2010 Fall Meeting          
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Cite abstracts as Author(s) (2010), Title, Abstract xxxxx-xxxx presented at 2010 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 13-17 Dec.

HR: 0845h
AN: ED51B-04
TI: Connecting Teachers and Students with Science Experts: NASA’s Expedition Earth and Beyond Program
AU: *Graff, P V
EM: paige.v.graff@nasa.gov
AU: Stefanov, W L
EM: william.l.stefanov@nasa.gov
AU: Willis, K J
EM: kim.willis-1@nasa.gov
AU: Runco, S
EM: susan.k.runco@nasa.gov
AF: NASA JSC, Houston, TX, USA
AU: McCollum, T
EM: tmccollu@charleston.k12.il.us
AF: Charleston Middle School, Charleston, IL, USA
AU: Baker, M
EM: mbaker@rsu18.org
AF: Messalonskee Middle School, Oakland, ME, USA
AU: Mailhot, M
EM: michele.mailhot@maine.gov
AF: Maine Department of Education, Augusta, ME, USA
AU: Lindgren, C F
EM: cflindgren@comcast.net
AF: Gates Intermediate School, Scituate, MA, USA
AB: Classroom teachers are challenged with engaging and preparing today’s students for the future. Activities are driven by state required skills, education standards, and high stakes testing. How can educators teach required standards and motivate students to not only learn essential skills, but also acquire a sense of intrigue to want to learn more? One way is to allow students to take charge of their learning and conduct student-driven research. NASA’s Expedition Earth and Beyond program, based at the NASA Johnson Space Center, is designed to do just that. The program, developed by both educators and scientists, promotes inquiry-based investigations in classrooms (grades 5-14) by using current NASA data. By combining the expertise of teachers, who understand the everyday challenges of working with students, and scientists, who work with the process of science as they conduct their own research, the result is a realistic and useable means in which to promote authentic research in classrooms. NASA’s Expedition Earth and Beyond Program was created with the understanding that there are three important aspects that enable teachers to implement authentic research experiences in the classroom. These aspects are: 1) Standards-aligned, inquiry based curricular resources and an implementation structure to support student-driven research; 2) Professional development opportunities to learn techniques and strategies to ensure seamless implementation of resources; and 3) Ongoing support. Expedition Earth and Beyond provides all three of these aspects and adds two additional and inspiring motivators. One is the opportunity for student research teams to request new data. Data requested and approved would be acquired by astronauts orbiting Earth on the International Space Station. This aspect is part of the process of science structure and provides a powerful way to excite students. The second, and perhaps more significant motivator, is the creation of connections between science experts and classrooms. Scientists are able to connect with participating classrooms on a variety of different levels, including being a mentor. These powerful connections provide extraordinary opportunities for students to develop the rigor and relevance of their research, along with encouraging them to have a sense of pride in the work they are doing in school. Providing teachers with skills and the confidence to promote authentic research investigations in the classroom will equip them to create science literate students, and by extension, improve the public understanding of science. The opportunity to connect classrooms with science experts creates personal experiences that are engaging, motivating and impactful. These impactful experiences will help prepare today’s students to become the next generation of scientists or perhaps science educators who can help continue these powerful connections for generations to come.
DE: [0805] EDUCATION / Elementary and secondary education
DE: [0830] EDUCATION / Teacher training
DE: [0845] EDUCATION / Instructional tools
DE: [0850] EDUCATION / Geoscience education research
SC: Education and Human Resources (ED)
MN: 2010 Fall Meeting