Press Release

NASA Workshop Attracts Educators From Across United States

By SpaceRef Editor
July 11, 2008
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NASA Workshop Attracts Educators From Across United States

NASA’s Langley Research Center hosted its fourth annual MY NASA DATA workshop June 22 to 27 attracting 21 educators from regions across America.

Kathy Doerner, a sixth-grade science teacher at Gildersleeve Middle School in Newport News, selected the workshop for professional development because the training included using real data collected by NASA satellites, weather balloons and other sources.

The MY NASA DATA (MND) program offered educators in math and science relevant tools for teaching that are both standards based and challenging for students. This year’s workshop goals allowed teachers to access and explore NASA Earth system science data and develop lesson plans to share these data with their students.

“In the sixth grade, we cover weather and climate, watersheds, energy, matter and the solar system,” Doerner says. “The topics covered at the workshop are directly related to the material in our curriculum.”

Even more important to Doerner is that students are very receptive to lessons applying directly to their world.

“Having attended this workshop, I can now go back and teach my students how to access and manipulate the data,” Doerner says. “Then, students can make their own assessments of the current state of our planet. The next thing I tell them is ‘what happens to Earth in the future is up to you.'”

“There is an educationally effective blend of content lectures, tours, directed practice, and self-guided exploration of the technology,” says Susan Moore, a member of the MND team. “Enthusiastic about their profession, our team of teachers have developed networking opportunities and lesson collaborations among one another.”

The importance of scientific inquiry and reflection to advancing student knowledge was a common thread in this year’s discussion. These processes are important skills in scientific studies and are not techniques children learn from a textbook. Scientific inquiry and reflection motivate students to think on deeper levels.

Lin Chambers, an atmospheric scientist at NASA Langley who developed the MY NASA DATA program, is pleased with the growth and progress she sees in the program.

“Being the fourth workshop, we have definitely learned from past experience,” Chamber says. “We can provide a quality experience for our teacher participants.”

In addition to the weeklong summer program, daylong MND professional development workshops are available to Hampton Roads school districts.

To find out more about MY NASA DATA and workshop availability, go to:

http://mynasadata.larc.nasa.gov/

SpaceRef staff editor.