NASA Explorer Schools Enroll in JPL 101
Teachers had a blast with the launch of the NASA Explorer Schools program this summer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Sponsored by NASA's Education Enterprise in association with the
National Science Teachers Association, the NASA Explorer Schools program
offers educators the opportunity to learn about the many exciting and
interactive learning resources the space agency has to offer. The
program establishes a 3-year partnership between the space agency and 50
carefully selected teams of educators who represent 30 states across the
country. The teams visit NASA field centers during the summer to meet
with science professionals and learn about the work at each center.
"This is a new NASA education program based on a team approach, in which
teachers and administrators come together to impact mathematics, science
and technology education in local schools," said NASA Explorer Schools
Program Manager Peg Steffen from NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
"The planetary work at JPL is very much team-based, which provides
wonderful examples of how teams come together to achieve common goals."
This summer, 18 teachers and administrators from four Los Angeles area
schools attended an intensive, weeklong series of lectures and workshops
at JPL. Among the things they learned about were the history and goals
of space exploration, and how NASA missions develop from start to
finish. Substantial time was spent on NASA and JPL educational
activities and resources, as well as education issues in California.
This included field trips to the Educator Resource Center in Pomona,
Calif., and the Mt. Wilson Observatory, just outside Pasadena.
"As a veteran teacher who has not had any formal math and science
education for 30 years, I found the information fascinating and
stimulating," said Linda Sutherland, a resource teacher at 153rd Street
Elementary School in Gardena. "The resource center was, and will
continue to be, an invaluable source of materials to implement our NASA
Explorer School Program."
Educators were introduced to resources like the Mars Student Imaging
Project, which allows students to command an instrument on the Mars
Odyssey via their classroom computer, and the Goldstone Apple Valley
Radio Telescope project, which lets students control and collect science
data from a Deep Space Network antenna.
The group also enjoyed a special opportunity to connect with the
International Space Station through NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett
Field, Calif., for a question-and-answer session with astronauts Ed Lu
and Yuri Malenchenko. Such exciting events were mixed with discussion
sessions throughout the week, allowing the participants to process
information and talk more about how to inspire the next generation of
"Make no mistake, the JPL staff worked us to the bone. It seemed as if
we received two weeks' worth of information packed into one," said Jodie
West, a 6th-grade teacher from Washington Middle School in Pasadena.
"The long hours were worth it because now we are armed with so many
projects to stimulate the interest of our kids in the subject areas of
math, science and technology."
To maximize the impact on a broad range of students, more than half of
the teams selected to participate in the program were from high poverty
and minority areas. NASA plans to expand the NASA Explorer Schools
program by 50 schools each year for an ongoing three-year cycle of 150
More information about the program is located on the Web at:
Media contact: Charli Schuler (818) 393-5467