Press Release

St. Louis Science Center Takes Education to the Classroom and Beyond

By SpaceRef Editor
September 8, 2004
Filed under , ,

Field trips are a great supplement to
the classroom, but it is often challenging for educators to tie the experience
to classroom learning. Through the generous support from General Motors (GM)
and Lockheed Martin, the St. Louis Science Center is leading a team developing
space-themed, educational guides to provide teachers with hands-on science
activities that link field trips to classroom learning.

The new materials were developed as a complement to the largest traveling
exhibition ever on tour, SPACE: A Journey to our Future, and were designed to
assist educators in teaching students about space exploration. The St. Louis
Science Center, in cooperation with Maryland Science Center, Pacific Science
Center and the California Science Center, served on an educational committee
along with representatives from GM, NASA and NSTA to create the materials,
which are available for download at .

Carol Valenta, senior vice president, St. Louis Science Center, raves
about the usability of the packets. “With input from many teachers, the end
result was an activity-driven packet, in a simple format, that works well in
the classroom. The learning materials all follow the same format, making it
easy for teachers to use.”

The space guides include hands-on activities as well as directions on how
to conduct experiments. There are explanations telling students what is
happening and answering the all too familiar question, “Why?” If teachers and
students want to explore some more, or find more experiments, they can access
websites provided in the packet for more space adventures.

Including current science events in the packets was a priority of the
Science Center. The packets help teachers explain to students what is going on
now and where space exploration is headed in the future. Information about the
Mars Rovers, fuel cell technology, the ANSARI X PRIZE and how satellite
technology influences every day applications, like OnStar satellite services
in GM automobiles, is contained in the packets.

Students also can learn about different careers in the space field besides
just being an astronaut or an engineer. They see how technical jobs are
equally important in space exploration. This feature, of job exploration, is
fun for all ages, but especially beneficial to older students who are
considering science as a career path.

The space packets travel with the exhibition to future cities for other
museums and educators to utilize. Because of this, the packets were designed
to be very versatile and can be tailored to fit the needs of science museums
that host the SPACE exhibition. Jennifer Boxer, an independent consultant,
helps museums tailor activities to meet their needs. She travels to the museum
and assists with everything from marketing details to demonstration specifics.

When teachers bring a class of students to the exhibition, the students
begin the visit by obtaining a passport with biographical data of an actual
astronaut. Throughout the exhibition they collect stamps at different stops
along the way chronicling events such as meeting Galileo, landing on Mars and
packing for a trip to space.

Students follow some of the most exciting moments in space history leading
up to the exploration of the Moon and a reenactment of a Saturn V launch.
Students are enthralled with a motion-simulated mission to Mars as they
navigate an orbiting space station to a recreation base camp on the surface of
Mars. Activities designed for young learners allow children to go from
inspiration to imagination and design a space station. Learning about
contributions from famous scientists and engineers is also part of the
incredible journey for students.

Taking a class to visit the future of space exploration is a must for
educators. Students watch a riveting film in a high-definition theater at the
tour’s end to see NASA’s future plans.

SPACE is open at the St. Louis Science Center until Nov. 28, 2004. Group
tickets for field trips are just $3.50 per person. For more information about
SPACE visit , call 314/289-4444 or toll-free 800/456-SLSC
for ticket information. Blast off into SPACE for a remarkable journey of

SPACE is made possible by General Motors with additional support from
Lockheed Martin. SPACE is produced by Clear Channel Exhibitions in educational
collaboration with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”), the
National Science Teachers Association (“NSTA”) and the St. Louis Science

SpaceRef staff editor.