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NASA Funds Target 13 K-12 STEM Education Programs

Thirteen K-12 STEM education initiatives will receive an infusion of more than $12 million through NASA's Nspires program.

The grants will be used to develop resources to help "enhance secondary students' academic experiences and improve educators' abilities to engage and stimulate their students" in STEM subjects. All of the proposed programs focus particularly on NASA-themed content.

The programs to be funded incorporate a range of technologies, from online social networking to virtual learning to digital media, including materials focused on teacher professional development. A total of $12.1 million will be awarded to 13 individual projects that have been proposed by non-profit organizations, universities, and education agencies. Funding for individual programs will range from $350,000 to about $1.2 million.

Specific programs to be funded include:

NASA/NC-MSEN Students Preparing to Advance into Careers in Engineering (SPACE). Developed by the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Mathematics and Science Education Network, this program will combine online resources, STEM professional development, and after-school activities to enhance preparation for aerospace-related majors and careers.

New Frontiers: Journeying to Mars with Interactive Technologies. Through a partnership with Polyhedron Learning, the Total Learning Research Institute will develop interactive curriculum materials focused on future NASA missions to Mars. The program will incorporate online social networking activities.

NASA Triad: A Triangulated Program to Promote NASA STEM Education Nationwide. The American Geological Institute will partner with Arizona State University to develop secondary Earth sciences curricula and an online STEM handbook for teachers.

Climate Change High School Teacher Institute. Led by the Chabot Space and Science Center Foundation, CCHSTI is a professional development program that will cover biology, physics, chemistry, geology and environmental and physical sciences, with a particular emphasis on climate change.

Inspiring STEM Educators: The NASA Physics and Engineering Collection on VITAL/Teachers' Domain. WNET.org, the WGBH, and the Education Development Center will create digital media resources and professional development modules focused on engineering, robotics, and rocketry and propulsion systems engineering.

Real-World/In-World NASA Engineering Design Challenge. Proposed by the National Institute Of Aerospace Associates, the Engineering Design Challenge will bring high school students together with university mentors "to solve authentic NASA-inspired, design-based engineering problems using highly engaging, 21st-century technology tools and skills."

The Global Microscope: Integrating NASA Data into Learning and Teaching. Liberty Science Center will develop materials to help train teachers to develop lessons and activities using NASA materials.

Challenger Center Missions for High School. The Challenger Center for Space Science Education, TERC, NASA's Teaching from Space Program, the Lunar Science Institute, the Lunar Quest Program out of the Marshall Space Flight Center, My NASA Data, and NASA's Earth Observatory will partner to create simulations of NASA missions and related online activities.

SEEDS Scholars. The Latino College Preparatory Academy and the National Hispanic University will produce a teacher training program to improve STEM outcomes for "low-income, English learner Hispanic students."

Idaho STEM Aerospace Scholars. The state of Idaho's program will combine virtual and traditional learning to support secondary STEM education and teacher preparation.

Enhancing Earth System Science and Stem Education in High Schools. Guilford County Schools will partner with North Carolina A&T State University to "provide targeted professional development and a research experience" for local STEM teachers.

Investigating Climate Change and Remote Sensing. Developed by the Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency, Eastern Michigan University, the Institute for Geospatial Research and Education, and the Wayne County Mathematics and Science Center, ICCARS will allow students to investigate climate change using sensors and other data sources.

Engaging Teachers and Students in the Rio Grande Valley in Astronomy and Earth and Space Science. This program will train teachers to be knowledgeable in STEM subjects and to help them develop techniques for engaging students.

About the Author

Executive Producer David Nagel heads up the editorial department for 1105 Media's education publications — which include two daily sites, a variety of newsletters and two monthly digital magazines covering technology in both K-12 and higher education.

A 21-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192 or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education). A selection of David Nagel's articles can be found on this site.


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