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NASA Down to Earth

endeavorNot all of NASA’s myriad missions are geared toward exploring and understanding space. Some are much closer to home. The space agency has, for instance, a long tradition of involvement in STEM education. One of those programs, the NASA Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate Project, was recently profiled in Kansas’s Shawnee Dispatch.

Each year, the project awards 40 fellowships to science teachers with the aim of turning them into “highly qualified” teachers of science. The Dispatch article focused on Susan Hallstrom, a science teacher at the Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, a recent recipient who began her fellowship in January.

The program offers workshops, online and on-site graduate courses, and materials the fellows can use back in their classroom. Each fellow is assigned a NASA mentor, and the focus is on new teaching methods and research. After 18 months, the fellows receive a specialist in science degree from Columbia University. “The nature of science is that it is continually changing, and we haven’t changed rapidly enough in education,” Hallstrom tells the Dispatch. “Science is changing so fast and furious right now, we need to change our methods. We’re looking at the latest and greatest research.”

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