The Future of Human Spaceflight

The moon, Mars, and beyond—for decades humans have been fascinated by the potential of space travel. After nearly 50 years of space exploration, humanity is looking for the next great leap in the future of human spaceflight. Until recently, space programs were run by the government and focused on low-Earth orbits. Humans landed on the […]

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with NASA: Earth, Aerodynamics and Mars!

It’s National Hispanic Heritage Month, a great time to celebrate culture and emphasize to students that NASA is for them! NASA has some amazing astronauts, engineers, scientists and technicians that serve as inspiration to all. Just a few examples include NASA’s first Hispanic Astronaut, Dr. Franklin Chang Díaz, former NASA astronaut José Hernández, son of a migrant […]

“Off The Earth For The Earth” for a #YearinSpace Adventure on ISS

[one_half]31,536,000 seconds. 525,600 minutes. 8,670 hours. 365 Days. No matter how you break it down, one year is a long time. Then, put yourself in a 3-4 bedroom house (about 425 cubic meters of habitable space) with five other adults, no showers, no washing machines, and only two toilets for that amount of time.  Feeling […]

NASA is with you when you fly! Celebrate Aeronautics with NASA

Did you know that NASA wasn’t always called NASA? That’s right! NASA used to be NACA, or the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. NACA was formed in 1915, followed by the establishment of what is now NASA Langley Research Center in 1917–or what I like to call the mothership of NASA, since it was the first […]

Send Your Name on the Journey to Mars

Welcome Future Martians! You can now send your name to Mars on a microchip aboard InSight for its March 2016 mission. The deadline to submit your name is September 8, so don’t forget to sign up! There are three essential questions that have been driving Mars exploration. Is there water on Mars? Is or was Mars ever capable […]

Skylab: From Space to Your Classroom

Many young students look up at the sky and dream about exploring distant planets. But sometimes it can be challenging to channel these interests into relevant classroom concepts. It’s important to find ways to show students how they can stretch the limits of possibility with math and science, which teachers can encourage by exploring students’ […]

STEM careers at NASA

NASA Careers When you think of NASA careers, the first career that might come to mind is an astronaut.  However you don’t go to college and choose ‘astronaut’ as a major.  As a matter of fact, out of an approximate 60,000 civil servants and contractors that work at NASA, only 43 are active astronauts (eligible […]

Apps to Help Students Experience the Realities of Space

I am a very visual learner and find these apps very helpful in experience the realities of space. I would love to hear what you think of them especially as tools for students. 1- Spacecraft 3D NASA’s Spacecraft 3D is an augmented reality (AR) application that lets you learn about an d interact with a […]

NASA Robotics Activities Motivates Students to Excel

Robotics is a way of life today. Robots are everywhere. They’re in your home (even in your bathroom), your doctor’s office, your bank, your favorite place to shop, and your school. Of course, they are a major and critical component of NASA’s exploration of our Earth and the universe in which we live. Life would […]

Effective Instructional Strategies for English Language Learners

Did you know that by the year 2025, nearly one out of every four public school students will be an English Language Learner? This presents a unique challenge for all educators out there today. Are teachers prepared with the most effective instructional strategies for English Language Learners?  One of the misconceptions out there is that […]

Buscamos: Estudiantes Entusiastas en Robot!

NASA’s Robotics Mining Competitions will take place May 20-22 at NASA Kennedy Space Center. According to the Nasa website, “NASA’s Robotic Mining Competition is for university-level students to design and build a mining robot that can traverse the simulated Martian chaotic terrain. The ‘bot must then excavate the basaltic regolith simulant (called Black Point-1 or […]

Texas State University NASA STEM EPDC Origins

The beginning of 2015 has been a flurry of activity as the Texas State University NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative becomes fully operational with the hiring of the 10 EPDC specialists that are located at each of the 10 NASA Centers across the U.S. The specialists were at Texas State Jan. 13-16 for planning […]

Mission Tool Suite For Education (MTSE)

Did you know that NASA has an Airborne Science Mission Tools Suite (MTS) that allows for the planning, operating and managing of the Airborne Science Mission Operations from a web-based site by scientist and engineers? MTS enables remote monitoring of real-time aircraft location, viewing of current and archived flight tracks, team communication, and collaboration including […]

