I believe at some point in everyone’s life, a person stops and thinks about space, the infinite frontier. What else is out there? What is it like to be in zero gravity? There are so many questions that have been answered and so many that are still being researched.
With efforts to use the excitement of space exploration to get students interested in and involved with science, technology, engineering and mathematics, NASA has made a national effort to reach out to as many schools as they can and give students a hands on look at what working with them is like.
In this week’s video blog, we take a look at what leaders in Oklahoma are doing to help promote and educate people about the importance of STEM education.
On the Horizon: Space Day from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
On a recent trip to Southeast Oklahoma, I met a group of students who really impressed me. They were all valedictorians at their home schools and taking a pre-engineering course at Kiamichi Tech Center in Idabel.
Now a lot of people think that going to a tech center means you aren’t planning on going to college, but that just isn’t the case. Many students are taking courses at local tech centers to prepare them to go to college. In the pre-engineering course, the instructor talked about how he had a student who had gone through his class and then went to college only to find out that one of the books they had used while in high school, was the same book that was being used in his college class. The only difference…when he went through it at the tech center, they went ALL the way through the book and at college they only did a portion of it. So he actually got more academic training at Kiamichi Tech than he did in his college class.
When I asked each of the students why they took the pre-engineering class at Kiamichi Tech, every single one of them said, “Because it’s more challenging.” They were wanting an education that challenged them and the basic high school classes just weren’t enough. There was even one student who before taking the class was very introverted and wouldn’t talk to anyone and just kept to himself. But after going through the pre-engineering class, he became very outgoing and animated when talking about what he was learning. I guess his classmates were more on his level and could understand him. It’s really nice to see high school students excited about learning.
In this week’s video blog, meet the students from Kiamichi Tech Center’s pre-engineering class and see what makes these kids want to learn more.
On the Horizon: It’s Hard and That’s a Good Thing! from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.
A few months ago I was invited to travel with some teachers from Oklahoma down to the NASA Johnson Space Center. Since I had never been there before, I was excited to go even though it meant giving up a weekend, I didn’t care. And I wasn’t disappointed.
The teachers were going as part of the Oklahoma NASA Space Grant Consortium’s Mission to Planet Earth training that happens each summer. It’s an eleven day intense training to enable teachers to teach the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math) in their every day classrooms. As part of that training, the teachers go to NASA Johnson Space Center to see how NASA does STEM. The teachers love it!
I wish that some of my teachers would have had the same opportunity when I was in school. Who knows, I may have gone into a different field of work. I’m not the greatest at math and only a little better at science but if I’d had hands-on training like these teachers are now doing, I may have understood it better and enjoyed it enough to maybe have made a career in one of the sciences. But while I may not be in a STEM field I can certainly showcase it.
In this week’s video blog, see how NASA is training teachers in the attempt to create a new NASA workforce.