” and the Astro 4 Girls program.