Space-Based STEM Education for the Scientists of Tomorrow

  • Mar 09, 2016

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Of all students, elementary-schoolers are probably the best equipped to respond to STEM education that is presented in the context of space exploration and adventure. I say that because younger kids are still firmly in-touch with their innate sense of wonder, and more importantly, still open enough to believe that if they dream big and work hard, they can achieve amazing things.

It’s their universe as much as it is ours, after all, and the good folks at NASA Education have come up with a cool new way to help them take hold of it—via a thoroughly engaging collection of science, technology, engineering, and math resources.

NASA Space Place is a free educational website for elementary students, their teachers, and their parents. Loaded with educational classroom activities, videos, experiments, and games, it’s a great place to learn, play, and grow. Teachers can use the materials they find on Space Place to build lesson plans that align with the Next Generation Science Standards. In addition, many of the classroom activities featured can easily be adapted to the high school classroom.

Explore NASA Space Place for yourself.

And to learn about other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

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A Writing Contest for Young Space Enthusiasts

  • Dec 18, 2015

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As I write this, the unmanned Cassini spacecraft is headed for Saturn en route to a scheduled close flyby of the ocean-bearing moon Enceladus on December 19th—a mission that will garner invaluable geological data about a world far, far away.

Just think about that for a moment. Scientific exploration of alien worlds via technology that was science fiction not all that long ago.

It’s a stunning moment in human achievement, not to mention STEM advocacy, but moreover it’s a golden opportunity to ignite the imaginations of those very people who may one day take the exploration even further: your students. Which is why we bring you news today of the Cassini Scientist for a Day Essay Contest.

NASA Education invites students in grades 5-12 to pen a 500-word essay on the Cassini Mission for a chance to win once-in-a-lifetime recognition and a very special opportunity for their fellow students!

The winning essays and their student authors will be featured on NASA’a web site. In addition, winning schools will be guaranteed participation in a teleconference or video conference with Cassini scientists!

The contest meets U.S. National English and Science Education Standards. Deadline for submission is Friday, February 26, 2016. For more information visit the official contest web site.

And to find out about other great opportunities and free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Note: Watch the video below for a compelling overview of the Cassini Mission.

Explore a New World of Learning

  • Oct 16, 2015

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Mars is everywhere these days, figuratively speaking. From breathtaking imagery captured by the Curiosity Rover, and growing excitement over possible evidence for Martian water, to NASA’s recent announcement of 3-part plan to put people on Mars within two decades, it’s safe to say that the red planet is having a moment.

Heck, it’s even co-starring in a hit movie with Matt Damon!

All this excitement presents teachers with a golden opportunity—a chance to present real-world  STEM application to young people who are watching scientific history play out before their eyes. Luckily, our friends at NASA Education are ready to help educators make the most of this opportunity with an exhaustive online collection of Mars-related STEM resources they call the Mars Survival Kit.

Well organized and easy to navigate, the site offers standards-based classroom projects and lesson plans for students in kindergarten through high school. And it’s all free of charge.

Check out the Mars Survival Kit for yourself.

And to learn about other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

Note: NASA TV is channel 346 in your DIRECTV SCHOOL CHOICE programming package.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

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Space Station STEM Ed

  • Sep 03, 2015

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One does not have to be a rocket scientist in order to recognize that space travel is probably the greatest commercial there is for STEM. I mean, talk about an education taking you places!

But what really sells the point is the fact that it is nearly impossible to discuss any aspect of space travel without at least touching on the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics involved—real-world application of STEM principles by ordinary people who once sat in classrooms just like yours.

And are not so ordinary anymore.

That’s the kind of big-picture thinking that can inspire students, and, fortunately, NASA Education is in the business of thinking big.

Which brings us to STEM on Station, NASA Education’s out-of-this-world educational web site celebrating the year-long mission to the International Space Station. Informative, timely, and easy to use, the site is packed with free learning resources, including a large collection of STEM-based lesson plans for grades K-12.

As with space itself, there is lots to discover. So visit STEM on Station today.

And to learn about other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

Note: NASA TV is channel 346 in your DIRECTV SCHOOL CHOICE programming package.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

 

Enter to Win Cool Contests for Earth Science Week 2015!

  • Jul 27, 2015

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In celebration of Earth Science Week 2015, teachers and students K-12 are invited to take part in essay, photography and visual arts competitions, courtesy of the American Geosciences Institute.

A big thank you to our friends at NASA Education for making us aware of these opportunities to explore science through art, and maybe win a prize!

The deadline for submission to all three contests is October 16, 2015:

PHOTOGRAPHY
Open to: All educators and students
Theme: “Earth Systems Interacting”
Photographs should show at least one Earth system affecting another Earth system in your community. Pictured (right) is last year’s winning photo, from Eva Jasinski, depicting the influence of Earth systems upon one another and the theme “Connections in My Community”.
Official contest site

VISUAL ARTS
Open to: Students K-5
Theme: “Picturing Earth Systems”
Submit an original 2-D visual arts project that shows how land, water, air and living things affect each other.
Official contest site

ESSAY
Open to: Students grades 6-9
Theme: “Earth System Visualization Today”
In 300 words or less, explain one way that geoscientists’ use of cutting-edge visualization is advancing Earth science today.
Official contest site

Now get busy!

And to stay abreast of other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Earth Science