The Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) proposes to participate in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). Each school in Charles County has a staff member who fulfills the responsibility of STEM liaison; these teachers will serve as our point of contact within each school. These teachers will receive training on the parameters to create an experiment suitable to be flown on the shuttle and how they can document their teams’ experiences. We will invite local scientists and engineering partners, to offer staff and students presentations related to the realities of experimenting in a space environment. Participants will have an opportunity to dialogue with these experts to further develop their interests, knowledge, and curiosity as they prepare for the competition. The students will be vying for use of an experimental slot reserved specifically for Charles County Public Schools aboard the historic, final space shuttle flight.

Following these informational sessions, students in grades 5-12 will be registered to participate in the SSEP individually or as part of a team. CCPS teachers will guide the participating students through various brainstorming and research gathering opportunities. Students will then decide on the project and develop their proposal which will include the design of the experiment and the question to be addressed by the experiment. All proposals will be a 5 page minimum. These proposals will be submitted to the Step 1 Review Panel. The Step 1 Review Panel will be comprised of local scientists, engineers, and educators. Members of the panel will carefully read and review the students’ proposals. The student submissions will be evaluated using the formal proposal review criteria, and assign points to each section of the proposals. The Step 1 Review Panel will determine the three finalists based on the three highest scoring proposals.

All students in grades 5-8, and high school biology and chemistry students, across CCPS will be invited to participate in the experiment design competition. This corresponds to approximately 11,000 students: 1,900 students in grade five, 6,000 students in grades six through eight, 2,000 students in HS biology, and 1,100 students in HS chemistry. Based on our understanding of the program, and STEM initiatives in CCPS, we anticipate a total of 2,000 CCPS grade 5-12 students would participate in the experiment design competition. We recognize that the SSEP experiment design competition in a community has a maximum participation of 3,200 students.

A second phase of our plan involves a Mission Patch design competition that will also include students from grades K-12. There will be approximately 14,000 students participating in the Mission Patch design. These students will have the opportunity to create a mission patch that will travel on the space shuttle with the selected experiment. The dedicated science teachers at each level will coordinate the competition at their school. Visitors to the Symposium will vote to determine the winning patch.

Information regarding this historic opportunity will be presented at the annual Charles County Public Schools Educational Showcase being held on April 2, 2011. The showcase is designed to inform and highlight programs and opportunities offered in the school system. All parents with students in the Charles County Public Schools and community members have been invited to attend this event. Community members include partners from Naval Surface Weapons Center, Nav Air, Charles County Chamber of Commerce, ISTEM, and College of Southern Maryland.

All participating students will have an opportunity to present their proposal at the CCPS sponsored SSEP Community Symposium. The selected mission patches from each school will also be displayed at the Symposium. The Symposium will be held at a CCPS school for community members, parents, students, teachers, and administrators.

Additionally, the SSEP will be publicized through the Charles County Public Schools web page, local television channel 96, and the local newspaper. Once the mission is concluded, a mini-documentary will be created highlighting the students, teachers, and community members and their experiences through their role in this historic opportunity.

You’re invited to visit the following sub-pages of this Student Teams page:

Our Selected Flight Experiment
Honorable Mention Finalists
All Student Proposals
Our Emblem Flying on the Shuttle
Multimedia Gallery

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