Debbie V. Nguyen
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Students, Teachers Explore With NASA at Three Houston Events
Three upcoming events will give students and teachers a chance to step virtually on the surfaces of the moon and Mars, be certified to handle lunar samples and learn about Mars-bound rovers.
The activities are part of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ (AIAA) Second Space Exploration Conference.
From Nov. 29-30, NASA’s new interactive trailer will visit a Houston school. Then, on Dec. 2, educators will have an opportunity to bring space-bound lessons into their classrooms during the “Out of this World Teacher Workshop” at the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS). Classrooms then may take a field trip to the conference’s Exploration Alley, from Dec. 4-6 at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center, to meet astronauts, scientists and engineers.
NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration Experience trailer will be at Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary School, 5858 Chimney Rock at Gulfton, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 29-30. The students may create lunar and Martian bases by controlling “floating” images while exploring the trailer’s three-dimensional theater.
Parents may explore the trailer from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Nov. 29. Visitors also will receive a free moon or Mars souvenir photo. For information on the school, contact Houston Independent School District’s Assistant Press Secretary Norm Uhl at 713-556-6393.
During the workshop, hosted by HMNS and AIAA, educators may register for one of six sessions. Each session costs $10. Each meets national science education standards and includes four continuing education units, a networking lunch and admission to the museum’s newest planetarium show, “It’s About Time,” made possible through NASA Explorers Institutes.
In the session, “Mission Moon,” NASA education specialists will certify teachers to borrow lunar and meteorite samples for use in their classrooms. In “What’s Happening Next Summer? - STS-118 and Beyond,” teachers will learn how to design a plant growth chamber for future missions to other worlds. Scheduled to launch in June, STS-118 will spark the imagination, dreams and curiosity of the next generation of explorers as the first educator astronaut, Barbara Morgan, takes flight.
In the four other sessions provided by HMNS and Space Center Houston, educators may gain hands-on activities for the classroom, crack the secrets of Mars, learn how HMNS is challenging students, or learn about the Space Elevator and the Time Telescope. For more information, contact Carolyn Sumners with HMNS at 713-639-4632.
Classrooms may register, free, for Exploration Alley, dedicated to inspiring and engaging the next generation of explorers. Open to all classrooms from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., visitors may explore NASA exhibits, get a close-up look at space food and preview NASA’s newest spaceship and rocket, Orion and Ares.
Sponsored by The Boeing Co., co-sponsored by NASA, and organized by AIAA, the event aims to bring together all the key players to discuss how to make the Vision for Space Exploration of going back to the moon, then on to Mars and beyond, a long-term reality.
These opportunities represent NASA’s tradition of investing in the nation’s education programs and goal of attracting and retaining students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines, and equipping educators to play a significant role in launching their future.
To register for a session at the museum and for more information, visit the Web at: http://www.hmnsmedia.org/pla/spaceworkshop.htm
For more information on the conference and to register for its Exploration Alley, contact AIAA’s Lisa Bacon at 703-264-7527, or Tanya Deason-Sharp of The Boeing Company at 281-226-6070, or go on the Web at: www.aiaa.org/events/explorationalley
For more information about NASA and agency education programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/education
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