NASA Headquarters, Washington
Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), Huntsville, Ala.
January 27, 2004
NASA Expands Web-Based Education Program
NASA has expanded NASAexplores, a Web-based education program that features express lessons and online resources for teachers and students.
The Web site includes articles about research conducted in microgravity, the low-gravity environment on spacecraft such as the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle.
Biology and physics space research material, provided by NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR), add to articles and lessons about aeronautics, exploration systems, and space flight. The site has attracted users in more than 100 countries attracting more than 1.5 million hits monthly over the past two years.
New space research topics planned for the site include gravity and space environmental impacts on life; research opportunities that expand understanding of the laws of gravity and enrich life on Earth; issues around human survival in space; technologies to enable the next generation of explorers to explore space; and strategies for inspiring the next generation to take up the challenges of exploration.
"The new NASAexplores content will give K-12 teachers and students access to materials that focus on all aspects of microgravity, from its physiological effects on the human body to its physical effects on materials and biological samples exposed to the space environment," said Jim Pruitt, manager of education programs at MSFC. Pruitt is responsible for the creation and management of NASAexplores.
Weekly e-mail notices, with abstracts of articles and brief descriptions of the latest lesson plans and activities, are sent to subscribers. The site is updated each Thursday with new material, including news and details about national education conferences and other events of interest to the education community.
Each NASAexplores lesson is presented in four versions, elementary, middle, high school and teachers' editions. Each grade-level article features two lesson plans for students, teacher sheets and a glossary. Special features such as puzzles, trivia, games and reading lists, with tie-ins to the educational material, are also posted.
NASAexplores products are developed using the national standards for science, mathematics, technology and geography adopted by the National Science Teachers Association, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the International Society for Technology in Education/International Technology Education Association and the National Geographic Society.
Materials are suitable for both classroom and home school settings. Teachers can search the Web site by keyword, subject, grade level, preparation time, materials needed or national standards.
"Educators have one of the world's most important jobs, educating the next generation," said Pruitt. "NASA's mission statement dedicates the agency to inspiring the next generation of explorers, and we believe that partnering with teachers is vital to this goal."
The NASAexplores team consists of a program manager, a team leader who is also a certified teacher, a full-time staff of experienced classroom teachers with experience in the K-12 range, two science writers, an editor/marketing specialist and a Web author.
To view NASAexplores Express Lessons and Online Resources, or to subscribe, visit:
For information about other NASA educational programs on the Internet, visit:
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit:
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