Don Boonstra

Don Boonstra
Contact Information
Institution:sySTEMec LLC
4540 E Karsten Dr
Chandler, AZ 85249
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Don Boonstra has forty-three years of experience as an educator. Don has developed significant expertise with NGSS and the Framework and has redesigned NASA lessons as NGSS lessons. He has been involved in curriculum development using authentic STEM design.  Don has been a teacher, Math and Science Department Chair, Principal, NASA Education Specialist and Coordinator of the NASA Student Observation Network, Planetary Science SMD E/PO Forum Team as Lead for PD and Lead for Thematic Approaches.

Don's emphasis is on development of innovative programs and curriculum. In the process he has kept current with education research, curriculum innovation and management techniques. Don has designed innumerable courses to include innovative methodology, especially the use of computers for data acquisition and manipulation and communication. He has led education teams to develop programs using educational research and best practices in education. He has led teams to design and implement a unique K-10 Science Curriculum for learning disabled students, to design and implement a high school for learning disabled students, and to convert high school science curricula to the physics-first model complete with the alignment of math objectives. Don has successfully incorporated NASA mission and program science into activities, lessons, and units using best practices in educational design. All of his products have gone through NASA Product Review with Exemplary ratings. His highly successful inquiry-based, virtual learning environment, Student Observation Network, was recognized as a template for best practices in on-line learning and was promoted by NASA Explorer Schools. Don runs his own educational consulting business, sySTEMec, LLC. He has contracts with NSTA to present professional development courses, and is Coordinator for NSTA Learning Center Online Advisors. 

Professional Information
Primary Forum:Planetary Science
My SMD Projects:

NASA Planetary Science SMD E/PO Forum Team - Lead for PD, Lead for Thematic Approaches

My Professional Societies:


My Publications (journals, blogs, products):
  • “Natural Events Curriculum” template and “Natural Comet Siding Spring Encounter with Mars lesson”; NASA ASU Mars Education, September 2014.
  •  “NASA SMD Planetary Science E/PO Forum Efforts to Support Scientists an Reaching K-12 Formal Education Audiences”; Lunar and Planetary Science Conference poster session, March 2014.
  • “NASA Data in Education: Opportunities and Challenges for Scientists and NASA’s Education and Public Outreach Community”; Lunar and Planetary Science Conference poster session, March 2014.
  •  Recognition by National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) for developing and leading NASA/NSTA Professional Development Symposia in 2006 and 2007.
  •  Member of team receiving five NASA awards: Sun-Earth Day 2003, Sun-Earth Day 2004 – Venus Transit, Sun-Earth, 2005 Sun-Earth Education Forum Award for Venus Transit, Sun-Earth Day 2005, and a Pirelli INTERNETional Award for the Sun-Earth Viewer.
  •  Lead of team receiving two Customer Focus Excellence awards from Raytheon for Student Observation Network.
  •  Lead for development of five Student Observation Network modules. All modules received Exemplary Product status by NASA’s Product Review and are promoted by NASA Explorer Schools as templates for best practices in on-line, inquiry learning.
  •  Author of “Mapping Magnetic Influence”, a lesson for grades 6-10 developing the magnetic field concept in the context of NASA missions. Received Exemplary Product status by NASA Office of Space Science Product Review in 2003.
  •  Author of “In a Different Light”, a cohesive unit of 6 lessons for grades 6-12 developing the concept of light spectrum and incorporating NASA mission data. Received Exemplary Product status by NASA Office of Space Science Product Review in 2003.
  •  Authored 13 web pages developing background science concepts of the Sun-Earth Connection for middle and high school teachers and high school students.
  •  Authored text and led development for “Our Very Own Star: the Sun” that received an Exemplary Product status by NASA Office of Space Science Product Review in 2001.
  • Authored “Physics Unit Planning Guide”, 1996 – a full year curriculum guide for teaching physics using interactive computer labs. Published by Dickinson College in Project Proceedings: Teaching Introductory Physics Using Interactive Teaching Methods and Computers.
  • Authored “Model of Sun, Earth and Moon” 1974 – a teaching module published by American Astronomical Society Teacher Resource Agent Program (AASTRA).
  • Authored “Carroll School Science Curriculum”, HEW Grant, Title I. PL89-313.
  • Authored “ELS”, published by National Cathedral Press, 1973 – an introductory physical science module for Elements of Laboratory Science classes.