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 transdisciplinary professional development sessions for STEM classrooms that incorporate NASA Education resources, best practices for teaching in culturally responsive classrooms, and focus on the concepts surrounding microgravity.

A NASA Unique Experience

Sixty educators were selected for this first of three years’ experience using the Precision Air Bearing Floor and Partial Gravity Simulator in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at NASA JSC.  These facilities exist for the purpose of training Astronauts in preparation for human exploration.  They were each assigned a NASA Mentor and were required to participate in pre-institute activities to prepare for their on-site experience.  They connected with their students during their experience to include student ideas for redesigns on-site.  Educators were also required to develop an outreach plan for implementation upon returning to their home school districts.

The team of educators from North Carolina shared their device design through a video on Facebook found here: https://www.facebook.com/investcollegiateimagine/videos/1513183345382128/

Students Share the MgUE Experience

One educator group shared a video from their students showing the impact of their entire school’s involvement in the project.

Having Fun While Learning

The Opportunity Continues

“MgUE is funded by NASA’s STEM Education and Accountability Projects until 2019. Interested educator teams should email questions about future iterations to the Johnson EPD Team at JSC-EPD@mail.nasa.gov.  They can learn more about eligibility and criteria for experiments at http://go.nasa.gov/NASAMgUE, and/or follow the educators participating in MgUE on social media using the hashtag #NASAMgUE.  Related classroom materials on microgravity are available at https://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/microgravity/home/index.html.”  (Credit: NASA JSC EPD Annual Report)

Brandon M. Hargis
Educator Professional Development Specialist, NASA STEM EPDC
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center