Press Release

NASA, Vanderbilt University’s Dyer Observatory Partner to Provide Summer Fun, Improve Stem Education for Middle School Students

By SpaceRef Editor
June 21, 2012
Filed under , ,

What: NASA and Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory will kick off summer June 21 with events designed to provide local middle school students with summer fun and combat the “slide: in learning than can often happen during the break from the classroom. Media is invited to attend.

Who: Leland Melvin, NASA associate administrator for education and two-time space shuttle astronaut, will participate in hands-on activities from 1:30-3 p.m. with about 40 local 5th- and 6th-graders. Activities include designing and building a shock-absorbing system — using paper, straws and marshmallows — that protects two astronauts when they land and learning how planetary features are discovered through remote-sensing techniques. Melvin, who has logged more than 565 hours in space, is responsible for developing and implementing NASA’s education programs that raise awareness of the agency’s goals and missions and inspire interest in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

A later special event, “The Mighty Sky,” features a presentation by Melvin, with music from an upcoming album of the same name performed by Nashville-based singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman and The Long Players. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. at Dyer Observatory, with preconcert, hands-on educational programming provided by a team from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and Dyer volunteers, beginning at 5 p.m. Dyer’s telescopes will also be open for viewing following the event.

The events are part of NASA’s Summer of Innovation project – the agency’s response to a national need to improve the skills and enhance the engagement of American students in STEM education. This is the second year Dyer Observatory has partnered with NASA and the Marshall Center on the SOI project.

When: Thursday, June 21

Where: Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory
1000 Oman Drive, Brentwood, TN

To attend: News media interested in attending the events should
contact Angela Storey in Marshall’s Public & Employee Communications
Office at 256-544-0034.

SpaceRef staff editor.