Charles County Public Schools participation in SSEP enhances our commitment to STEM education in a number of ways:
- Creating excitement and a sense of wonder in students across our district through this truly HISTORIC opportunity for students in grades 5-12 to develop a proposal for an experiment slot reserved for us aboard the final scheduled flight of the Space Shuttle.
- Participating in an experiment design competition allowing students the ability to propose a REAL experiment, using a mini-laboratory where half the 90 experiment slots are dedicated for researchers’ use, and half to student experiments.
- Developing community-wide immersion: the SSEP provided resources (e.g., blog, Tweet-ups, voices of mission control) allowing us to place the SSEP design competition within the context of a community-wide engagement model, where we can leverage participation by students, their teachers, their families, and the public.
- Realizing that real science is fun, done by ordinary people reflecting cultural, gender, and socio-economic diversity, and is reflective of a personal and emotional journey of exploration and learning. This is nothing short of a celebration of learning for our entire community.
- Exposing and immersing both teachers and students in real science: including framing of a science investigation, experiment design, writing a proposal, a formal review process, a formal flight safety review, participating in a science conference, and communicating design approaches and results at the conference.
- Implement a systemic STEM program across our community, and one that is high profile, garnering significant public and local media attention, thereby showcasing STEM.
- Facilitating our students interacting with real scientists through the weekly Tweet-ups
- Establishing a community coalition of stakeholders in STEM education as a stepping stone to other systemic, high profile programs in STEM.