JPL's Education Office helps connect the dots between classroom studies and careers at JPL and NASA.


NARRATOR: There are many ways for kids all over the Earth to explore space and technology. One way is touring a place like NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA field trips help students connect the dots between the math and science they learn in school and real world applications.

"This is a half scale model of the Cassini spacecraft."

DAVID SEIDEL:The agency is committed to sharing what we know and what we do with as many people as possible. And the agency is also making an investment in its own future by getting kids excited about science and engineering and mathematics and some of them are going to come work here and help us explore the solar system.

NARRATOR: NASA's Explorer Schools across the United States bring the field trip experience into the classroom.

DAVID SEIDEL: The kids are naturally excited about space and exploration. So are their parents. We want to make sure that we provide them with information and educational opportunities that help reinforce that enthusiasm.

NARRATOR: NASA funds about 150 "adopted" schools. Many Explorer schools are in low income areas.

Kathy Cooper, Teacher A lot of these children do not have access to internets at home. They do not have access to a lot of materials. The program includes interaction between NASA scientists and engineers with teachers and kids.

Avid, 4th Grade When you grow up, you know all about the planets and you want to be a scientist like at JPL or some other places.

Kathy Cooper, Teacher Oh the payback tremendous. I have seen kids go to highly gifted magnets into advanced studies placement programs that otherwise would've never applied.

NARRATOR: Over the summer, new Explorer teachers from across the country spend a week at JPL to learn skills like programming robotics.

Jennifer Parker, Teacher Bringing this stuff into the classroom it just opens a whole new world.

Margie Lincoln, Principal I think for my students, it…it increases their possibilities. It increases their opportunities. It increases their awareness.

NARRATOR: And teachers hope this will inspire their kids to dream big.

Allan Miller, TeacherEspecially in Alaska, we're pretty far removed. I live in the Kenai peninsula. We're a fishing community. And for a lot of the kids their big vision is, I'm going to grow up and be a fishermen, which is great but there are also kids who can look far beyond that and say, I'm going to shoot for the stars. And, ladies and gentlemen, the system and operation is yours.

NARRATOR: JPL encourages kids to reach for the stars with many fun and educational programs. A few examples: NASA's Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope. It brings hands-on radio astronomy to the classroom. Imagine Mars students work with scientists, engineers, artists, and civic leaders to design a futuristic Mars community. And Reading Writing and Rings blends the Cassini mission with language arts.

DAVID SEIDEL:For NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, there…there's no question of the importance of education in America, both as a nation and for the kids and the parents and teachers themselves. For JPL and for NASA we’re interested in having these kids come and become the future work force.

NARRATOR: It's an investment in the future…. Not to mention fun!
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