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NASA's explorer school and spaceward bound programs: Insights into two education programs designed to heighten public support for space science initiatives

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Abstract

Introduction: NASA has played an influential role in bringing the enthusiasm of space science to schools across the United States since the 1980s. The evolution of this public outreach has led to a variety of NASA funded education programs designed to promote student interest in science, technology, engineering, math, and geography (STEM-G) careers. Purpose: This paper investigates the educational outreach initiatives, structure, and impact of two of NASA's largest educational programs: the NASA Explorer School (NES) and NASA Spaceward Bound programs. Methods: The investigation further provides a detailed overview of the structure of these two NASA education outreach programs, while providing information regarding selection criteria and program developments over time. Results: Since its induction in 2003 the NES program has networked and provided resources to over 300 schools across the United States. Future directions include further development of mentor schools for each new NES school selected, while also developing a longitudinal student tracking system for NES students to monitor their future involvement in STEM-G careers. The Spaceward Bound program, now in its third year of teacher outreach, is looking to further expand its teacher network and scientific collaboration efforts, while building on its teacher mentorship framework.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Conference Paper
Publication Subtype:
Conference Paper
Title:
NASA's explorer school and spaceward bound programs: Insights into two education programs designed to heighten public support for space science initiatives
ISBN:
9781615671601
Volume
13
Year Published:
2008
Language:
English
First page:
8497
Last page:
8509
Number of Pages:
13
Conference Title:
59th International Astronautical Congress 2008, IAC 2008
Conference Location:
Glasgow
Conference Date:
29 September 2008 through 3 October 2008