South by Southwest’s 2016 Education Expo

South by Southwest’s education expo will be held on March 7-10 in Austin, Texas. The education expo brought close to 6,000 students, parents, and educators together last year. SXSWedu is a part of the South by Southwest network. This includes the annual music and arts festival of the same name. The education expo has a varied […]

Preparing Students for Future STEM Jobs

It is no secret that STEM jobs are high in demand and will continue to grow over the next several decades. However, what is needed is a wide variety of approaches that will enable educators to engage and entice students to pursue STEM fields to meet this growing demand. According to the Bureau of Labor […]

NASA Summer Institutes for Educators

Invest in Yourself How can you as an educator invest in yourself professionally with NASA? There are many opportunities to invest in your own professional development with NASA education and one of the best sources for learning about those opportunities is found here. You will find that there are summer workshops and webinars onsite at […]

NASA Current News for the K-12 Classroom

OSIRIS-REx MISSION: One-Week Post Launch Looking for a current NASA news story, and engaging activities to share with your students? THE NEWS Make sure to discuss the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft with your students! OSIRIS-REx succesffully launched just this past week at 7:05pm EDT on September 8th, 2016 from […]

The Truth About the Apollo Lunar Samples

In October of last year NASA released the findings of a study that examined the Apollo lunar samples taken during the Apollo missions of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Despite the belief that there was no life on the moon, the Apollo mission soil samples taken over four decades ago contained traces of amino […]

NASA Physics Education Activities

When I left my High School Physics classroom for a position as a NASA education specialist, I was both impressed and annoyed by the resources available from NASA for teaching physics concepts. I was impressed that there was such a wide range of resources for all aspects of physics at so many different levels. I […]

Microgravity University for Educators and Resources for Your Classroom

Most have seen the pictures and videos, but few have felt the apparent weightlessness one feels while experiencing microgravity in space.  What is microgravity? Why are we as humans so fascinated by it?  One could answer those questions with two F’s…Free-fall and Fun! Many of us have experienced brief periods of microgravity while sky-diving, bungee-jumping, […]

Discovering Exoplanets: Is there Anybody Out There?

Is there anybody out there? – a question humans have been asking since the beginning of our existence. It would most likely be the greatest discovery of human-kind if/when we discover the definitive answer to that question. NASA has been a leader in exploring that question and searching for the answer. On February 22, 2017, […]

Just how frequently do meteors hit Earth?

How often is Earth hit by meteors from space? For technicality’s sake, a meteor is just a piece of an asteroid or comet that has entered Earth’s atmosphere. Before arriving at the atmosphere, these pieces are called meteoroids. Thousands of small rock fragments enter the atmosphere every year, and most of the debris is burned […]

Encouraging students’ identity as “science people”: a little recognition goes a long way

In this video, I describe “physics identity” and what I do to support positive physics identity development for my students. A quick way to describe physics identity is that it’s how much someone feels like a “physics person.” The same idea applies for math identity and science identity. Researchers have found that physics identity is […]

Exploration Then and Now: Student Lesson

Survival! What would it take to survive on the Moon? As shown in the video below, NASA astronauts are dependent on their available resources, as well as their ability to survive and adapt to new environments. NASA’s BEST –Living on the Moon In 1610, the Jamestown settlers who traveled to the United States, were also […]

Microgravity University for Educators (MgUE) at NASA Johnson Space Center Kicks Off with Grand Success!

MgUE kicked off the first week of the Institute on April 2, 2017 at NASA JSC and six teams of teachers from schools in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Illinois, Iowa, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California were in attendance to test student-designed devices to simulate satellite insertion into planetary orbits.  The experiences included […]

Measuring Professional Development by Student Work

This semester I was fortunate enough to work with a local school, the San Fernando Institute of Applied Media (SFIAM).  The teaching staff reached out to the EPDC team with a vision of a project beyond ‘one-off’ professional development. Research has shown that effective PD for teachers needs to be both hands-on and recurring.  However, […]

Astronomical Collisions

It’s the ultimate merging when lightyear-size galaxies attract each other and collide. The process takes billions of years, and although we won’t be able to record a whole collision in our lifetime, the Hubble Space Telescope has given us glimpses of various galaxies around the universe at different stages of their collision. The Antennae galaxies. […]

