Press Release

NASA and Partners Join Forces to Inspire Students

By SpaceRef Editor
November 9, 2005
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NASA has partnered with motion picture makers Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc., Culver City, Calif., and Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, to engage students in science and mathematics.

The goal of the partnership is to create resources for educators that spark student imagination, encourage interest in space exploration, and enhance the elementary science curriculum. Schools will benefit from educational materials that tie into science concepts featured in the book and movie “Zathura.”

The movie premise keeps kids on the edges of their seats and gets them thinking about science and technology. When students see things like comets and meteors in an exciting space adventure, the opportunity is open to introduce them to the science behind them.

Working with Scholastic Magazine, New York, the partnership developed “Space Science: Adventure Is Waiting.” This dynamic education program will build student skills in science and language arts. The educational material uses fantasy concepts from “Zathura” as a way to explain real science. The material includes posters and classroom activities.

Students also have chances to win prizes, such as a trip to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The free educational materials are being provided in NASA educator resource centers, bookstores and movie theaters. They are also available for download from each of the partners’ Web sites.

“Zathura” is a story by Chris Van Allsburg. A New York Times Bestseller in 2003, it uses a board game concept to send a pair of children on an outer-space adventure. The movie opens in theaters Friday.

On Nov. 16, The Houghton Mifflin Company, publisher of educational, children’s and adult books, and NASA will give students a unique behind-the-scenes look at the story of “Zathura.” They will connect Van Allsburg and NASA scientist Jennifer Keyes to classrooms through educational webcasts.

The pair will make interactive presentations via NASA’s Digital Learning Network with Explorer Schools in California, Alaska, Mississippi, Virginia, Texas, Florida and Idaho. The presentations also will be webcast.

“Zathura” is a fictional story about children who find themselves on an outer space adventure. The partners’ message is that students who pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics could live their own future outer-space adventure.

For more information about NASA’s Education programs on the Web, visit:

For more information about NASA’s Digital Learning Network Web, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.