Archive for the ‘Informal Education’ Category

Student Spaceflight Experiments Program

The Florida Space Grant Consortium partially sponsors Florida schools or school boards participating in the Student Space Flight Experiments Program.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) was launched in June 2010 by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in strategic partnership with NanoRacks, LLC. It is a remarkable U.S. national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education initiative that gives typically 300+ students across a participating community the ability to design and propose real experiments to fly in low Earth orbit, first aboard the final flights of the Space Shuttle, and then on the International Space Station.

The program provides seamless integration across STEM disciplines through an authentic, high visibility research experience—an approach that embraces the Next Generation Science Standards. SSEP immerses hundreds of students at the local level in every facet of real research—students are truly given the ability to be real scientists and engineers.

2013-14 SSEP

Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) are one of 15 communities participating in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 5 to the International Space Station (ISS). The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) was launched in June 2010 by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education in strategic partnership with NanoRacks, LLC. It is a remarkable U.S. national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education initiative that gives typically 300+ students across a community – upper elementary, middle, or high school students (grades 5-12), or undergraduates at 2-year or 4-year colleges and universities (grades 13-16) – the ability to design and propose real microgravity experiments to fly in low Earth orbit, first aboard the final flights of the Space Shuttle, and then on the International Space Station (ISS)—America’s newest national laboratory.

825 5th grade students were involved in real microgravity experiment design and proposal writing. A total of 221 proposals were submitted by the students. 3 finalists were chosen and their proposals were submitted to SSEP. The experiment selected for flight was submitted by 3 students from FishHawk Creek Elementary titled “How many seeds will germinate in microgravity vs. on Earth?” In addition, for their Mission Patch Art and Design Competitions (one at grades K-2 and another at 3-5) 652 patch designs were received, one chosen to fly with experiment from each of the two patch competitions.

How many seeds will germinate in microgravity vs. on Earth?
Grade 5, FishHawk Creek Elementary, Hillsborough County Public Schools
Co-Principal Investigators: Miranda Corbo, Srinidhi Raghavan, and Isabelle Utsler
Teacher Facilitator: Mary Vaughn, Teacher

hillsborough student image

Isabelle, Srinidhi, and Miranda preparing lettuce seeds to test protocols for assessing the effects of microgravity on germination.

Proposal Summary:
We propose to answer the question: How many seeds will germinate in microgravity vs. on Earth? Our team is looking for the frequency of seed germination in space. The purpose of this investigation is to see if lettuce will successfully grow in space providing a nutritious vegetable for our future astronauts. Since lettuce grows very quickly, with the right conditions, we feel this would be a good source of nutrition for the astronauts.

It is important to study how seeds grow in space as it will help the astronauts in many ways. This will decrease the amount of food the astronauts will need to bring on a mission therefore decreasing fuel costs. When astronauts go for longer missions sending up food is not an option as it will require too much additional mass on the rocket. If astronauts are able to grow their own food there would be a fresh food source keeping our astronauts healthy when they travel for longer missions. Also, if a mission is delayed astronauts will not have to worry about running out of food.

Seed Germination in Space
Grade 5, Reddick Elementary, Hillsborough County Public Schools
Co-Principal Investigators: Monique Aguilar and Brigid Chavez
Teacher Facilitator: Dariby Hynum, Teacher

Proposal Summary:
We are going to see if a tomato seed grows faster in space (no gravity) or on Earth (gravity). We think we should use tomato seeds because many kids around the United States have experimented with tomato seeds in the SEEDS in Space program. Kids from elementary schools, high schools, and colleges were given seeds stored in space and seeds that never left the Earth. Students designed their own experiments and participated in testing their own hypothesis, making their own data. Those experiments never germinated tomato seeds in space. We think that germinating tomato seeds will be a good idea because we think tomato seeds will grow faster on Earth than other fruits and veggies. We think that tomatoes could germinate faster in space too. It would be important to know the speed of germination so when astronauts need to grow food, they will know how long it will take.

If we take a nail and put it in a mixture of mineral oil, vegetable oil, vinegar, and water in a test tube and send it into space, will the nail rust like it does on earth?
Grade 5, Kingswood Elementary, Hillsborough County Pubic Schools
Co-Principal Investigators: Joanne Abadie, Jayla Dean, and Abdiel Rosario
Teacher Facilitator: Mr. Scott Coonfare, Teacher

Proposal Summary:
Our project asks the question, “To rust or not to rust?” We wonder if a nail will rust if we put it in mineral oil, vegetable oil, vinegar, and water. Will the same experiment sent into space have the same results as here on Earth? We are curious to see if the nail rusts if we take one (1) nail and place it in one (1) test tube with 1.5ml of mineral oil, 1.5ml of vegetable oil, 1.5ml of vinegar, and 1.5ml of water. When we do the experiment on Earth will the solution make the nail rust? When the experiment is done in space, will the nail rust if the same amount of solution is used? To rust or not to rust, that is the question to be answered.

