NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

How are America's teachers spending their summer? Forty-two educators are going back to school at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., equipping themselves with new methods and tools to teach other teachers, who in turn will teach and interest their students in science and space exploration.

These educators from across the country include 22 who were recently selected as Solar System Educator Fellows. They are taking part in the Solar System Educator Program Institute, sponsored by JPL, from August 2 through 5. The newly selected educators are joining 20 previously selected educators at the institute.

The four-day institute will provide educators with the tools to inspire and excite young students in grades K-12. The educators will learn techniques for training an additional 100 teachers in their state on how to use and incorporate current space missions data into their curriculum to help kids learn about math and science. The goal is to make science a fun and fascinating topic for educators and students.

Solar System Educators are comprised of current K-12 educators and others from the informal education community (museums, science centers, planetariums, etc.) with a strong background in teaching science or math and experience in teacher training. These educators travel cross-country for the opportunity to learn new techniques to engage other educators and students in the wonders of scientific inquiry. Some of the educators work with sight-impaired and handicapped children and with underrepresented minorities. So far this year, 77 educators have taken part in the Solar System Educator Program.

Space Explorers, Inc., DePere, Wisconsin, and the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Hampton, Virginia, manage the Solar System Educators Institute program for JPL. NASA/JPL missions participating in the institute include the Cassini mission to Saturn, the Stardust and Deep Impact comet missions, the Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration Program, the Outer Planets/Solar Probe Program and the Deep Space Network of ground- based antennas that communicate with spacecraft.

The Solar System Educators Program is an element of NASA's Office of Space Science Education and Public Outreach Program, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

News Media Contact

Gabrielle Birchak-Birkman, JPL (818) 393-4359