NASA SEMAA sites at Tennessee State University, or TSU, New Mexico State University, and the Miami-Dade County Public Schools (the fourth largest school district in the nation) are collaborating on a Discovery Research K-12 grant from NSF totaling $300,000. These SEMAA sites are working together to advance STEM education by pilot-testing an exciting NASA based high school curriculum in astrobiology, and conducting educational research on the project and its impacts on underrepresented students (to be led by researchers from TSU).
The web-based curriculum, known as the Astrobiology in the Secondary Classroom, or ASC, curriculum, includes hands-on science activities, computer simulations, and analysis of real NASA data sets. SEMAA students currently participating in the project are practicing authentic science inquiry while pondering the "big questions" of life on earth. Once the pilot-testing and research phase is complete, the curriculum will be replicated at NASA SEMAA sites nationwide.
The ASC curriculum was developed through a collaboration of the Minority Institution Astrobiology Collaborative, the NASA Astrobiology Institute and educators and curriculum developers from TSU. Additionally, scientists from the Goddard Center for Astrobiology, the Carnegie Institute of Washington, and the Indiana-Princeton-Tennessee Astrobiology Initiative supported the curriculum development team.
"The NASA SEMAA Project has a foundation for K-12 STEM education and a presence in underserved communities that is valuable to NSF's mission".
Dr. Julia V. Clark
Program Director, Division of Research on Learning
National Science Foundation