Space Foundation Winter STEM Education Outreach

Written by: developer

The Space Foundation education team was very busy during the month of December and will continue its outreach in January, with the popular Wonders of the Universe programs. These Space Foundation STEM education programs are open to student groups and are aligned with state standards. The programs center around Science On a Sphere®, located at the Space Foundation Discovery Center in Colorado Springs.

During just six days in December, 465 students from six Colorado schools participated in the program, which consisted of Science On a Sphere presentations, hands-on activities and scavenger hunts of space artifacts in the Discovery Center gallery. Visitors included fourth grade students from Manitou Springs Elementary School; Eagleside Elementary, in Fountain; Bricker Elementary School in Colorado Springs; American Academy from Castle Pines; first grade students from Skyway Park Elementary School in Colorado Springs; and third grade students from The Classical Academy, Colorado Springs.

Additional education outreach during December included participation in the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) regional conference in Denver. The education team conducted workshops, and hosted former NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao, Ph.D., who also serves as Special Advisor-Human Spaceflight for the Space Foundation. Dr Chiao welcomed visitors to the Space Foundation booth, and signed autographs and posed for photos. Marc Straub, of Cool Science in Colorado Springs, also participated at the booth, conducting science demonstrations.

Also in December, the Space Foundation education team held a Saturday professional development workshop for local teachers through PALS (Peak Area Leadership in Science). Thirty teachers and five regional directors participated in the workshop, which covered the effects of microgravity on the human body, as well as a tour of the solar system using Science On a Sphere. Topics included the planets and moons of our solar system, space weather, black holes, dark matter and the origins of the universe.

During January, Wonders of the Universe programs will continue with at least 300 students visiting from Cheyenne Mountain Elementary School and Springs Ranch Elementary School in Colorado Springs, and Caesar Chavez Academy, in Pueblo, Colo.

And, after a long wait, the short NASA film Water Falls will be available for public viewing at the Discovery Center in beginning Jan. 30. This 9-minute film, created by the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) specifically for Science On a Sphere, is centered around the GPM (Global Precipitation Measurement) mission, which will monitor and measure precipitation around the globe. Related hands-on education lessons will be presented to nearly 150 students viewing the film at the Discovery Center, which will be co-conducted by Space Foundation educators plus scientists and educators from GSFC.

The Space Foundation education team is also working on writing curriculum and testing equipment for the opening of the Discovery Center's new Mars Laboratory and the AGI Space Missions Simulator, to be completed and in use soon.

Learn more about the Space Foundation's education programs here.

Pictured (above and below): Students visiting the Space Foundation Discovery Center in Colorado Springs.

This article is part of Space Watch: January 2014 (Volume: 13, Issue: 1).