Challenge winners from North Tama Elementary in Traer, Iowa, and Madison Elementary in Massena, N.Y., are being inspired to learn more about the space station's cutting-edge research by designing programs to teach others about specific experiments and what scientists are hoping to learn. This pilot program was created by Darcie Fregoe and Lisa Chizek, contributing teachers with NASA's Endeavour Science Teaching Certificate Project. The program is part of the Interdisciplinary National Science Project Incorporating Research and Education Experience (INSPIRE).
"I believe it is my responsibility as a middle school Earth science and astronomy teacher to educate students about the very valuable contributions ISS science has made in their lives," Fregoe said. "I want them to get excited about NASA and the International Space Station, and I want them to start thinking about possible futures working for NASA."
The participants were students in grades 5 through 12. Their mission was to review science investigations performed on the space station and choose one on which to focus. Once they completed their research, students developed and submitted a project to teach others about the investigation. Projects included the development and creation of a Web page, a slide presentation, an audio or video podcast or a written report.
The winners chose investigations to highlight in the areas of Earth and space science, biology and biotechnology, human research, physical science and technology. Investigations included cell culturing, diagnostic ultrasound, robotics, treadmill kinematics, soldering in microgravity, Earth observations, combustion and possible exercise countermeasures for bone and muscle loss.
"The ISS Science Challenge gives students the opportunity to learn about the research happening on the ISS in depth," said Dynae Fullwood, Teaching From Space education specialist at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "It develops the creative, cognitive and presentation skills of students while producing useful material for their peers and the public to understand the work of ISS research."
The program is a collaboration between Teaching From Space, the International Space Station National Laboratory, the International Space Station Program Science Office and INSPIRE.