Community Profiles and Local Partners: SSEP Mission 3 to ISS


Mission 3 is Community’s First SSEP Flight Opportunity: Yellow
Mission 3 is Community’s at Least Second SSEP Flight Opportunity: Green
View Mission 3 to ISS Communities on a larger map

Note: One Mission 3 Community, the Teachers in Space nationally distributed community program, is not shown on the map.


SSEP Mission 3 to ISS

Experiment Design Competition and Selection of Flight Experiments: Fall 2012
Flight to ISS: Mission 3a (5 of 17 experiments): launched September 18, 2013, on Orbital Sciences Demonstration 1 (Orb-D1; Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft), returned to Earth November 10, 2013, on Soyuz 35S; Mission 3b (12 of 17 experiments): launched January 9, 2014, on Orbital Sciences 1 (Orb-1; Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft), returned to Earth March 10, 2014, on Soyuz 36S.

 

The 17 communities profiled below are providing the opportunity for 12,800 grade 5-12 students to design and propose real microgravity experiments for flight aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as part of SSEP Mission 3 to ISS – the fifth SSEP flight opportunity. Six of the Mission 3 communities participated in at least one of the four earlier SSEP flight opportunities – Space Shuttle missions STS-134 and STS-135, and Mission 1 and 2 to ISS.

Mission 3 to ISS also includes the first International Community, Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada, and the first Distributed Community with the Space Frontier Foundation’s Teachers in Space program engaging lead science teachers across the nation as a single community.

Each community conducts a local Flight Experiment Design Competition with student teams designing microgravity experiments across multiple disciplines. Each team submits a formal research proposal, vying for an experiment slot reserved just for their community in a real research mini-laboratory scheduled to fly on the International Space Station. The Mission 3 to ISS community leadership project that across the network of 17 communities a minimum of 6,720 students will be fully engaged in experiment design, and a minimum of 1,254 flight experiment proposals from student teams will be received.

A total of 82,700 grade preK-12 students are being given the opportunity to participate in SSEP Mission 3 to ISS community-wide programming, which includes the design of Mission Patches to fly aboard ISS. Through community engagement activities, together with microgravity experiment design, a total of 163 schools in 13 States, the District of Columbia, and Canada are taking part in Mission 3 to ISS.

For 9 of the 17 communities, Mission 3 is made possible in part by a grant from the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. We are proud to welcome CASIS as a National Partner on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

Mission 3 to ISS is made possible through the involvement of 108 Local Partner institutions, including school districts, corporate foundations, universities, community foundations, and companies, and which are providing both underwriting and material and human resources.

Some highlights:

Mission 3 to ISS was made possible in part for 9 communities through support from 9 NASA Space Grant Lead Institutions, including: Witchita State University, Kansas; Johns Hopkins University, Maryland; MIT, Massachusetts; University of Nebraska – Omaha, Nebraska; Cornell University, New York; North Carolina State University, North Carolina; Oregon State University, Oregon; Virginia Space Grant Consortium Headquarters, Virginia; and American University, District of Columbia.

The DOW Chemical Company is supporting two communities: Traverse City, Michigan, and Pennsauken, New Jersey.

The level of partnership is remarkable, and speaks to what a team of partners at the local, state, and national levels can do together in STEM education.

Visit the SSEP In the News page and the In Our Own Words page to gain an understanding of program impact over the first four SSEP flight opportunities.

 

1. Teachers in Space (TiS) Program, Space Frontier Foundation

Noteworthy: this is the first nationally distributed SSEP community

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: open to grade 9-12 students at 24 high schools across the United States
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 150
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 40

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 3,000 grade 9-12 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 24 high schools across the U.S.

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
The Space Frontier Foundation, in partnership with NASA, conducted the Teacher’s in Space Flight Experiments Workshop, July 23-27, 2012, at NASA’s Ames Research Center. Twenty-four high school teachers participated from across the United States. The workshop objectives were to learn about NASA opportunities and new directions, the new era of Commercial Space Flight, and how the doors are now opening for students to do authentic research in space and near space by designing and building their own experiments. During the week, attendees gained invaluable experience by building and preparing data sensors that flew on a zeppelin, and then in Earth’s stratosphere on a weather balloon. As an extension to the experience, attendees were invited to participate in the first geographically distributed SSEP community program.

For SSEP Mission 3 to ISS, this U.S. national team of teachers is engaging students at their home schools. Each school will forward 2 flight experiment proposals to the Space Frontier Foundation, and the Foundation will select 3 finalist proposals for submission to the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, which will then select the flight experiment. The teachers will use their training at the workshop to guide their student teams in experiment design and proposal writing. SSEP is STEM education at its best, and through this Teachers in Space sponsored effort, SSEP is leveraged across a national network of teachers with a common experience.

