Report from Headquarters

Teacher Liaison’s Students Win NASA Competition

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

 Four students of Space Foundation Teacher Liaison Kimberley Klein have won first place in the national 2010 NASA OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Award video contest sponsored by NASA and Hasbro.

The contest asked students in two age groups, 3rd - 5th grade and 6th - 8th grade, to create short videos that demonstrate how technologies developed for space can be transformed to improve life on Earth. The students had to select the technologies from among those featured in NASA's 2009 Spinoff publication and had to work with a NASA organization.

Julianna Sanchez, Samantha Herrod, Isaliz Gonzalez and Grace Romano, all 5th grade students at Union Park Elementary School in Orlando, Fla., created their video about fabrics that protect skin from ultraviolet rays as a project in their extracurricular science club. Klein teaches 2nd - 5th grade science lab as well as reading and writing.

The winner in the 6th - 8th grade category is Dahlia Huh of Roberto Clemente Middle School Germantown, Md., whose video covered how star-mapping tools are used to track endangered animals.

The winners will be recognized at a special event at the Space Foundation's 27th National Space Symposium this month in Colorado Springs.

About the Competition
The competition is a collaboration between NASA and toymaker Hasbro using the correlation between the popular TRANSFORMERS brand, featuring its leader OPTIMUS PRIME, and spinoffs from NASA technologies created for aeronautics and space missions used here on Earth. The goal was to help students understand how NASA technology 'transforms' into things used daily.

Submitted videos were posted on YouTube and members of the public voted for their favorites. A panel of NASA judges reviewed the top five videos in each age category and selected the two winners.

The Fabrics Protect Sensitive Skin from UV Rays video is based on a 2009 Spinoff story originating from NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. Star-Mapping Tools Enable Tracking of Endangered Animals, based on an article originating from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., explains how an algorithm used on the Hubble Space Telescope is helping scientists follow animals in the wild.

"We are so impressed with the job the students did on their videos," said Nona Cheeks, head of Goddard's Innovative Partnerships Program Office. "These creative, cool and comprehensive videos demonstrate that they understand how NASA technology gets used for many purposes."

The winners will receive a NASA OPTIMUS PRIME trophy during the ceremony.

About Space Foundation Teacher Liaisons
Klein found out about the contest through her involvement with the Space Foundation as a Teacher Liaison and encouraged her students to enter. Now in its eighth year, the prestigious, nationally recognized Space Foundation Teacher Liaison program is for PreK-20 educators who inspire the next generation of students to pursue and excel in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by using space-related themes, programs and projects in the classroom. Teacher Liaisons come from every discipline, ranging from mathematics to literature to the arts. To learn more or apply to become a Teacher Liaison, click here.

Teacher Liaisons serve as active links between the Space Foundation, NASA and their schools and school districts. This influential role includes numerous benefits, privileges and activities such as special recognition during the National Space Symposium.

Although the Space Foundation is not directly involved with the NASA OPTIMUS PRIME competition, we promoted it to our audiences, including Teacher Liaisons, because of its linkage with Space Foundation programs designed to build awareness of the benefits of space.

About Space Foundation Space Awareness Programs
The Space Foundation has two major space awareness programs:

  • Space Certification™ identifies commercial products and services that were developed from technologies originated through space programs; for information click here.
  • The Space Technology Hall of Fame® recognizes extraordinary space innovations that have been transformed to improve our lives on Earth; for information, click here.

Pictured: Grace Romano and Isaliz Gonzales are two of the 5th grade students at Union Park Elementary School in Orlando, Fla., who created the winning video in the 2010 NASA OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Award video contest. Their teacher is Kimberley Klein, a Space Foundation Teacher Liaison.


This article is part of Space Watch: April 2011 (Volume: 10, Issue: 4).