Want to dazzle students or teachers with a demo about space exploration? NASA has a small team of aerospace education specialists who travel to schools, museums, universities and public events to teach concepts in math, science and engineering. These educators have backgrounds in teaching and cover different geographical regions of the U.S.
Sandra Kaszynski, JPL's road warrior, taught elementary education for 10 years in Orange County, Calif., and co-managed an afterschool science program that served about 200 students per session. Now her days are much calmer. She drives long distances to arrive at unfamiliar schools, lugs awkward props, improvises in front of small crowds if there is a technical glitch and overall thoroughly enjoys herself.
Sandra visits schools and other facilities that are in the greater Los Angeles area.
A Typical Teacher Workshop
Most of Sandra's visits are geared to teacher workshops. The topics she covers run the gamut from mission-related events to demonstrating a Mars mission educational game to running a lunar certification class. Workshop leaders may request topics they would like to have presented.
No special equipment is required for a visit.
A Classroom Visit
Although Sandra's main mission is to provide staff development for teachers, she is also available to make presentations to students. Since she tries to visit an entire grade level, her visit usually takes the whole day, and in some cases two days. Due to the bell schedule at schools, you can expect three classes to get a visit in a single day. Please note, she does not participate in school assemblies.
Schools may suggest topics they would like covered in a presentation. Sandra can also give suggestions. One of her favorite activities is comparing images from Mars to those of Earth to discuss similar and not-so-similar terrain.
Visits are not limited to schools alone. Sandra visits museums, universities and even science fairs.
Book a Visit
You can request a visit through this online form: http://aesp.psu.edu/svc/req/NewRequest.cfm .
Please allow one month between the time you make your request and the event itself. More information about NASA's aerospace education program can be found on their Web site at http://aesp.psu.edu/ .