Curiosity’s Five Years of Mars Exploration

Five years ago the Curiosity Mars Rover landed on the surface of the red planet. Curiosity’s mission is to determine Mars’ habitability by examining the planet’s climate and geology. It was set to explore the 96 mile-wide Gale Crater and study its structure, chemical composition, how it came to be, and how its history impacted […]

Veggie: “Growing Beyond Earth”

When you think of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, you probably think of rocket launches with thousands of spectators lining up at the Visitor Complex or along U.S. 1 to get a glimpse, hear and feel the rumble of the Falcon 9, Atlas V, Delta or one of the many other rockets that launch from NASA’s […]

NASA Expeditionary Skills: Preparing for the Learning Adventure

One of our greatest challenges as educators is helping our students prepare for lifelong learning and success.   NASA has developed a set of lesson plans to introduce and practice working as team to solve problems.  https://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/stem-on-station/expeditionary-skills-for-life.html The lessons are divided into four modules (Self Care/Team Care; Cultural Competency; Leadership/Followship; and Teamwork Communication) designed to guide […]

The Importance of Story in STEM Education

Content and Context The curriculum maps, standards, and always beloved standardized tests provide a roadmap to guide educators toward which content to share with students over a given school year. What the teacher is left with is to provide context and relevance to that content. That’s where story’s power becomes evident. According to Harrison Monarth […]

NASA Year of Education on Station: Teaching from Space

Imagine being a teacher in the classroom one day, and then find yourself being a teacher astronaut in space the next. Pretty exciting! Well, that’s what happened to teachers, Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold. This school year, NASA is celebrating a Year of Education on the Station (YES) as astronauts and former teachers, Joe Acaba […]

Exploring Mercury

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. Its closeness greatly influences Mercury’s atmosphere, temperature, and surface. Fastest Orbit Mercury is about 1/3 the size of the Earth. It’s is only slightly larger than our moon and Mercury itself possesses no moons. Mercury is 3,032.3 miles (4,880 kilometers) wide. To put it in perspective, if […]

Digital Badging – Professional Development on your own schedule

If you are anything like I was when I was still in the classroom, right about now, you are looking for some professional development (PD) hours to finish out your required number or start to get ahead on the next count. Finding PD offerings isn’t usually that difficult. Finding them to fit around your schedule […]

Let’s Explore Venus!

Far away, 261 million kilometers away from Earth, sits our other next-door neighbor besides Mars, Venus. From its many volcanoes, hot temperatures, and its peculiar backward spin, Venus is one planet we don’t hear much about recently but that doesn’t mean we don’t know about it. Strap on and put on some sunscreen because we […]

Precipitation Education: Engaging Students to Think Critically and Creatively

Fresh water is our most precious resource.  While Earth is the water Planet, most of the water (97%) is salt water. Only 3% of the planets water is fresh water and only 1% is potable. Precipitation is the main source of the freshwater required by living things on the planet. (What’s up with Precipitation? https://pmm.nasa.gov/education/articles/understanding-earth-whats-precipitation […]

Long-term Engagement with NASA for Educator Learning Experiences

It is well known that Professional Development (PD) for educators is effective if it is long-term and not just a one-off event. Office of Education at NASA Goddard partners with institutions to meet their long-term needs for educator PD. This February, I had the opportunity to further this partnership with pre-service teachers at Marymount University […]

Best Practices in Professional Development

Research has identified a number of best practices (Darling-Hammond et al., 2009; Guskey & Yoon, 2009; Rhoton & Wohnowski, 2005; NCCTQ, 2011) in providing professional development to teachers and educators. BEST Educators professional development should be based on the following six practices: BE OF SUFFICIENT DURATION The duration of professional development should be significant and […]

3D-Printed Magnetic Structures

New 3D-printing technique helped engineers create magnetic structures capable of moving with a wave of a magnet. The magnetic structures can wrinkle, squeeze themselves and even crawl, roll, jump and snap close to catch a rolling ball. Among the many new soft devices being created and designed to shape-shift or move, these 3D-printed magnetic structures […]

Uranus’ Atmosphere, Rings and, Moons

Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. It’s an icy gaseous planet, discovered in 1781, mistaken by a comet and finally two years later accepted as a planet. After decades of observations and only one close visit by a spacecraft, Uranus still shared one new fact about its atmosphere. Uranus in visual light. This […]

Mars 2020 rover landing site

After four years of debate, NASA announces Mars 2020 rover landing site. Although today we know Mars as a desolate red planet, it wasn’t always this way. Mars had a molten core that generated a magnetic field for a billion years. The planet once was warm and covered in liquid seas. There’s a chance that […]

NASA announces commercial equipment drops to the moon for 2020

The Moon is the closest celestial body to Earth, and yet we have so little information about it. NASA plans to change this with an ambitious new plan. In addition to studying the Moon itself, the space agency plans to set up the Moon to be an eventual outpost for deep space exploration. Although deep […]

Happy Birthday, NASA!!

