The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program will provide our students with an unprecedented, authentic challenge to design a real experiment to fly in space. Our STEM guiding principles include Rigor, Relevance, Understanding and Application – all of which are exemplified by the SSEP project.
Our participation in SSEP enhances our STEM commitment in the following ways:
• Truly HISTORIC opportunity to get students across our district excited about science through an experiment slot reserved for us aboard the final scheduled flight of the Space Shuttle.
• 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.
• 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.
• SSEP is a wonderful, comprehensive program in science and technology education that demonstrates 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.
• Expose and immerse 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 the community, and one that is high profile, garnering significant public and local media attention, thereby showcasing STEM.
• Have our students interact with real scientists through the weekly Tweet-ups
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program perfectly exemplifies student generated experimentation, communicating and presenting a scientific proposal, and collaboration with our community business and industry mentors.