2010 SSEP

FSGC supported grade 8 students from Crystal Lake Middle School in Broward county. The students from the school submitted 3 proposals for consideration. The selection committee selected the project Apples in Space. The selected team consists of 3 students and one teacher. For the experiment, the students allowed two apple seeds to germinate, one on the shuttle and one on earth in controlled conditions. After the germination process and both seeds are back on earth, they were planted. They were grown in the exact same conditions with the same water intake and sunlight. Their growth will be closely recorded and compared. After they have grown a reasonable amount of time, their height will be compared, as well as their pH levels.

NASA-FSGC Engineering Academies

This program has been inactivated


The Math, Science, and Astronomy Summer Camp

The Math, Science and Astronomy Summer Camp  is a partnership of NASA Florida Grant Consortium, Santa Fe College and The UF Department of Astronomy. This camp is dedicated to providing enriching opportunities in mathematics, engineering, science, and astronomy for underrepresented and minority students from middle schools in Alachua County. The camp also includes a life skills component that introduces students to life skills in preparation for college and or transition into the work world and training in computer applications. Other training areas include problem solving, teamwork, collaboration skills, building a sense of community and leadership development

In 2011, the camp was held from June 13-18, 2011.  This  week-long camp was designed to introduce middle school youth in East Gainesville to the importance of Math, Science, Astronomy and Life Skills in their daily lives. It was also designed to increase their interest and begin to pave the way to careers in these fields of study. These sessions  provided many opportunities for students to learn by participating in interactive sessions, hands on activities and exciting projects. Some of the projects and activities included

In 2012, the camp was held from June 18-24, 2012. 35 middle school students were enrolled in the camp.  The purpose of the project was to provide a one-week summer camp for students in grades 6-8 with opportunities to learn mathematics, science and astronomy with hands-on activities. Students participated in regular classroom instruction, mentoring, hands-on interactive activities, field trips and took advantage of educational materials and resources provided by Santa Fe College, East Gainesville Instructive Program, The university of Florida, Eastside Highs School and other local community based partners. A life skills component was also integrated into the program. Materials used for the life skills program were provided by the ARISE life skills curriculum for middle school youth. The overall goal was to increase minority representation in the math and sciences, enhance life skills and help pave the way to careers in math, science and astronomy or other related fields.  Approximately 95%of the students were African-American.

Stardate Radio

The Florida Space Grant Consortium sponsors the Stardate radio broadcast at 10 radio stations in Brandenton, Dade City, Gainesville, Leesburg, Marianna, Miami, Orlando, Palatka, Panama City, and Tampa. The broadcasts are once daily for 5 days a week. In some cities the broadcasts are daily (every day and every week).

StarDate radio is the longest-running science feature in the country celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1997. StarDate began as a telephone message service and soon went on the air in Austin as a daily radio program, originally titled “Have You Seen the Stars Tonight?” With a new name and a grant from the National Science Foundation, the series began national distribution in 1978. Each month, StarDate offers a balance of astronomy and space-science topics. About half of each month’s programs are related to skywatching: eclipses, meteor showers, planetary conjunctions, stars and constellations, and so on.

Other topics are related to important anniversaries (the birthdays of important astronomers or anniversaries of key scientific discoveries or space-exploration accomplishments); recent discoveries in astronomy, astrophysics, and physics; Earth’s place in the cosmos; and a variety of topics that may be related only peripherally to the core subject of astronomy, but that help place astronomy in a broader historical, scientific, and cultural perspective.

Stardate Affiliates in Florida
City and State Station/Frequency Air Time(s)
Dade City, FL WDCF AM 1350 Mon – Sun 9:00AM
Gainesville, FL FIT Mon – Fri 6:29PM
Inverness, FL WJUF FM 90.1 Mon – Fri 6:29PM
Key West, FL WKIZ AM 1500 Mon – Sun 7:00AM
Mon – Sun 8:00AM
Mon – Sun 9:00AM
Mon – Sun 10:00AM
Mon – Sun 12:00PM
Mon – Sun 2:00PM
Mon – Sun 5:00PM
Mon – Sun 6:00PM
Mon – Sun 9:00PM
Mon – Sun 10:00PM
Leesburg, FL WLBE AM 790 Mon – Fri 12:15 PM
Marianna, FL WTYS FM 94.1 Mon – Sun 6:30AM
Orlando, FL WMFE FM 90.7 Mon – Thu 6:58PM
Fri 7:58PM
Palatka, FL WIYD AM 1260 Mon – Sun 10:39AM
Mon – Sun 10:20PM
Mon – Sun 2:40AM
Panama City, FL WKGC FM 90.7 Mon – Fri 11:58AM
St Augustine, FL WFCF FM 88.5 Mon – Sun 9:00AM
Tampa, FL WHNZ AM 1250 Mon – Fri 7:31PM
Sat – Sun 10:00AM

Workshop for Informal Educators

November 7-10, 2004
Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex

Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida Space Grant Consortium (FSGC), Johnson Space Center (JSC), Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), and Stennis Space Center (SSC) will host a Return to Flight workshop at the John F. Kennedy Space Center to prepare Informal Education venues (museums, science centers, planetariums) to help NASApositively engage the public in the excitement of exploration and human space flight. You will be presented with information, materials and learning opportunities to help the general public understand what has been done to safely return the Space Shuttle to flight.

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