In July of 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act into law, which transformed the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) into today’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The nation had been galvanized into action by the surprise launch of Sputnik I on October 4, 1957. With Cold War […]

Integrating STEM Into Your Curriculum

I have been in contact with a number of school districts and STEM Specialists lately that are struggling with the same issues. Teachers are unsure how to add STEM into their already crowded curriculum and teachers are uncomfortable with their current understanding of STEM in relationship to doing science in their classrooms.  There remains a […]

Small Steps to Giant Leaps: Celebrating Apollo 50 Years Later

Apollo 50th Anniversary Logo “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” These are the iconic words spoken from the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969 by Neil Armstrong, almost 50 years ago. From October 2018 through December 2022, NASA will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Program […]

Preparing for Blast Off! NASA STEM EPDC Supports Summer Engineering Camp

As countless educators from around the country plan and organize vacation plans, a group of committed educators from San Marcos C.I.S.D. prepare to engage in a unique summer camp that aims to develop, inspire, and nurture the next generation of aerospace-engineers and mathematicians. Earlier this month, NASA STEM EPDC facilitated an intensive day and a […]

Monitoring Earth Vital Signs

NASA has come to represent generations of excitement about space exploration and rightly so. What is less known about NASA is its unique position to lead the study of our own planet. By making Earth-observation data and resources accessible to the scientific and education communities, NASA contributes to our understanding of important global challenges such […]

A First Step for the Ages: NASA Helps Inspire the Next Generation of Explorers

Nearly 50 years ago, humanity achieved what seemed impossible. Human presence graced the surface of Earth’s moon. At the height of tremendous social, political, and cultural change, the Apollo 11 lunar landing became the first manned mission to land on the moon and a marked a monumental milestone in human history by displaying the possibilities […]

How does NASA repair equipment on Mars?

Mars is 33.9 million miles away from Earth. It takes months to journey between the two planets, which means all mission components have to last. While NASA is using robotic landers and instruments to study Mars before human exploration, robots come with their fair share of problems. On Earth, you can take your broken computer […]

Teachers Positively Affecting Student Learning

Continuous Engagement in NASA STEM EPDC PD can change the culture of the STEM classroom Contributed by Dr. Lester Morales, EPDC Specialist, Kennedy Space Center In the Summer of 2016, 41 Pre-Service Educators attended National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Kennedy Space Center Minority University Research and Education Projects (MUREP) Educator Institute (MEI). The opportunity […]

How Earth Volcanoes Offer a Window into the Evolution of Life and the Solar System

Volcanoes aren’t just on volcanic islands. From the ocean floor to the icy poles of the Earth, volcanoes are an important force of nature. While active volcanoes are incredibly destructive, they’re essential to life on Earth. Volcanoes actually made life on Earth possible in the first place. But Earth isn’t the only celestial body in […]

Cassini’s Grand Finale reveals Saturn’s mysteries

The Cassini spacecraft explored our solar system for 20 years. During this time, the spacecraft took nearly half a million photos. Its mission? To further humanity’s understanding of the Saturn system. Cassini was a mission of firsts. It was the first landing humanity ever accomplished on a moon other than our own. It was the […]

One year in, NASA’s exoplanet-discovering mission has promising results

We learn about the planets and solar system as early as elementary school, but our understanding of the Universe is constantly growing. As much as we don’t know about our own solar system, the Universe holds even more mysteries—light years away from our home here on Earth.  For decades, NASA researchers have looked for exoplanets, […]

Saturn’s Moon, Enceladus, Contains Never-Before-Seen Organic Compounds

At their closest point, the Earth and Saturn are 746 million miles away from each other. Despite the distance, researchers are interested in the possibility of life in the Saturn system.  Thanks to the European Space Administration and the Italian Space Agency, the Cassini probe was able to collect swaths of data on Saturn over […]