Partner Institutions
Space Frontier Foundation: Teachers in Space Program

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Rachael Manzer
National Competition Director
STEM Coach at Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School, Hartford, CT
MANZR001@hartfordschools.org

 

2. Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada

Noteworthy: this is the first SSEP International Community
International SSEP operations are overseen by the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education,
the international arm of the U.S. National Center for Earth and Space Science Education 

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 450 grade 5-6 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 450
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 60

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 2,500 grade K-8 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 10; experiment design and mission patches: Brant Argyle School, Stony Mountain School, Grosse Isle School, Warren Elementary, Stonewall Centennial School, Teulon Elementary, Balmoral Elementary, and Woodlands Elementary; mission patches only: Rosser Elementary and R.W. Bobby Bend.

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
The development of scientifically literate individuals is a primary focus for 21st century K-12 science education in Interlake School Division. It is a vision that includes  development of multiple skills, such as effectively interpreting technical information, participation in solutions to problems that appeal to new scientific understanding, making informed decisions on issues and trends that are important to a technological society, better adapting to and accommodating rapid change, and creation of new knowledge.

The SSEP will enable our students across the division to experience authentic scientific experimentation, while considering the implications of the science, technology, engineering and math processes and the real-life applications of such experiments. Students will have an opportunity to gain the necessary skills to be sophisticated community members in the 21st century. Working in teams, and in a competitive environment, will only strengthen students’ abilities to work progressively and successfully in their futures.

Partner Institutions
Interlake School Division

Government of Manitoba
Manitoba Aerospace Association
Manitoba Aerospace Human Resources Council
Aerotech Herman Nelson International
Bristol Aerospace (a division of Magellan Aerospace)
Boeing
StandardAero
Acsion Industries
Acetek Composites
Manitoba Hydro
Allied Wings, Canada Wings
Mr. Alfonz Koncan
Canadian Space Agency
Oak Hammock Marsh
Fort Whyte Center
Central and Arctic Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Bedford Institute of Oceanography
Kinesiology and Applied Health, The University of Winnipeg
Pembina Trails School Division
Seven Oaks School Division
Mr. Orville Procter
Good Turf Garden Centre
Ricard Farms, Ltd.
Cancer Care Manitoba
Shelmerdine
Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives
University of Manitoba Human Nutritional Sciences
University of Manitoba Food Science
Straight to the Point Community Acupuncture
Royal Bee Farm of Canada
Cornelia Bean

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

SSEP Community Program Director
Maria Nickel
Middle Years Science Coordinator, Woodlands Elementary School
marianickel@shaw.ca

 

3. San Marino, California

Noteworthy: this is the second SSEP flight for San Marino

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 300 grade 5-12 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 300
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 50

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 3,600 grade K-12 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 4; experiment design and mission patches: San Marino High School; mission patches only: Carver Elementary, Valentine Elementary, and Huntington Middle School

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
The San Marino Unified School district has consistently earned the distinction of being one of the top school districts in California for the past several years. The District is committed to providing the students of San Marino with the best STEM education possible through access to unique resources and experiences, such as partnerships that allow our students to participate in regional and national programs. Examples include the FIRST Robotics Competition, the AMGEN-Bruce Wallace Biotechnology lab program, the USC QuiKScience Challenge, and the Solar Hydrogen Activity research Kit program (SHArK). Our high school students are offered the opportunity to listen to presentations by and join in discussions with Nobel Laureates and other prominent scientists in our science lecture series. Our Earth science, biology, chemistry, and physics courses emphasize the use of computer technology to further learning and discovery in the laboratory setting. Advanced Placement (AP) courses, such as biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental science, use even more complex computer technology for data input and analysis.

The community’s participation in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program Mission 1 to the International Space Station (ISS) provided a great opportunity for the school district to further pursue its commitment to excellence in STEM education. Participating in SSEP Mission 2 re-flight further challenged our students. Many within the community and school are truly excited about the continued involvement in the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program through Mission 3. The program offers the students a unique opportunity to participate in real discovery science, will inspire students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and involve the entire San Marino community.

Partner Institutions
Lead: San Marino High School
San Marino Unified School District

Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
San Marino Unified School District PTSA
Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

Mission 1 to ISS
(see Mission 1 community profileflight and honorable mention experiments, and flight mission patches)

SSEP Community Program Director
Wyeth Collo
Science Teacher / Department Chair, San Marino High School
wcollo@smusd.us

 

4. Washington, DC – Capitol Hill Cluster of Schools

Noteworthy: this is the second SSEP flight for the Capitol Hill Cluster of Schools

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 400 grade 6-8 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 400
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 90

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 1,200 grade preK-8 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 3; experiment design and mission patches: Stuart-Hobson Middle School; mission patches only: Watkins Elementary School, Peabody Early Childhood Campus

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
The Science requirements for Stuart-Hobson middle School (SHMS) include: Earth and Space Science (6th Grade), Life Science (7th Grade) and Physical and Chemical Science (8th Grade). All students are also required to take one quarter of Technology and Engineering per year. These courses are taught by four teachers whose certifications fulfill the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Highly Qualified requirement. One of the teachers is nationally board certified in Early Adolescent Science.

