STEM | News

NASA Opens Science Challenges for 6-12 Students

NASA has opened two national science competitions, one for students in grades 6 through 9 and one for students in high school. Both challenge students to take on microgravity.

For high school students, the "Dropping In a Microgravity Environment" (DIME) challenge asks teams of students (with an adult advisor) to develop experiments focused on microgravity. Experiments will be carried out in a NASA 2.2-second microgravity drop tower facility. For middle schoolers, the "What If No Gravity?" (WING) challenge also calls on teams of students (and an adult mentor) to develop microgravity experiments, but, for the younger students, the experiments can be less complex.

NASA will accept proposals until Nov. 1. Proposals will be judged by a team of NASA scientists and engineers. Four "Tier I" winners in the DIME competition will be invited to DIME Drop Days at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, where they will construct and carr out their experiments. Four "Tier II" designs will also be selected to be carried out by NASA staff. For the WING competition, NASA will select up to 10 proposals, which will be carried out by NASA staff at the drop facility.

Further information about the competition, including eligibility requirements and necessary forms, can be found here.

In other NASA education news, the agency announced Tuesday that it's selected 1,895 high school students for its INSPIRE program, which is designed to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM disciplines. They were chosen, according to NASA, "based on their academic achievement and demonstrated interest in pursuing a STEM education. The students will have access to an online learning community that allows them to interact with their peers, NASA engineers and scientists. The community also provides appropriate grade-level educational activities, discussion boards and chat rooms to learn about NASA career opportunities. The students may also be selected to participate in 2011 summer workshops or internships at NASA facilities and participating universities."

Further information about INSPIRE can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .