Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Bringing Space-Based Research to the Classroom

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Bringing Space-Based Research to the Classroom

Article excerpt

In the United States, a new Space Age heralds the promise of more economic and educational opportunities. From living and working in low Earth orbit to establishing a lunar base or launching a manned mission to Mars, these ambitions require skilled citizens who can make the aspirational achievable, who can show the world that America has the resources - and AfricanAmericans and other minorities have the means - to accomplish projects that demand the best of our teachers and students.

This latest chapter in the exploration of the heavens involves a series of projects already underway, from experiments aboard the International Space Station to engagement among schools throughout the U.S. This is a time of great freedom - call it the democratization of space-based research - in which even children can send their concepts for space testing. This is a time for action, where the U.S. can expand its lead in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by making these disciplines more inclusive to minorities.

Indeed, STEM is critical to the success of our schools. It is the competitive advantage that makes our colleges and universities world-class institutions, a collection that includes Harvard, Howard, Yale, Morehouse, Princeton, Rice and Stanford, among many others.

Among primary and secondary schools, U.S. instructors need a customized curriculum that can prepare today's students for the challenges of tomorrow. That curriculum must also be interactive and user-friendly.

The best way to realize these goals, and the most effective means of attracting the attention of students who otherwise do not excel in these subjects, is through the wonders of space - the domain of science fiction (and scientific fact), where authors and filmmakers describe an environment of mystery and seemingly magical possibilities.

That world never ceases to captivate a generation with a passion for the unknown.

By making this topic accessible to schoolchildren across the U.S. and Canada, by launching over 375 experiments, by investing students and teachers in the outcome of these respective projects, by giving these groups the chance to see a rocket carry their individual payloads into space, by creating the most popular science club of its kind - by doing all of these things, and by doing them with a sense of community and collaboration, we bring the Space Age to the digital age and create the workforce to propel it forward. …

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