Teachers and staff at Stuart-Hobson believe in the goals of the “Educate to Innovate” initiative set forth by our nation’s President. We want to give all of our students the most rigorous STEM education possible and increase the number of underrepresented groups, specifically minorities and females, within the STEM pipeline so that they have the ability to compete for high quality jobs in the future.

The mission of our science and technology teachers fueled the recent upgrades to the SHMS infrastructure and we want to keep that momentum going. The SSEP program will provide our students with hands-on, real-world science and technology experience. The experience will make this learning come alive for our students. It will reinforce the wonder of science and open new pathways for them to pursue. The SSEP program will integrate into our STEM curriculum seamlessly and help us close the achievement gap.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Capitol Hill Cluster School
District of Columbia Public Schools

District of Columbia Space Grant Consortium

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

Mission 1 to ISS
(see Mission 1 community profileflight and honorable mention experiments, and flight mission patches)

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Emmett Creef
Science Teacher, Stuart Hobson Middle School
emmett.creefjr@dc.gov

Dawn Clemens
Principal, Stuart Hobson Middle School
dawn.clemens@dc.gov

 

5. Hilo/Waiakea, Hawai’i

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 850 grade 6-8 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 850
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 130

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 7,500 grade K-12 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 13; experiment design and mission patches: Waiakea Intermediate School; mission patches only: Waiakea Elementary, Waiakea High School, Hilo High School, Hilo Intermediate School, Hilo Union Elementary, Kaumana Elementary, Ernest B. de Silva Elementary, Ha’aheo Elementary, Kalaniana’ole Elementary and Intermediate, Kapi’olani Elementary, Keaukaha Elementary, and Waiakeawaena Elementary.

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Hawai’i schools are in the process of transitioning to implementation of the Common Core State Standards in all grade levels. These Standards require new ways of teaching to insure that all students acquire competencies related to self-motivation, inquiry, collaboration, complex thinking, problem-solving, and the collection and analysis of data. Students must be proficient in science, mathematics, technology and communication skills and, as part of the investigative process be able to make claims based on evidence. This will provide rigor in their learning process.

The SSEP will require that teachers design learning experiences that enable students to learn and practice these competencies as well as to transfer and apply their knowledge and skills to new learning. Through the experimental design process, teachers will provide rigorous and engaging learning experiences that enable students to develop competencies in STEM practices including inquiry, engineering, and the use of data. As teachers assist students with their experimental designs, they will employ formative instruction strategies to monitor student learning and adjust teaching to address student needs. The SSEP provides teachers with opportunities to differentiate instruction as students self-select topics of interest for their investigations. Support for teachers will be provided by Complex Area Resource Teachers and community mentors from STEM-related organizations and businesses including local observatories, the Journey through the Universe Lead Team and members of the Community Alliance who represent local businesses and organizations.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Waiakea Intermediate School
Hawai’i Public Schools, Hilo/Waiakea Complex

Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
Big Island Toyota
County of Hawai’i, Department of Research and Development
Hawai’i Island Economic Development Board, Inc.
Thirty Meter Telescope
Ben Franklin Crafts / Hilo Ace Hardware

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Christine Copes, Hilo/WaiakeaComplex Area Resource Teacher
Christine_Copes@notes.k12.hi.us

Lloyd Matsunami
Principal, Waiakea Intermediate School
Lloyd_Matsunami@notes.k12.hi.us

Darrell Nekoba
School Renewal Specialist, Hilo/Waiakea Complex
Darrell_Nekoba@notes.k12.hi.us

Valerie Takata
Superintendent, Hilo/Waiakea Complex
Valerie_Takata@notes.k12.hi.us

Janice Harvey
Journey Through the Universe Liaison, Gemini North Administrator – Education, Outreach, and Media
jharvey@gemini.edu

 

6. Valley Center, Kansas

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 600 grade 9-12 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 600
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 120

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 2,700 grade K-12 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 6; experiment design and mission patches: Valley Center High School; mission patches only: Valley Center Middle School, Valley Center Intermediate, Wheatland Elementary, West Elementary, and Abilene Elementary

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Valley Center School District is so committed to developing the STEM Pathways that this year we have employed a College and Career Readiness Coordinator whose focus will be the incorporation of STEM in all academic areas. We are also phasing in “Project Lead The Way” curriculum starting in the middle school, with implementation plans for the high school in place for next year. Along with STEM, our district is one of the first in the state of Kansas (which is a lead state) to implement the Common Core Standards in Math. In addition, our science teachers have begun the implementation of the best practices and crosscutting concepts related to the Next Generation Science Standards and are eagerly awaiting the final draft of these new national standards. These best practices will be integrated into every student project submission.

