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Blast Back to School 2012
Two students looking at a model rocket

Offer your students the opportunity to learn about NASA through educational resources, events, projects and media. Image Credit: NASA SOI

The beginning of the school year is a great time to explore the challenges and exciting opportunities from NASA for educators and students. The agency offers a variety of student and teacher opportunities, printed educational products, multimedia, and other assorted materials and websites related to NASA's educational programs. NASA resources inform educators about careers, science, technology, and how their students can be among NASA's future team of scientists and engineers.

NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus

Designed for teachers in grades 4-12, NASA Explorer Schools provides a forum for accessing free lessons, student engagement activities, and professional development opportunities centered on NASA missions and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics topics and careers. NES also offers multiple pathways for connecting with other motivated STEM educators across the country to share best practices and classroom implementation ideas.

The words Virtual Campus appear over the words NASA Explorer Schools Project

Register for NASA Explorer Schools on the NES website. Image Credit: NASA

Benefits of Registering to Be a NASA Explorer Schools Educator:
  • A searchable lesson library links classroom subjects to NASA’s innovative research and scientific discoveries.
  • Professional development and support help educators to implement NASA lessons into their classroom.
  • NASA Now classroom video programs feature NASA careers and STEM concepts connected to real-world missions and projects.
  • During one-hour live video chats, students have the opportunity to ask questions of NASA experts.
  • Collaboration tools are available for gathering and sharing ideas and resources with other NES educators and NASA staff.
  • Recognition opportunities are offered for innovative integration of NES teaching materials and exemplary use of best practices in STEM education.
  • Live Help Desk support is available during standard business hours.

NASA Summer of Innovation

NASA's Summer of Innovation project provides hands-on learning opportunities for middle school students and educators through NASA-unique science, technology, engineering and mathematics educational activities during the summer school break. The project expands both the breadth and depth of school- and community-based partners' ability to provide meaningful, educational and exciting experiences to students in grades 4-9 who traditionally have been underrepresented in STEM fields.

SoI facilitates the alignment of summer and extended learning programming with the formal education community by aligning summer content with the local needs of schools and providing sustained professional development to certified educators.

NASA's education specialists have developed themed units and camps with NASA content to help make summer programming both exciting and meaningful. The selected units and camps are specific, hands-on, problem-based activities that are appropriate for the summer learning setting.

Current Opportunities for Students and Educators

A young woman observes a milling machine

Cristal Vasquez conducts research during a NASA internship at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Image Credit: Eugenio 'Keno' Urquiza/JPL

Current Opportunities is a collection of opportunities for either students or educators, organized in an easy-to-find way. The opportunities consist of programs, projects, contests, webcasts, or other miscellaneous events that are available to educators and/or students. The opportunities are segmented by grade levels, specifically K-4, 5-8, 9-12 and Higher Education. The Educators section also includes a segment for informal educators. The Educators Current Opportunities section includes a listing of all items. The opportunities are listed by date so that the items with upcoming deadlines are toward the top of the listing. Items that are always open and do not have a deadline are listed toward the bottom of the pages. They are updated as often as new items come in, with outdated items being removed as deadlines expire.

Current Opportunities is a great way for educators and students to find ways to be involved with NASA.

For Educators:
› http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/current-opps-index.html
For Students:
› http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/current-opps-index.html

National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program

NASA initiated the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, also known as Space Grant, in 1989. Space Grant is a national network of colleges and universities. These institutions are working to expand opportunities for Americans to understand and participate in NASA's aeronautics and space projects by supporting and enhancing science and engineering education, research, and public outreach efforts. The Space Grant national network includes over 850 affiliates from universities, colleges, industry, museums, science centers, and state and local agencies. These affiliates belong to one of 52 consortia in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The 52 consortia fund fellowships and scholarships for students pursuing careers in science, mathematics, engineering and technology, or STEM, as well as curriculum enhancement and faculty development. Member colleges and universities also administer pre-college and public service education projects in their states.

Homework Topics for Students

Create lesson plans using NASA articles for students. Titles include topics about aeronautics, astronauts, earth science, general science, history, rockets and space vehicles, and space science.

Topics for grades K-4
› http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/homework-topics-index.html

Topics for grades 5-8
› http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/homework-topics-index.html

NASA's Education Resources -- Easy Ways to Obtain NASA Educational Materials

NASA.gov serves as the gateway for information on missions, research, programs and services offered by NASA. The educational sections provide educators access to curriculum support materials and resources produced through collaborations with NASA mission experts.

NASA's Office of Education works collaboratively with NASA experts to promote education as a component of NASA research and development missions. These efforts result in innovative and informative educational materials that engage student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Find NASA Teaching Materials

An online search tool helps educators locate materials for the classroom. Users may sort products by grade level, type of product or topics.

Types of Materials
  • Bookmarks
  • Classroom Activities
  • Educator Guides
  • Lesson Plans
  • Lithographs (Images)
  • Play and Learn
  • Posters
  • Program Brochures
  • Video Learning Clips
  • Websites

NASA's Educator Resource Center Network

NASA's ERCs are located throughout the United States, in the U.S. Virgin Islands and in Puerto Rico. ERCs offer information about NASA and its educational resources and services. Personnel provide in-service and pre-service training using NASA curriculum support materials. ERC team members also collaborate with educational organizations to foster system initiatives at local, state and regional levels. Contact a NASA ERC for services in your area.

Central Operation of Resources for Educators

CORE serves as the worldwide distribution center for NASA-produced educational multimedia materials. For a minimal charge, CORE provides curriculum support materials to educators who are not able to visit one of NASA's ERCs or who are looking for large quantities of materials. Educators can use CORE's online catalog and mail-order service to purchase NASA education materials. Products include activity kits, bulletin boards, DVDs, publications, slide programs and videotapes. Closed-captioned and audio-descriptive versions of many materials are available.

Educational Multimedia NASA offers educational multimedia such as the Do-It-Yourself Podcast activity for students, video learning clips, webcasts, monthly educational programming on NASA TV and image galleries.
NASA Education EXPRESS Mailing List

Sign up to receive email announcements about NASA products, activities, workshops, events and opportunities to bring NASA educational resources into your classroom.

NASA Educational Technology Services Team