Education and Outreach: December 2010

From July 21-August 1, 2010, five K-12 and informal educators joined scientists from the Arizona State University (ASU) and Montana State University (MSU) teams of the NASA Astrobiology Institute for a two week field experience as part of the ASU Astrobiology Virtual Field Trip (VFT) initiative. To address the need for better teacher preparation in STEM education, these teachers worked directly with scientists studying the thermal environments at Yellowstone National Park. They experienced the thrill of doing authentic field research in a breathtaking setting! These educators are an integral part of the VFT project and will provide valuable input on the design of the Web interface, its functionality in a classroom setting and related K-12 curriculum materials. Their collaboration with the ASU Astrobiology team will continue through Spring 2011 as the virtual field trip takes shape. [Source: NAI Newsletter]

This summer, NAI's team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) hosted the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp in Astrobiology. The camp is a free, academic program of The Harris Foundation, named for Bernard A. Harris, MD, an accomplished NASA astronaut, physician, and entrepreneur, and the first African American to walk in space.

The theme of this year's camp, held from June 12-25th, was The Quest for Life, and 50 middle school students participated. During the two exciting weeks, students went on several field trips to Albany Pine Bush, Howe Caverns, Rocky Hill Dinosaur Park, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Students also took many classes such as the Mars Student Imaging Project, and completed a Field Trip to the Moon. The main activity for the students was to propose a mission to search for life on either Mars, Europa, or Titan. [Source: NAI Newsletter]