With the technical career prospects in our area, the chance for our students to participate in SSEP will provide valuable real-life learning experiences of problem solving, competition, collaboration, critical thinking, experimental design, creativity, and communication skills, all of which are fundamental in our current job market. The opportunity to participate in the SSEP will provide us with the means to include almost ALL of the students in our building with a real-life, hands-on, authentic, meaningful science education. This opportunity for USD 262 (students, parents and community members) to become part of America’s Space Program would excite and impact students far beyond the classroom. It would bring a sense of shared ownership in science and new technological advances to the district. It would also strongly encourage and motivate students to pursue scientific and creative solutions in their daily lives.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Valley Center High School
Valley Center Public Schools

Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
Kansas Space Grant Consortium
Airbus North America
Ark Valley News
Capps Manufacturing
Cargill
Coonrod & Associates
Exacta Aerospace
iSi Environmental
KAKE TV
Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center
Wichita Eagle

Additional Contributors: Amy Sears & Russell Lance, Bill & Marlene Wentz, Bradley Tidemann, Brian Jackson, Brian Supernaw, D & D Plumbing, Emerson & Eileen Bolte, Glen & Janel Hawkins, Grant & Anita Tidemann, Greg & Kendra Jantz, Hugh Gill, Lois Pierson, Mick & Kay Thrasher, Parker Maldonado, Representative Steve Huebert, Society of Women Engineers, Timothy & Rhonda Price, Valley Center Booster Club, Valley Center Education Foundation, Valley Center Lions Club, Valley Center Pizza Hut

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Jamie Lewis
Principal, Valley Center High School
Jamie.lewis@usd262.net

Kristen Joyal
Mathematics Educator, Valley Center High School
kristen.joyal@usd262.net

Jeff Tracy
Science Educator, Valley Center High School
Jeff.tracy@usd262.net

 

7. Howard County, Maryland

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 550 grade 8 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 550
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 90

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 1,600 grade 6-8 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 3; experiment design and mission patches: Hammond Middle School, Wilde Lake Middle School, and Lime Kiln Middle School

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) vision for STEM education is to inspire, engage, and prepare our next generation to be the inventors, explorers, and innovators who will lead U.S. achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. To this end, the HCPSS is committed to providing high quality, relevant, and embedded STEM learning experiences to all students in all grade levels with the goal of STEM literacy for all. The HCPSS is further committed to providing intensive learning opportunities to students at all grade levels that have a particular interest or talent within STEM. These enhanced opportunities may occur in school or inextended day, week, or year programs.

The SSEP tightly aligns with the emphasis on STEM within the HCPSS. It immerses students in a real scientific and engineering problem that can be solved through the application of content knowledge and the practices of science and engineering. Students will collaborate in STEM teams. They will ask scientific questions and design experiments to find answers. They will collect and evaluate data, and communication will be instrumental to their work just as it is with practicing scientists. Teachers will learn alongside their students, which will further strengthen the environment of authentic learning. This model of instruction is consistent with the goals of the HCPSS STEM program, but teachers are not well experienced in its implementation. The SSEP project provides a strong framework on which teachers can hone their expertise.

Partner Institutions
Howard County Public School System

Maryland Space Grant Consortium
MdBio Foundation
J. Craig Venter Institute

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Mary Weller
Secondary Science Coordinator, Howard County Public School System
Mary_Weller@hcpss.org

Sharon Kramer
BCMS and Technology Education Instructional Facilitator, Howard County Public School System
Sharon_Kramer@hcpss.org

 

8. Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Noteworthy: this is the fourth SSEP flight for Fitchburg

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 1,400 grade 9-12 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 500
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 80

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 3,000 grade K-12 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: at least 10; experiment design and mission patches: Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School; mission patches only: elementary and middle feeder schools from 18 townships to be determined

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
The strategic need for our school community in STEM education is two-fold: to dramatically increase student interest, and prepare and inspire our next generation of scientists for STEM careers; and to provide new opportunities for community involvement.

Our goal is to empower our students by challenging them to ask authentic questions about the world they live in. Through SSEP, our students have an opportunity to generate such questions and integrate knowledge from across all of their educational experiences. Using math and science skills to develop and analyze a flight experiment, students will foster their ability to think critically. Engaging in the experiment design competition, they will experience a professional scientific competition for resources and understand the importance of the communication skills they have been learning to master. This program also enables students to apply their unique vocational education skills to real-world problems.

Beyond engaging and educating students, families, educators and the local community benefit from this program, as well. Through exhibits and programs, and professional development opportunities, members of the Monty Tech community will assist and support teachers engaged in SSEP.

SSEP has assisted us in meeting our STEM education goals during flight opportunities on STS-135 and Missions 1 and 2 to ISS, and we are eager and proud to embark on our fourth SSEP flight opportunity, Mission 3 to ISS.

