June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
24.868.1 - 24.868.14
LiftOff (K-12 Engineering Resources: Best Practices in Curriculum Design)NASA has 52 Space Grant Consortia spread across the United States. A primary focus of theconsortia is the improvement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)education at all levels to enhance our nation’s high technology workforce.One of the 52 Space Grant Consortia has offered a four-to-five day summer program for K-12educators at NASA JSC every year since 1990. Space Grant’s primary focus and highestleverage in pre-college education is the professional development of K-12 educators. Theobjective of the LiftOff Summer Institute is to provide the attendees with materials that can beused both to excite their students about STEM learning across disciplines and to meet state,national, and common core standards. The consortium has established the following goals for itsK-12 educator development. - Inspire and motivate students at all levels to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). - Enhance K-12 educator knowledge in STEM cross-curricular space related fields. - Increase K-12 student knowledge in STEM education through age-appropriate space related activities. - Increase underrepresented and underserved participation. - Enhance career exploration by including space science professionals, NASA employees, and NASA-sponsored scientists, technical and engineering experts as role and career models.In 1990, the consortium imported a workshop from NASA Ames as the first offering of aprogram that became the “LiftOff” program, a nationally competitive week-long in-serviceprofessional development training for middle and high school teachers. A collaborative effort ofconsortium affiliates, NASA, and industry, the workshops are organized around an aerospace orspace science theme drawn from NASA’s diverse engineering and scientific research programs.The program combines the strengths of the collaborators to enrich teaching and learning ofSTEM topics. During a recent evaluation, 95% of those responding rated the LiftOff SummerInstitute as “extremely effective.” A comprehensive evaluation of the annual programs andfollow-up with participants allows us to document program successes, how materials are beingused, and numbers reached through this train-the trainer workshop. In the past five years, 250teachers have attended LiftOff. On an average, these 250 teachers have utilized the materials andtraining with 25,000 students, and trained an additional 12,000 teachers. In the words of oneparticipant, “LiftOff Summer Institute was an everlasting experience. I can’t wait until schoolstarts! I am so excited about sharing everything that I experienced, not only with my students,but with fellow teachers and colleagues.”The paper will present the history of the LiftOff program, an analysis of how it has changed overthe past 24 years, a listing of program topics, a typical program agenda, program goals andoutcomes, metrics, participant feedback, program evaluation results, anecdotal data, and bestpractices for replicating this program.
Baguio, M., & Fowler, W. T., & Ramirez, S. (2014, June), LiftOff to Best Practices in K-12 Engineering Curriculum Design Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22801
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