NASA Grant Helps Museum of Science Launch Engineering MISSION
July 16, 2012
In June NASA announced an $857,125 award to the Museum of Science, Boston to support its Engineering MISSION: Engineering for Middle School Science, Inspiration, and Opportunity project. Through the two-year grant, the Museum will create educational programs that will bring to life the engineering skills fueling NASA's explorations of the universe.
The Museum's fifth direct award from NASA since 1998, this latest grant was the largest of the 11 "innovative" science centers and planetariums projects funded through NASA's Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums Plus Opportunities for NASA Visitor Centers and Other Informal Education Institutions.
"Informal education providers are an important part of NASA's education family," said Leland Melvin, associate administrator for NASA's Office of Education in Washington. "By using compelling NASA content, they help us stimulate interest in science, technology, engineer and mathematics, or STEM. Increasing STEM literacy in students today is key to having the talent NASA will need to embark on future missions of science and discovery."
According to Ioannis Miaoulis, Museum of Science president and director, "We share a common mission with NASA: fostering public understanding of space exploration and aeronautical research. The race into space once spurred engineers and scientists to land a human on the moon. Today, the mystery and wonder of space can spark a new generation of young people to explore STEM fields."
The Museum will partner with Goddard Space Flight Center and the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium to develop four resources that strengthen engineering education in informal and out-of-school-time (OST) environments for students in middle grades: 1) a full-dome planetarium show featuring NASA's robotic missions to explore Earth and space, 2) engineering-focused, space-themed digital visual assets for use by planetariums and museums, 3) aeronautical and aerospace engineering-focused OST activities, and 4) workshops for science center educators and middle school teachers.
The Museum's approach to STEM spans K-12 engineering curricula and interactive Museum-based engineering activities and exhibits through its National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®).