Partner Institutions
Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School (Monty Tech)

Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium
OPK Biotech
DRS Power Technology
Nypro
NyproMold
Ranor
North Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

Mission 2 to ISS
(see Mission 2 community profileflight and honorable mention experiments, and flight mission patches)

Mission 1 to ISS
(see Mission 1 community profileflight and honorable mention experiments, and flight mission patches)

SSEP on STS-135, the final flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis, and of the U.S. Space Shuttle Program
(see STS-135 community profileflight and honorable mention experiments, and flight mission patch)

SSEP Community Program Director
Paula DeDiego
Science Instructor, Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School
dediego@montytech.net

 

9. Traverse City, Michigan

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 625 grade 9-12 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 625
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 125

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 2,820 grade 6-12 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 2; experiment design and mission patches: Traverse City West Senior High School; mission patches only: Traverse City West Middle School

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Participating in the SSEP would address in meaningful ways all the skills and expectations inherent in the STEM education goals of Traverse City West Senior High. Our goals include continuous improvement of student achievement in terms of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS), ACT College Readiness Skills, and Michigan Board of Education Content Standards for Science. All of these exist within the greater over-reaching goals of providing our students with skills and understandings they need to be successful in whatever post secondary plans they may pursue – whether straight into the workforce, to career training, or to college studies.

The SSEP will provide a structure for students to observe their environment, question it, create hypotheses to explain their observations, and develop experiments to prove or disprove their hypotheses. It will address content knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation – all the higher order thinking skills we are aiming for – in a relevant and engaging manner very difficult to achieve in more traditional in-class work. It will help the students understand the importance of communication and collaboration in science, and it will give them some insight into the real-world competition for resources for science initiatives.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Traverse City West Senior High School
Traverse City Area Public Schools

The Dow Chemical Company
Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
DTE Energy Foundation
Salamander Technologies
B and E Enterprises

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

SSEP Community Program Director
Patrick Gillespie
Physics and Chemistry Teacher, Traverse City West Senior High School
gillespipa@tcaps.net

 

10. Pleasanton and Callaway, Nebraska

Noteworthy: this is the second SSEP flight for Pleasanton

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 175 grade 7-12 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 175
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 35

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 414 grade K-12 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 2; experiment design and mission patches: Pleasanton Public School and Callaway Public School

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Pleasanton School District and Callaway School District are rural, agricultural communities located in central Nebraska. Our cooperative learning community believes that the Student Spaceflight Experiment Project provides a central theme through which all aspects of STEM may be taught.

According to research conducted by the National Science Teachers Association “Encouraging students to explore and write about science that’s relevant to them will not only engage them in the lesson today but also foster an interest in staying scientifically informed for life.” This statement supports a main goal of our communities in that we want to develop informed citizens who are life long learners.

Industry professionals, as well as college professors, are looking for students who have real life experiences and are equipped to jump into today’s technology-oriented world. The SSEP experience is an effective scaffolding project that can be built upon as student knowledge progresses and skills improve. The Student Spaceflight Experiment project provides an opportunity to make real connections between the content learned in the classroom and real-life experiences.

The SSEP program will greatly benefit our students by allowing them to experience in a hands-on, minds-on environment the worlds of Science, Technology and Engineering. SSEP provides the perfect framework for students to engage in the process of authentic experiment. This activity and life experience will reaffirm our message that STEM education is a way of thinking. Students will have the opportunity to apply core content knowledge in a personalized context, while helping them develop critical thinking skills that can be applied to all aspects of their academic and personal lives. The proposal writing process is a great opportunity for students to apply their critical thinking and writing skills.

Partner Institutions
Pleasanton Public School
Callaway Public School

Nebraska Space Grant Consortium
The Sherwood Foundation
University of Nebraska Kearney Biology Department
Nebraska EPSCoR Science Outreach: Molecular Biology for Secondary Classrooms
Creighton University Department of Biology
Buffalo County Community Partners
Callaway District Hospital
Kearney Eye Institute

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

Mission 1 to ISS for Pleasanton
(see Mission 1 community profileflight and honorable mention experiments, and flight mission patches)

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Alison Buscher
Educator, Pleasanton Public School
abuescher@esu10.org

Lynette Svenson
Educator, Callaway Public School
lsvenson@esu10.org

Ron Wymore
Superintendent, Pleasanton School District
rwymore@esu10.org

Jane Brown
Principal, Callaway Public School
janebrown@esu10.org

 

11. Alpine, New Jersey

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 70 grade 5-8 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 70
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 14

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 70 grade K-4 students given opportunity to participate; 10 grade 9-12 students serving as facilitators

