Enterprise In Space (EIS), an international program of the National Space Society (NSS), is excited to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC), the only unit at the Smithsonian Institution that is solely dedicated to formal K-12 science education reform.
As a part of its mission to send a 3D printed spacecraft into low Earth orbit with more than 100 student experiments aboard, EIS has established a robust online educational platform, the EIS Academy, which includes several Enterprise Centers for Excellence, dedicated to hosting knowledge from experts in space science. The SSEC is dedicated to the establishment of effective science programs and professional learning experiences for all teachers and students. Together, the SSEC and EIS will support one another in developing educator and student experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) that enhance awareness in the exploration and development of space, and extend the reach of SSEC and EIS programs.
EIS and SSEC plan to collaborate on two projects dedicated to space education. The first is a mission patch design challenge in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education to present at Space Day on the National Air and Space Museum, tentatively set to occur this summer. The second is the development of a space science summer course for the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs) that will enrich and enhance space education in the participating educators’ classrooms.
To provide teachers with powerful classroom tools and lessons, EIS, in conjunction with SSEC will be creating a space science curriculum for leaders and learners that will be taught as a week-long SSEAT course. The course will use resources from the Smithsonian and its affiliates in the Washington, D.C. area, including access to museums, scientists, historians, and researchers at those facilities. Class lessons created by participating teachers will be shared further by being uploaded to the EIS Academy. The program will also include an online course preceding the summer Space Science Academy and post-academy activities for follow-up networking and teacher collaborations.
“The decision to collaborate with the Smithsonian Science Education Center was a natural one,” says Lynne Zielinski, EIS Education Program Manager and NSS Vice President of Public Affairs. “The Smithsonian has a prestigious reputation for its educational initiatives and will provide the ideal network and support necessary for bringing the EIS program to the public.”
“Space science topics are a timely and exciting subject area that motivates student learning,” said Carol O’Donnell, SSEC Director. “The EIS Academy offers a pathway for our SSEATs teachers to build long-lasting professional learning communities that will provide them with confidence and reinvigorate their enthusiasm while embracing cutting edge applications and best teaching practices.”
Both organizations wish to establish a sustainable relationship for space science education, launching their collaboration on a trajectory where the Sky is NOT the Limit!