Some of NASA’s vast educational resources are now available at Tennessee Tech University to help teachers in the region show their students how to shoot for the stars.
TTU’s Millard Oakley STEM Center has been named a field NASA Educational Resource Center.
At the centers, teachers get demonstrations of educational technologies as well as in-service and pre-service training using NASA instructional products. The tools are divided by grade level and, using them, teachers can learn about NASA’s classroom activities, lesson plans and videos and access webcasts and contest information. Teachers can also learn about workshops and conferences related to their subject matter.
“I am ecstatic about announcing the new NASA Educator Resource Center now at home in the Millard Oakley STEM Center,” said Sally Pardue, director of TTU’s Oakley STEM Center. “We will provide access to a library of resources, support materials and lending opportunities to teachers throughout Tennessee via the NASA ERC and professional development workshops.”
Earlier NASA grants helped populate the lending library with resources. In Tennessee, Vanderbilt University acts as the fiscal agent for NASA’s education programs providing grant opportunities for programs and projects.
“Using the new NASA Educator Resource Center at the STEM Center has given me access to such wonderful ideas, projects and activities,” said Brenda Robinson, fifth grade teacher at Avery Trace Middle School. “The resources available through the center help support what I’m doing in the classroom.”
NASA’s three major education goals are strengthening NASA and the nation's future workforce, attracting and retaining students in STEM disciplines and engaging Americans in NASA's mission. Those goals, particularly as they relate to STEM education and workforce development, align with the mission of TTU’s Oakley STEM Center.
“We are responsible for educating our children for the future, giving them opportunities and preparing them to lead,” Pardue said. “By providing our teachers and students access to cutting-edge educational resources, activities and programs we will have a very positive impact on STEM education in the Upper Cumberland and the career options available to our children and grandchildren.”
Field centers are often located on university campuses and have partnerships with their state’s education department or regional educational organizations. A variety of TTU departments have already begun to form partnerships with regional P-12 programs for professional development and enrichment activities, including the Upper Cumberland Teachers Councils in Science and Math, College of Engineering Math Science Partnership, President’s School on Emerging Technologies and the Upper Cumberland Middle Grades Math Partnership.
Teachers will use the center when they participate in STEM Center User Group Training Workshops led by regional teacher liaisons of the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium and facilitated by Pardue. These workshops, offered July 9 and Oct. 8, will introduce teachers to available resources and prepare them to lead a hands-on field trip to the STEM Center.
For more information about the Oakley STEM Center and its programs visit the website, www.tntech.edu/stem or call 931-372-6573.