Number of participating schools: 1; Alpine Public School

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
While proud of its results in all academic areas, the Alpine Elementary School has always had outstanding results in the areas of math and science. Our state standardized test scores support that contention, as does our success in achieving grants for both teachers and students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, the “Professional Resources In Sciences and Math” (PRISM) program at Montclair State University and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Institute (LDEO). Science is an integral part of our curriculum with “hands-on” experiments taking place from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Our school district’s desire to engage our students in challenging STEM projects reflects multiple causations. Capturing students’ imaginations is easiest when everything is still a mystery, curiosity level is high and learning is still fun — in other words, at the elementary grade levels. Add the growing knowledge base, dexterity and competitiveness of the middle school years, and you have the potential for creating life-long learners, if properly motivated. Preparing these children for success in the global economy and leadership roles in a wide range of fields requires a balanced education. Focus upon the STEM skills tips that balance in their favor. As the current market indicates, there are three times as many available jobs in STEM career areas as compared to other fields. There is also the selfish goal of returning the leadership role in innovation, discovery, design and production to the United States. This desire to engage our students in learning and the potential for careers in the areas impacted by STEM skills led us to pursue adventures like the underwater robotic project at Stevens Institute, and the carbon dioxide monitoring network with LDEO.

SSEP offers us yet another opportunity to engage students in learning that is not only important, but also exciting. The varied areas of the experiment design phase are directly connected to the new science curriculum grades five – eight. Lab experiments will be added to reflect the selected explorations of the student teams. New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for Science will be met, as will National Mathematics Standards. Cooperating in peer teams and with volunteers from our community of professionals, adds another dimension of skills development and career awareness.

Partner Institutions
The Alpine Public School District

Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory
The Buehler Challenger & Science Center

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Dr. Kathleen Semergieff
Superintendent, Alpine Public School
semergieff@alpineschool.org

Rivka Rosenstein
Science Teacher, Alpine Public School
rosenstein@alpineschool.org

 

12. Pennsauken, New Jersey

Noteworthy: this is the second SSEP flight for Pennsauken

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 400 grade 8 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 400
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 80

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 5,500 grade K-12 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 10; experiment design and mission patches: Howard M. Phifer Middle School; mission patches only: Delair Elementary, Carson Elementary, Fine Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Burling Elementary, Longfellow Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, Pennsauken Intermediate School, and Pennsauken High School

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Established in 1892, Pennsauken Township is home to approximately 35,000 residents. This blue collar community is located on the Western side of New Jersey, across the Delaware River, from Philadelphia, PA. Pennsauken’s 12.5 square miles border on Camden City and Cherry Hill of Camden County and borders on the suburbs of Burlington County. Rich in history and home to several industrial businesses, Pennsauken Township is a busy urban-suburban community. 5,500 students are served by seven elementary schools, and one intermediate, one middle and one high school make up the school district. The Howard M. Phifer Middle School houses over 800 students in grades 7 and 8.

The Pennsauken School District has committed to STEM education through its support of Family Science Nights and Lego Math Nights at each of its elementary schools as well as an extensive annual science fair at the middle school. A rocket unit, focused on integrated technology, math and science has been recently added to the elementary school curriculum. The Pennsauken High School has provided students an opportunity to participate in Engineering and Environmental Science clubs as STEM connected activities and the school offers elective courses that include Engineering (building tech) and Computer Programming among its industrial focused courses. The Pennsauken High School was involved in the SSEP Mission 2 to the ISS, with all students from k-12 having an opportunity to participate in the Mission Patch Contest. The Howard M. Phifer Middle School has recently developed curriculum to introduce the seventh grade students to Lego Robotics. This commitment to STEM in seventh grade, has created an opportunity to add additional programs such as Mission 3 to eighth grade.

Partner Institutions
Pennsauken Township Public Schools

The Dow Chemical Company
Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
PSE&G
Universal Technical Resource Services
Toth Technologies
J&J Snack Foods

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

Mission 2 to ISS
(see Mission 2 community profileflight and honorable mention experiments, and flight mission patches)

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Mike Ostroff
Supervisor of Science, Pennsauken Township Public Schools
mostroff@pennsauken.net

Timothy Gilbride
Science Teacher, Pennsauken Township Public Schools
tgilbride@pennsauken.net

 

13. New York City, New York – NEST+m

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 872 grade 5-8 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 300
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 100

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 878 grade 1-8 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 1; NEST+m Middle School

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Over the years, NEST+m has made a strong commitment to preparing students for the demands of the 21st century. During the 2010-11 academic school year NEST+m participated in Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds Town Hall Debate, in which students debated via live webcast with other students from around the world, on the topic of STEM education. Since its inception NEST+m has been a proponent of a Physics First program, where students begin studying NYS Regents Physics in 9th grade. More recently we have embedded NYS Regents Physics into our 8th grade curriculum. In part because of the strength of our curriculum, this year NEST+m was selected by SONY to pilot a new tablet notebook that will be introduced in Asian markets during 2013. In 2011 a NEST+m student was a Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology semi-finalist. During the 2012-13 academic year, NEST+m hosted and placed in the first annual All NYC Middle School Science Fair with students placing in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade categories. Our guiding philosophy is to provide students with a rigorous academic program in math and sciences, one that will prepare students to successfully compete in a 21st century globalized society.

