Teacher Liaisons Bring Space Down to Earth for World Space Week

Written by: developer

Space Foundation Teacher Liaisons are a select group of educators who share a passion for space and were selected for the program for their integration of space themes into the classroom. The global celebration of World Space Week, Oct. 4-10, gives these exceptional educators an opportunity to shine.

The Space Foundation's Teacher Liaison in India, Vandana Suryawanshi, has once again planned a full week of activities to celebrate World Space Week. More than 150 students will gather in the auditorium at her Vidya Valley middle school in Pune on Oct. 4 for a remote Audience with an Astronaut presentation by Dr. Leroy Chiao, Space Foundation Special Advisor - Human Spaceflight. Chiao will be at Space Foundation World Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., during World Space Week to present a number of Audience with an Astronaut sessions locally and two remote presentations via Google Hangout.

Other World Space Week activities at Vidya Valley school include submitting artwork for the Space Foundation's annual International Student Art Contest, presenting a space-themed play, a debate, classroom projects and lectures.

Teacher Liaison Billy Hix, professor of education at Motlow State Community College, uses a portable planetarium to teach multi-curriculum standards to third and fifth graders and middle school students in Tennessee and northern Alabama. Using special software on a laptop, Hix creates the sensation of celestial movement inside the dome. He said that during the past year, he has visited 51 schools and engaged more than 7,300 students and teachers.

Jennifer Carter, a Teacher Liaison and science teacher at Rowan County Senior High School in Morehead, Ky., will promote World Space Week across her district and will provide web links to teachers with space-themed lesson plans. Some of her other activities include:

  • A local book store lecture coordinated with a high school astronomy club featuring a space systems engineer from the local university giving a talk about satellites. There will also be a special children's book reading of Max Goes to Mars and discounts on space-related books.
  • The high school planetary astronomy class will host a star party for the elementary and middle school students and their families.
  • Planetary astronomy students will visit select classrooms across the district to conduct small 15 minute space science/astronomy lessons to advertise and promote world space week and the book store event and star party.
  • Her planetary science class will visit the local space science center for a tour, star theater show and lecture from a planetary geologist on using meteorites to date the age of Earth.

Teacher Liaison María Catalina will bring Spaceport Academy members to the newly opened San Diego County Library where they will join e3Civic High students for an Audience with an Astronaut with Dr. Leroy Chiao via Google Hangout.

Her students are participating engineers in the Google Lunar X Prize Team Synergy Moon, the only team that has students building the hardware to send a rover to the lunar surface. Catalina is director - Astronaut Teacher Alliance and Spaceport Academy Leader - Google Lunar X Prize Team Synergy Moon.

Billed as the only school in the nation housed in a library, e3 Civic High promises an innovative education that draws heavily on the resources of downtown San Diego. Students serve professional internships, conduct job shadowing and have the chance to graduate with both a diploma and a community college degree.

Apply Now for the Teacher Liaison Program
The Space Foundation is accepting applications for this elite program through Dec. 6, 2013. See details here.

Pictured top: Space Foundation Teacher Liaison and Motlow State Community College faculty member Billy Hix with his traveling planetarium, a 24-foot blowup dome

Pictured lower: San Diego Central Library, home of e3 Civic High



This article is part of Space Watch: October 2013 (Volume: 12, Issue: 10).