For one week in June, 14 elementary and middle school teachers and administrators traveled to NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., to take their turn as students again.
Kappy Cannon, Tammy Lundy, Elizabeth Padget, Brenda Richards and Paulette Williams of Forest Lake Elementary Technology Magnet School, in Columbia, S.C., spent the week of June 19 learning about NASA and how to incorporate NASA technology in their classrooms. They toured NASA Langley's facilities, including model shops, laboratories and a wind tunnel. They also participated in team-building activities to take back to their school.
"Being able to physically see and visit some of the places where history has been made brings about such a feeling of pride and patriotism," said Cannon, principal, Forest Lake Elementary.
The NASA Explorer School (NES) program is sponsored by NASA to help educators and students join NASA's mission of discovery through educational activities and special learning opportunities tailored to promote science, mathematics and technology applications and career explorations.
"I had no idea that there were so many exceptional resources available," said Padget, media specialist, Forest Lake Elementary. "I can't wait to work with the students and teachers, using the resources and activities now available to us!"
Forest Lake Elementary School was announced as one of NASA's 2006 Explorer Schools in May. They will be starting the NES program this fall and will continue the partnership for the next three years.
"We wanted to broaden our students' awareness of space, exploration and careers in science and technology," said Richards, curriculum resource teacher, Forest Lake Elementary. "We also wanted to expand our teachers' base of resources through this program."
The theme for the one-week workshop revolved around the vision for NASA -- exploring the moon, Mars and beyond -- and also highlighted NASA Langley's key role in aeronautics and space. Workshop attendees participated in team-building activities to plan their role in the NES program and learned about the numerous resources available. They also spent time designing a three-year strategic plan for incorporating NASA technology into their school curriculum.
"I am excited to be able to incorporate all of the vast resources of NASA into my lessons," said Lundy, science and technology teacher at Forest Lake Elementary. "Adding such an array of knowledge will increase student participation."
Throughout the next three years, students in the NES program will participate in digital conferences with scientists and engineers at NASA. Educators will also take the hands-on activities they participated in during their workshop back to their students to provide exciting learning experiences in the science, math and technology fields.
"Having this NES experience and the opportunity to share the wonder of NASA with our students -- the next generation -- is a real responsibility and honor," said Williams, instructional technology specialist, Forest Lake Elementary. "Until this week, I had forgotten some of the wonder I felt when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. I want my personal children, as well as my students, to feel that sense of wonder!"
To learn more about the NES program, please visit:
For information about NASA research and exploration, visit:
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