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For release: 07/07/04
Release #: 04-182

Editor's note – There will be a media availability with the teachers Friday July 9, 2004 at 9 a.m., at the US Space and Rocket Center, please contact Martin Jensen at (256) 544-0034 to attend.

NASA Marshall Center to host 'best and brightest' high school teachers at national rocketry workshop to inspire future explorers

High school teachers from across the country hope their visit to the Marshall Center this week will help launch new ideas about using rocketry in their classrooms. The teachers are participating in NASA's Student Launch Initiative Advanced Rocketry Workshop through Friday. The initiative is an educational program to motivate students to pursue careers in science, math and engineering.

Teachers from across the country are traveling to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to learn how to launch students' imaginations about space and inspire the next generation of explorers.

From July 8-10, 19 teachers from nine states will be in Huntsville to participate in NASA's Student Launch Initiative Advanced Rocketry Workshop.

Workshop participants will include teachers from the top 25 teams that competed in the Team America Rocketry Challenge in The Plains, Va., in May. During that competition, more than 100 high school student teams from 31 states designed, built and tested model rockets that could soar to a target altitude of 1,250 feet, with a payload — cargo carried inside the rocket — of two fresh eggs.

The Student Launch Initiative, an educational program based at the Marshall Center, seeks to motivate students to pursue careers in science, math and engineering. It provides opportunities for teams of high school students to experience hands-on, practical aerospace engineering projects similar to what they would find in a professional environment.

During the three-day Huntsville workshop, teachers will brainstorm with NASA education specialists about ways to better serve their students and integrate rocketry lessons into their classroom curriculums. Educators will meet with a member of Marshall's management team to learn more about NASA's passion for teachers and students and its continuing role in inspiring the next generation of explorers. While here, the teachers will tour Marshall's science and research facilities. They also will attend lectures by engineers about Marshall's role in supporting the Vision for Space Exploration — NASA's plan to return humans to the Moon where they will lay the groundwork for exploration missions to Mars and beyond.

"These teachers are the best of the best at finding new ways to use subjects like rockets and propulsion to excite their students," said Dawn Mercer, an education specialist in Marshall's Education Programs Department. "Teaching these subjects to students now lays a strong science and math foundation necessary for them to succeed in the years to come."

For more information about the Student Launch Initiative or the Team America Rocket Challenge, please visit these Web sites:

For more information:
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Martin Jensen
Public Affairs Office
(256) 544-0034

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