Behind the Scenes at NASA: A Unique Educator Workshop

April 23, 2020, 9:48 am | Sara Nelson

educators at NASA.AMES, Iowa – When NASA offers a mission, Iowa educators accept the challenge. That’s why Iowa educators traveled to Kennedy Space Center in early March to immerse themselves into space exploration.

“Our mission was to bring back exciting, space-focused lessons, activities, and more to our classrooms and colleagues,” said Sara Nelson, Iowa 4-H STEM program specialist.

Nelson, along with Pete Evans and Nate Weber, represented Iowa State University Extension and Outreach at the workshop. The experience was sponsored by the Iowa Space Grant Consortium and brought together 17 educators from Iowa State, Drake University, University of Northern Iowa and multiple Iowa school districts.
Under the direction of NASA educators, the group learned more about the Artemis space flight mission and the vision to send humans back to the moon and off to Mars. In addition, the group toured the Kennedy Space Center and learned about the Commercial Crew Program.  

Nelson shared how the experience allowed the educators to see first-hand the work being done at NASA.  

“It was such a motivating and amazing experience for all of us! We were able to learn about research being conducted, see launch facilities up close and interact with scientists from around the world,” Nelson said.

The group now plans to use their first-hand experiences to design engaging learning opportunities.  

Since 1990, the Iowa Space Grant Consortium has been part of NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. The ISGC continually strives to improve and inspire Iowa’s future in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math.

The experience has already inspired the creation of the Iowa 4-H and Iowa Space Grant Consortium STEAM Academy. The STEAM Academy offers weekly online challenges for youth in grades 4-12 to complete at home.


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