NEST+m has a history of partnering with various organizations to develop our STEM curriculum including NYU, St. John’s University, Hunter College, Pace University, Math Counts, and numerous other organizations. In this tradition, SSEP is yet another exciting partnership, this time giving students the opportunity to engage in inquiry-based learning that ultimately takes student work outside of the classroom and into space, aboard the International Space Station. SSEP is designed to get students excited about science through full emersion in the learning process via presentations, group research, community building, and experiment design. The program will also provide students from both the lower, middle, and upper schools an opportunity to work together on experiments and bring students together around a common goal. As students will be competing within the community to design a microgravity experiment that will ultimately be selected to fly in space, an increased level of academic rigor will be added to science courses in both the lower and middle schools. The competition will add a valued dynamic in classrooms that will impact teachers and students alike.

Partner Institutions
Lead: New Explorations in Science Technology and Math (NEST+m)
New York City Department of Education

Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
New York Space Grant Consortium

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Brendan Alfieri
Assistant Principal, NEST+m Middle School
BAlfier@schools.nyc.gov

Nicholas Patrello
Assistant Principal, NEST+m Middle School
Npatrello@schools.nyc.gov

Zach Vine
5th Grade Teacher, NEST+m Lower School
zvine@schools.nyc.gov

 

14. Guilford County, North Carolina

Noteworthy: this is the third SSEP flight for Guilford County

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 3,500 grade 6-12 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 300
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 40

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 34,900 grade 6-12 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 52

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Students in Guilford County Schools (GCS) are expected to engage in inquiry-based instruction that facilitates the development of conceptual scientific understanding vital for success in the 21st century. The GCS Strategic Plan 2012 includes goals and strategies for integrating STEM opportunities into the curriculum in grades pre-K-12. It calls for the implementation of inquiry-based science instruction at all grade levels and the integration of technology into the teaching and learning process. The North Carolina Essential Standards, which include science and technology, and the Common Core for Math and English, serves GCS as a new curriculum. It emphasizes rigorous interdisciplinary connections, 21st century skills, communication skills, and real world connections to the community. GCS also received a portion of North Carolina’s federal Race to the Top Funding, and one of the district’s initiatives is to develop more STEM opportunities for students.

SSEP as an authentic science experiment proposal competition will provide a great impetus for getting teachers to move into the new curriculum enthusiastically. Participating in the SSEP stimulates interest and inquiry in STEM-related activities and careers, and addresses all curricular benchmarks in STEM education. The process skills acquired through the connection of science content with authentic experiences in the application of content, support development of reasoning, problem-solving, and technological integration skills necessary for a global society. Students learn about space exploration and achievement, as well as scientific methodology. Collaboration with community businesses, government agencies, colleges and universities is an integral part of SSEP,  is a part of the GCS culture, and helps to prepare students for the global marketplace and the jobs of the future.

Partner Institutions
Guilford County Schools

Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
North Carolina Space Grant Consortium
Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

Mission 2 to ISS
(see Mission 2 community profileflight and honorable mention experiments, and flight mission patches)

SSEP on STS-134, the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour
(see STS-134 community profileflight and honorable mention experiments, and flight mission patch)

SSEP Community Program Director
Shirley Stipe-Zendle
Student Services Administrator, Guilford County Schools, Northern Region
stipezs@gcsnc.com

 

15. Salem, Oregon

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 350 grade 9 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 350
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 70

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 550 grade K-9 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 2; experiment design and mission patches: West Salem High School; mission patches only: Chapman Hill Elementary

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
As a community we are pleased to be working together to foster STEM education in Oregon. Students in our financially strapped district need to be motivated through hands-on learning. Oregon has many science-based corporations in the Willamette Valley and has frequently been labeled as the “Silicon Forest”. Despite this, it is projected that we will continue our dismal performance in graduating students from college as science majors. This lack of a trained workforce has great consequences for our future as a State, and as a Nation. A partnership with SSEP allows us to target younger students as they ascend through the “STEM Pipeline” by engaging them in science while their curiosity is high and with the hope of leaving a lasting memory of the beauty of science.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program is specifically designed to be an exploratory learning tool for students. Young scientists will engage in a scientific exploration of their own choosing in a competitive environment. By involving a science review committee from our community, students can witness how real scientists work. The addition of a Mission Patch design competition in the younger grades adds greater excitement in the anticipation of the real launch. Additionally, the entire community will benefit from the connections they make with students as they follow the winning experiment into space.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Salem-Keizer School District
West Salem High School
Chapman Hill Elementary School

