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Space Foundation to Present Space Discovery Institutes for Omaha Public Schools

05/05/2009

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May. 6, 2009) -- The Space Foundation has signed a contract with Omaha Public Schools (OPS) for delivery of two weeks of Space Discovery Institute programming, beginning June 1. This important new relationship has been made possible through grants to Omaha Public Schools by the Omaha-based Sherwood Foundation, by a NASA Nebraska Space Grant and EPSCoR, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

“Omaha Public Schools and its partners are deeply committed to utilizing the Space Foundation to provide ground-breaking opportunities for students and teachers across the district,” said De Washington, Omaha Public Schools science lead teacher. “The Space Foundation staff has been visionary, helping us design programs and understanding the possibilities for our students in the future.”

The Space Foundation began offering Space Discovery Institute-type education programs in 1986 that grew into today’s program. The intense week-long programs, which feature space-related curriculum based on national standards and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) principles, are experiential, hands-on, and immediately transferable to the classroom. 

In a unique delivery model requested by OPS, the Space Foundation will deliver the Institute in a new “Two Classrooms” concept for teachers and students; the program is usually held for only teachers. Students participating in the course will be high school students of the teachers participating. Both groups will be taught similar content in rooms adjacent to each other and then brought together several times a day for key hands-on activities and design challenges.

At the end of each day, students and teachers will write journal entries on the day’s events, enabling them to compare notes on how the curriculum and subject matter can be incorporated into the district's curriculum and their classrooms, electives, clubs, and schools. The students will have as much input as the teachers on how these ideas can find their way into their classrooms. The Space Foundation anticipates that this delivery model will result in a powerful new education product of interest to other schools around the country.

Week one of the Institute will focus on biological and physical research, studying long-term space travel and how the human body reacts to microgravity – including a microgravity pool simulation. The second week will focus on astronomy principles for the classroom, studying kinesthetic astronomy – including a trip to the Strategic Air Command museum and a star gazing party.

“Omaha Public Schools and its partners are providing excellent facilities for this two-week program in Omaha, including a state-of-the-art swimming pool with underwater observation portals for neutral buoyancy training sessions,” said Iain Probert, Space Foundation vice president of education.

Each student participant will receive one science elective credit from OPS, adding to the immediate value of the experience. Teachers completing the summer Space Discovery Institutes will have an opportunity to earn graduate credits at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

About the Space Foundation
The Space Foundation is an international nonprofit organization and the foremost advocate for all sectors of the space industry – civil, commercial, and national security. Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is a leader in space awareness activities, educational programs that bring space into the classroom, and major industry events, all in support of its mission “to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable, and propel humanity.” An expert in all aspects of the global space industry, the Space Foundation publishes The Space Report 2009: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity and provides three indices that track daily performance of the space industry (www.SpaceFoundation.org/spaceindex). Along with partnering organizations, the Space Foundation will sponsor Space Business Forum: New York June 4 in New York City, an event with USSTRATCOM in Omaha, Neb., next fall, and the 26th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo., April 12-15, 2010. Headquartered in Colorado Springs, the Space Foundation conducts research and analysis and government affairs activities from its Washington, D.C., office and has field representatives in Houston, Texas, and Cape Canaveral, Fla. For more information, visit www.SpaceFoundation.org. Follow us on Twitter: SpaceFoundation.
 

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