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NASA Explorer Schools - Grades 4-12

NASA Explorer School student conducting classroom activity.NASA Explorer Schools is NASA's classroom-based gateway for middle and high school students (grades 4 to 12), which provides authentic learning experiences designed around NASA's unique missions while promoting student engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

Image to right: NASA Explorer School Students conducting activity in the classroom. Credit: NASA

NES gives students a sense of relevance and involvement by linking STEM classroom topics to real-world NASA activities through unique and authentic NASA experiences, which inspire middle and high school students' interest in STEM disciplines today, tomorrow, and beyond. Through partnerships with national educational organizations and the use of best educational practices, the NES project encourages students to participate in NASA missions and develops their aptitudes in STEM.

Navigate to all of the NES project’s resources at the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus Web site (http://explorerschools.nasa.gov). The Virtual Campus gives students a front-row seat at many of the most important NASA current events, missions, and research facilities. Let students be inspired by advanced technology, science, and the people that conceive, design, develop, and make it all work. Allow them to meet and interact with the pioneers and entrepreneurs of space, hear their stories, and be motivated to follow in their footsteps.

Each week on the Virtual Campus, NASA Now online events will be posted. Designed especially for students, NASA Now events highlight a current NASA mission, area of research, or career within NASA. Students interact with the presenter through a live chat or e-mail. Each event will be linked to more extensive student activities so that students can investigate the topic being presented.

Incorporate the excitement of NASA’s missions of research and discovery into your classroom. Engage students with NASA activities and challenge them with real-world problems facing the astronauts, scientists, and engineers of space exploration. Use these easily accessible resources to satisfy curriculum standards and stimulate learning of basic and advanced STEM concepts. NES provides teachers with access to a variety of cost-free and copyright-free classroom lessons and activities. Assignments become more engaging and relevant to middle and high schools students because the lessons are based on authentic NASA missions, projects, and research.

Take an active role in your professional development by accessing online resources available on-demand on the Virtual Campus. A variety of live and self-guided electronic professional development opportunities provide background information on current NASA missions and research linked to featured activities and products enabling you to easily integrate NASA activities into your teaching. During the interactive sessions you will learn about innovative instructional strategies and receive information about resources to use with students and to share with colleagues.

NES extends its reach beyond the classroom and school year by recognizing innovative integration of NASA content modules and exemplary use of best practices in education to inspire student interest in STEM. Based on levels of participation and implementation, teachers, students, and schools can be eligible for a variety of exciting recognition opportunities and unique experiences.

  • For teachers: NES provides all-expenses-paid summer research experiences and professional development opportunities.
  • For students: NES provides recognition opportunities for outstanding students, based on exemplary achievement and participation in NES project activities.
  • For schools: NES provides recognition opportunities to schools based on innovative use of NASA content modules across classrooms by multiple educators, demonstrated use of best practices in STEM education, and integration of NASA themes and content throughout the school.

NES offers multiple pathways for participation and recognitions and requires no application process. Project materials are freely available to all types of schools (public, charter, private, urban, or rural) located in the United States or a U.S. territory, or a Department of Defense or State Department school at the middle and high school levels. Participants can be individual educators or teams of educators, or can have a whole-school focus. Participants have access to unique NASA opportunities and are recognized for innovative use of NASA educational resources and demonstration of best practices in STEM education.

Individual or teams of teachers or administrators interested in the NES project should visit the NES Virtual Campus (http://explorerschools.nasa.gov) to register for an orientation session by clicking on the Orientation Registration Information link in the Get Involved section.

For additional information or questions, send e-mail directly to NES staff at the Help Desk, NASA-Explorer-Schools@mail.nasa.gov

NASA Glenn Educational Programs Office Contacts:

Dennis Dubyk – NES Project Manager (ACTING)
Voice: (216) 433-5805
E-mail: dennis.v.dubyk@nasa.gov

Alicia Baturoni - NES Project Coordinator
Voice: (216) 433-6691
E-mail: alicia.m.baturoni@nasa.gov

Marge Marcy – NES Research Experience Coordinator
Voice: (216) 433-5577
E-mail: marjorie.m.lehky@nasa.gov

Judy Buttler - NES Project Assistant
Voice: (216) 433-5572
E-mail: Judy.A.Buttler@nasa.gov

Visit the Agency NASA Explorer Schools site