While patiently waiting for the news on whether SpaceX decides to build its new launch pad at the tip of the Rio Grande Valley, I reflected on the status of this partnership and how the space flight industry in Cameron County would stir a new awareness and passion to its surrounding science and engineering communities of learning. Within this state of reflection, I predicted (with utmost certainty) that SpaceX would eventually find its way down to the border of Texas for obvious economic reasons (both parties involved benefit). When construction does begin, a great deal of interest and excitement would spread and not just directed to space enthusiasts, but to the overall community at large. The effect is a “community collaboration of thought” between the surrounding schools of learning and this dynamic industry. Consequently, a symbiotic relationship would soon develop between the STEM Center of South Texas and SpaceX.
How do I know this?
Because of the latest collaboration between the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and SpaceX. The collaboration clearly and effectively demonstrates how student ideas are put into action! In this partnership between NanoRacks LLC, NCESSE and SpaceX, eleven student microgravity experiments were selected to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the first operational flight of the SpaceX Dragon.
This is exciting news for the STEM Center of South Texas especially when the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) announced an experimental design competition allowing student teams to construct real microgravity experiments and fight for a reserved mini-lab slot on the ISS. Read the NCESSE K-12 education lessons for inquiry based learning and to help you get started on this project.
View video: SSEP Foundational Pedagogy
We’ve Got to be that Light – A Gift to America’s Teachers
Symphony of Science Remix, NSTA Keynote Address,
March 2011, Dr. Jeff Goldstein, NCESSE Director
What an ingenious strategy in motivating the students of South Texas to participate in experimental design!
The STEM Center:
The STEM center of South Texas is based at the Region 1 Educational Service Center and partners with the University of Texas – Pan American. This Center plays a key role in the regional network of businesses, community organizations, and institutions of higher education in the Rio Grande Valley.
Areas of Specialty:
- STEM-focused instructional strategies for English language learners and exceptional children
- Concept-based instruction
- Rigor in assessment and instruction-STAAR
- Project based learning curriculum development
Are you interested in Experimental Design? Then I encourage you to…
Take your Experiment to Space!
Read about the Student Space Flight Experiments Program and get started now. The SSEP (Student Space Flight Experiments Program) is a new U.S. National STEM Initiative for Grades 5-16 . This initiative is targeted to inspire the next generation of America’s scientists and engineers! Deadline for submission: September 12, 2012
South Texas Science and Learning Communities –
Get Involved NOW!
The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education announced a historic Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) opportunity on the International Space Station (ISS). Each participating community will be provided all launch services to fly a real microgravity research mini-laboratory on ISS from early April to mid-May, 2013, and a kit for assembly of their mini-lab. The community’s experiment design competition allows student teams to design real microgravity experiments vying for their community’s reserved mini-lab slot on ISS!
In this video, NASA Public Affairs Office commentator Pat Ryan talks with Dr. Tara Ruttley, ISS Associate Program Scientist, about the science payload carried in the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, the impact of commercial cargo ships on science activities and the ISS Research & Development Conference in June.
**HINT – When designing experiments, review the experiments that were selected to help guide you in the process as well as help you form some creative questions regarding space research!
Mission 3 participation is open to the following five categories of communities:
- Pre-College (the core focus for SSEP) in the U.S., (grades 5-12), with a participating school district—even an individual school—providing a stunning, real, on-orbit RESEARCH opportunity to their upper elementary, middle, and high school students
- 2-Year Community Colleges in the U.S., (grades 13-14), where the student body is typically from the local community, providing wonderful pathways for community-wide engagement
- 4-Year Colleges and Universities in the U.S., (grades 13-16), with an emphasis on Minority-Serving Institutions, where the program fosters interdisciplinary collaboration across schools and departments, and an opportunity for formal workforce development for science majors!
- Communities in the U.S. led by Informal Education or Out-of-School Organizations, (e.g., a museum or science center, a homeschool network, a boy scout troop), because high caliber STEM education programs must be accessible to organizations that promote effective learning beyond the traditional classroom
- Communities Internationally: in European Space Agency (ESA) member nations, European Union (EU) member nations, Canada, and Japan, with participation through NCESSE’s Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education. Communities in other nations should explore the potential for their participation by contacting the Institute
Time Available for Experiment Design: Your Student Teams, together with their Teacher Facilitators, will have at least 8 weeks (September 17 to November 9, 2012) to: begin the program in classrooms across your community, design experiments, and write and submit 5-page proposals, with proposals due by November 9, 2012.
TIME CRITICAL ~ Letters of Commitment from Participating Communities: due September 12, 2012
***Get a step up on your thinking process***
LEARN MORE at The Flight Experiment Design Competition Website!