Educator Features

A Vision of Tomorrow
12.04.06
The ISS orbiting the Earth
So what happens next?

Image to right: The crew of the last shuttle mission, STS-115, took this picture of the International Space Station as they left. Credit: NASA

The STS-116 crew is adding a new element to the International Space Station, and preparing it for further assembly. After that, the shuttle will visit the station 13 more times. The shuttle will deliver new laboratories and other modules, making it possible for more research to take place on the station and increasing its crew capacity. These improvements will let astronauts learn more about living and working in space. With that knowledge, human beings will be able to return to the moon. Work is already underway on the spacecraft and rockets that will take them there. Working on the moon will help NASA to learn more about exploring other worlds. This will prepare the agency to journey onward to Mars.

But what happens after that? That's up to you.

Today's students will become the scientists, engineers, astronauts and leaders who will continue the Vision for Space Exploration as it carries humanity back to the moon, then on to Mars and beyond. Today's teachers play an important role in preparing students for that journey.

Related Resources
+ STS-116 Mission Page

+ NASA Education Web site

+ SEMAA

+ NASA Explorer Schools

+ MUREP

+ Digital Learning Network
Because a strong scientific and technical workforce is vital to its efforts, NASA is committed to helping students and teachers with those preparations. The agency offers a wide variety of educational projects to support learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The goals of these efforts are to inspire students to pursue studies and careers in these fields and to enrich their education.

NASA works to accomplish these goals in a variety of ways. Professional development opportunities allow educators to discover new resources and share ideas. Educational materials can be used by teachers and students to further learning. Internships and other student-involvement projects provide hands-on experience in technical fields. Student competitions challenge young people to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Partnerships with other organizations increase the reach and impact of these efforts.

Here are just a few of the educational projects NASA offers:

-- NASA's Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy project engages K-12 students in exciting, hands-on activities that encompass the research and technology of NASA's missions. SEMAA offers activities during the academic year and summer, all at no cost to participants in 17 locations throughout 13 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to student activities, SEMAA offers other resources for students, teachers and families.

-- The NASA Explorer Schools project establishes three-year partnerships with selected schools nationwide to bring engaging mathematics, science, engineering and technology learning to educators, students and families. Competitive applications and selection of the NES teams occur each spring. Up to 50 teams will be added each year, for a maximum of 150 teams. Schools can also apply for technology grants of up to $17,500 over the three-year period to help implement their plans.

A collage of images of children and educators engaged in a variety of activities
-- Minority University Research and Education Projects aim to increase the agency's responsiveness to federal mandates related to historically black colleges and universities and other minority universities, including Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges and universities.

Image to left: NASA's Education Program strives to engage the public in shaping and sharing the experience of exploration and discovery. Credit: NASA

-- NASA's Digital Learning Network serves to enhance NASA's capability to deliver content by linking customers with NASA centers in an integrated fashion. This coordinated digital learning network leverages NASA's content, facilities and personnel to provide a unique experience for students and educators at the precollege and university levels across the nation and around the world. Learners at all levels have the opportunity to interact directly with NASA scientists to gain a new appreciation for the importance of science and education.

Through these projects and others, NASA continues its tradition of investing in the nation's education. NASA is committed to building strategic partnerships and linkages with formal and informal educators of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Through hands-on, interactive educational activities, NASA is engaging students, educators, families, the general public and all agency stakeholders to increase Americans' science and technology literacy.


David Hitt/NASA Educational Technology Services