STEM Instruction

Aerospace, Engineering, and Rocketry Education Initiative Unveiled by NSTA, AIAA, and Estes Rockets

Will Provide Free Lesson Plans, Curriculum Storylines, and Professional Learning Beginning in May

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, model rocket maker Estes Industries, and the National Science Teaching Association today announced a new joint initiative called Exploration Generation to bring aerospace, engineering, and rocketry education to K–12 classrooms nationwide.

Free lesson plans and curriculum guides — and professional learning for educators using the materials — will begin coming online as soon as next month, according to a news release.

“To help educators provide a more collaborative, student-centered learning environment where ideas are accessible and engaging for all students, each lesson plan, called NSTA Daily Dos, and the curriculum storylines, called NSTA Units, are grounded in sense-making,” the organizations said in a news release. “Through this approach, students actively engage in a learning experience to make sense of phenomena in a way that aligns with their natural curiosity.”

ExGen’s content for educators will kick off in May with the release of the first three “Daily Dos” lesson plans for middle school, and the first set of NSTA Units for grades 6–8 are expected to be released in October; professional learning opportunities are also planned to help teachers get the most out of the ExGen instructional materials, the organizations said. All the content will be hosted on the NSTA website.

ExGen is projected to expand next year with instructional resources tailored to elementary and high-school students, as well as supporting professional learning opportunities.

“We are excited about our collaboration with Estes and NSTA to inspire a new space age generation. Our shared commitment to strengthening the aerospace profession is driving us to inspire the future workforce,” said AIAA Executive Director Dan Dumbacher. “We all recognize the need for a diverse and robust STEM next generation who use what they learn today to innovate and invent tomorrow. These new resources will help even more educators join us in shaping the future of aerospace.”

Estes will donate supplies to some participating schools throughout the first year of the initiative and is planning a grant program to help eligible Title I schools purchase the supplies needed for the lessons, according to the news release.

Details on how to apply for grant funds will be announced later this year on the grants page of the Estes Education website, Estes said.

Learn more at,, and at the Estes Education website.

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].