Space Foundation News

Space Foundation Pilots New Education Program in Maryland

Written by: developer

Space Foundation Pilots New Education Program in MarylandCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 15, 2009) — The Space Foundation is expanding its nationally known Space Across the Curriculum educator professional development courses by adding a week of classes specifically for teachers of PreK-2nd grade students.

Beginning in the summer of 2010, the new course will join the Space Foundation’s other six classes for grade PreK-high school teachers.

Piloted Dec. 3-4 with Charles County Public Schools in Charles County, Md., the class shows teachers of young students how to incorporate space-related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities into the curriculum they are already using. The courses were taught by Space Foundation Aerospace Education Specialists Bobby Gagnon and Melissa Peterson.

The 23 teachers who participated in the program learned how to incorporate space-related activities in their lesson plans, as well as having the opportunity to shape the curriculum as it is finalized before the official launch next summer. A second pilot will be held Jan. 25-26 at the Space Foundation Discovery Institute in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Gagnon and Peterson also conducted a team-teaching in-service rocketry workshop for 10 Charles County Public School 5th grade science teachers on Dec. 7 that provided ideas and lessons the teachers could take directly back to their classrooms. They used standards-based activities to show the teachers how to integrate rocketry into math, language arts, and social studies, as well as into science classes. The teachers who attended are taking back what they learned and working with other teachers in their schools to incorporate the ideas into their classrooms, as well.

Following the Dec. 7 session, Gagnon and Peterson spent two days team-teaching a Space Foundation S.T.A.R.S. (Science, Technology, and Academic Readiness for Space) class with the teachers who participated in the Monday rocketry workshop. The students learned about the basics of rocketry, built and launched their own straw rockets, and learned about launch angles and the importance of calculating the center of mass and the center of pressure.

The Space Foundation has had a long-standing relationship with Charles County Public Schools. To see all of the education programs held in Charles County or other Space Foundation education programs, go to

Pictured: Space Foundation Aerospace Education Specialist Bobby Gagnon leads a lesson in light diffraction