Sharing the Adventure with the Student: Exploring the Intersections of NASA Space Science and Education: A Workshop
Study Statement of Task
An ad hoc committee will plan and conduct a workshop to discuss maximizing the effectiveness of the transfer of knowledge from the scientists supported by NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) to K-12 students directly and to teachers and informal educators. In addition, the connection between these SMD efforts and the implementation of the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (CoSTEM) STEM Education Strategic Plan will be discussed.
The workshop will focus not only on the effectiveness of recent models for transferring science content and scientific practices to students, but will also serve as a venue for dialogue between education specialists, education staff from NASA and other agencies, space scientists and engineers, and science content generators. Workshop participants will review case studies of scientists or engineers who were able to successfully translate their research results and research experiences into formal and informal student science learning, including measureable improvements to student achievement and other valued outcomes listed below. These may include a variety of outcomes, from awareness to conceptual understanding, from understanding discovery to the nature of the scientific enterprise, and from the joy of learning to authentic involvement with actual scientists. Education specialists (e.g., state science supervisors, teacher education departments, professional development providers, informal science institutions/organizations, such as planetariums, after-school STEM education providers, state STEM education networks, and education researchers) will share how the science can be translated to education materials and directly to students, and teachers will share their experiences of space science in their classrooms.
Amongst the things the committee will consider in assembling the workshop are issues such as:
- Where is the intersection between what NASA space science can provide for education (as part of the CoSTEM STEM Education Strategic Plan) and what education providers want and need from the NASA science community? What can NASA do to better understand educators’ and education providers’ needs?
- How can scientists, engineers, and education providers work together to improve the science education of school-aged students? What are the common goals? How are the goals of educators and NASA scientists different? How can these differences be bridged?
- How is it determined if a program has been successful? Do scientists and education experts agree on what constitutes success? How well does SMD’s process of development, trial, evaluation, and performance measurement support an “evidence-based” approach?
- What are institutional arrangements that provide effective platforms for successful cooperation or collaborations? What are the barriers, if any, to meeting the common goals?
- What are existing examples of successful NASA SMD education efforts?
- How can NASA work with/lead other agencies to have its successful education efforts reach a wider audience? How can this work be targeted towards students who may need it most?
- How should success of NASA education efforts be defined and measured? How can NASA determine whether its education efforts are having a measurable long-term effect on student achievement and involvement in science?
- The workshop will feature invited presentations and discussions that encourage broad audience participation. The committee will select and invite speakers and discussants and moderate the discussions. An individually authored summary of the presentations and discussions at the workshop will be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional guidelines.