Oregon Space Grant Consortium
Society for Science & the Public

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

SSEP Community Program Director

Michael Lampert
West Salem High School
Lampert_michael@salkeiz.k12.or.us

 

16. Willis, Texas

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 300 grade 5 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 300
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 60

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 6,473 grade K-12 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 8; experiment design and mission patches: Hardy Elementary School, Parmley Elementary School, Turner Elementary School; mission patches only: Meador Elementary School, Cannan Elementary School, Lucas Middle School, Brabham Middle School, and Willis High School

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Willis Independent School District (WISD) is dedicated to preparing our students for careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. STEM education is a focus of our superintendent, school board and our educational community. Students have the opportunity to design and participate in programs that emphasize independent thinking and reasoning. Teachers are dedicated to providing real-world STEM opportunities that will enhance the student’s application of principles and ideas taught in the classroom as part of the state-mandated curriculum. Willis ISD is committed to science and math education, combined with sound teaching practices that foster high-level problem-solving skills. Our schools follow the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, and the state developed C-SCOPE curriculum. Students need a broad skill set to be successful in the world in which we live in today. Our students will be equipped to think analytically, work cooperatively, problem solve, be able to set personal goals, and communicate appropriately to be successful.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) will offer our students a unique opportunity that will enable them to experience and participate in authentic scientific experimentation, while developing team-building skills. This opportunity is a real world experience that breaks from the model of traditional teaching and creates excitement for our learners. Students, parents, teachers and community will also gain from this experience. All students in the district will have the opportunity to participate in the two-patch design contest. Fifth grade students at Hardy, Parmley and Turner Elementary schools will work in teams to design real microgravity experiments. Their designs will compete for a spot on Mission 3 to the International Space Station.

Partner Institutions
Willis Independent School District

Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
Protect Controls, Inc.
Summit Flow Controls, Inc.

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Dr. Leslie Holtkamp
Chief of School Choice Initiatives, Willis Independent School District
LHoltkamp@willisisd.org

Nancy Johnson
Principal, Hardy Elementary School
njohnson@willisisd.org

Janie Wiggins
Principal, Parmley Elementary School
jwiggins@willisisd.org

Jeni Bristol
Principal, Turner Elementary School
jbristol@willisisd.org

 

17. Wise County, Virginia

Program Scope
Experiment Design Competition: 2,000 grade 5-12 students given opportunity to participate
Expected Minimum Number of Students Fully Engaged in Experiment Design: 400
Expected Minimum Number of Student Team Proposals: 70

SSEP Community-wide Engagement Program (includes mission patch design): 6,000 grade K-12 students given opportunity to participate

Number of participating schools: 12; experiment design and mission patches: St. Paul Elementary School, Coeburn Middle School, Eastside High School, JW Adams Combined School, LF Addington School, Central High School, Appalachia Elementary School, Powell Valley Middle School, and Union High School; mission patches only: Coeburn Primary School, Powell Valley Primary School, and Wise Primary School

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Virginia schools are in the process of implementing the 2010 Science Curriculum Frameworks, which place a greater emphasis on scientific investigation. Participating in the SSEP program will help to develop a greater understanding in our students of the scientific investigation process. Students will investigate topics they would like to understand better, design experiments, and write formal scientific proposals. We feel that hands on, real life, authentic activities such as these will lead to a deeper understanding of the scientific investigation process.

In February 2012, thousands of local students participated in a live satellite downlink with astronauts on the international space station. This activity sparked tremendous STEM interest in our students and our community in general.

Wise County has long relied on the coal industry to support its economy. In recent years, there has been a downturn in the coal industry, and some question the long term viability of this economic base. We would like to expose more of our students to STEM fields in order to broaden their horizons and offer other possibilities for future careers. We feel that if more students become interested in STEM related fields, our students would have an opportunity to seek more lucrative careers and we would have the workforce base to diversify our local economy.

Partner Institutions
Wise County Public Schools

Wise County STEM Education Initiative
Bella Vista Foundation
Napoleon Hill Foundation
Virginia Space Grant Consortium 
Wise County-City of Norton Committee of 100, Ltd.
Powell Valley National Bank
CGI
Commonwealth Systems, Inc.
Southwestern Virginia Technology Council
Wise County Clerk of Court Jack Kennedy
Dominion Resources
Castle Track & Roller, Inc.
Don Pippin
Roy Jessee
Ronnie and Marcia Shortt

SSEP Mission Participation
Mission 3 to ISS

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Dottie Dotson
Teacher, Central High School
ddotson@wise.k12.va.us

Sherri Martin
Teacher, St. Paul Elementary School
smartin@wise.k12.va.us

Jason Hicks
Instructional Technology Resource Teacher, Wise County Public Schools
jhicks@wise.k12.va.us

Matt Hurt
Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Wise County Public Schools
jhurt@wise.k12.va.us

 

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC, working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.