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Fall Space Day – An Educational Outreach And Professional Development Program Model

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Engineering Student Involvement in K-12 Programs

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.738.1 - 12.738.15



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Paper Authors

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Cindy Mahler The Boeing Company


Ann Broughton Purdue University

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ANN BROUGHTON has been the Fall Space Day coordinator at Purdue University since 2000, and is instrumental in expanding the program to other universities. She is a staff member of the School of Aeronautics & Astronautics and the Indiana Space Grant Consortium. She has a BA degree from Bristol University, U.K. in Business Administration.

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Barrett Caldwell Purdue University

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Dr. BARRETT CALDWELL PhD is an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering at Purdue, and Director of the NASA Indiana Space Grant Consortium. His research examines human factors engineering aspects of how people get, share, and use information well, with focuses on space flight mission operations and healthcare delivery. He has two BS degrees from MIT (Astronautics, Humanities), and a PhD in social psychology from the Univ. of California-Davis.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Fall Space Day – An Educational Outreach and Professional Development Program Model Abstract

An emerging aspect of engineering outreach is service-based learning and outreach. In the service learning model, university level students take active and leading roles in community- based outreach activities. For over 10 years, Purdue’s Fall Space Day (PFSD) has been a successful outreach program to excite third through eighth grade school students about science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and space-related careers. PSFD was developed by the Purdue University chapter of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (Purdue SEDS) and has been sponsored annually by the Purdue University School of Aeronautics & Astronautics and the Indiana Space Grant Consortium (INSGC). Inaugurated on Saturday November 9, 1996, approximately 3000 grade school students have benefited from PFSD and approximately 900 university students have volunteered their time. PFSD 2006 was held on Saturday November 11 and welcomed 500 third through eighth grade school students to Purdue’s campus, a significant increase from the 150 grade school students who attended the first program in 1996.

Purdue Fall Space Day has gained recognition across the state of Indiana as an exceptional space-related educational outreach event. Since its inception, PFSD has been developed and run by undergraduate students, except for very limited staff involvement (0.5 FTE) to perform university-required budgetary tasks. Sponsorships enable PFSD to provide an entire day’s worth of space, science, and engineering centered, age-appropriate hands-on activities for third through eighth graders at no cost to the participants. This provides the students an opportunity to see the technical challenges associated with space flight. All activities are taught by university students and are accompanied by lesson plans designed to facilitate the children’s understanding of space technology and exploration.

In addition to the third through eighth grade school students benefiting through PFSD participation, the university student volunteers gain valuable experiences that remain with them long after their time as Purdue students. These experiences include providing a community service as a role model and learning the organizational, project supervision, and professional development tasks required to plan and implement a successful PFSD each year. Parents and teachers are exposed to the excitement of spaceflight through the eyes of their children and students, respectively. The University shares the quality of its campus and student volunteers with the community and benefits from the future enrollment of PFSD participants as university students.

Assessment results received from surveys filled out by the students, parents, and volunteers are integrated into the next PFSD program thus benefiting from lessons learned and sustaining PFSD for the next generation. Ten years of experience, assessment, and lessons learned have been compiled by PFSD alumni and staff as an ongoing resource base for succeeding PFSD leadership teams. As the success of PFSD has grown, other campuses in Indiana and elsewhere have expressed interest in developing the program at their location. The evolution of PFSD is therefore now addressing controlled expansion to other universities within the State of Indiana.

Mahler, C., & Broughton, A., & Caldwell, B. (2007, June), Fall Space Day – An Educational Outreach And Professional Development Program Model Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2785

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