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2001 News Releases

Native American Educators Go Back to School at NASA
June 20, 2001

Native American Educators
Teachers work on solar system project
Volunteer and Education Information
       A group of 17 elementary and secondary school teachers from Native American reservations in New Mexico and Arizona are learning about some of NASA's most exciting missions. During a two- week educational workshop ending June 22, teachers from four different school districts are learning how to involve their students in the wonders of space exploration while preserving and celebrating their rich Native American traditions. Participating schools are:

      Wallace Elementary, Parker, Arizona
      Santa Clara Day School, Espaņola, New Mexico
      San Juan Elementary, San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico
      San Felipe Pueblo Elementary, San Felipe, New Mexico


       The workshop, hosted by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., at the JPL Educator Resource Center in Pomona, Calif., brings together two different worlds that view the stars differently. For one, the stars are a source of spiritual guidance, and for the other they are a means to learn more about age-old questions such as "Where did we come from?" and "Are we alone?"

       "Our role is to help these teachers come up with a plan that they can take back to their classroom," said Gene Vosicky, administrator for the JPL Educator Resource Center. "The plan takes into consideration all of their needs. Together, we work to answer questions and figure out ways to incorporate space science and technology into their curriculum."

       The primary goal of the workshop is to develop an action plan that supports standards-based teaching and learning in mathematics, science, technology and geography. Scientists, educators and engineers from JPL serve as guest speakers. Tours of a botanical garden, an observatory and NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., are also part of the workshop.

       The program is part of a NASA Educational Workshop aimed at providing educators with an opportunity to observe NASA's state-of-the-art research and development through direct interaction with NASA scientists, engineers, technicians, and educational specialists at NASA centers. Locally, educators from elementary through college levels receive assistance and resources on America's space program at the NASA/JPL Educator Resource Center. They also see first-hand a model state-of-the-art classroom complete with rotating stations that can be integrated into a science curriculum back in their own classrooms. JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.


Contacts: Rosemary Sullivant (818) 354-0474
JPL Media Relations Office

2001-132

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