SEEC-ing space exploration in the classroom
The 2016 Space Exploration Educators Conference, or SEEC, was hosted by Space Center Houston from Feb. 4 to 6. SEEC provides K-12 educators of all disciplines, not just science teachers, with lessons and activities for teaching space across the curriculum. During the three-day conference, participants attend sessions hosted by scientists and engineers currently assigned to some of NASA’s biggest missions — like the Journey to Mars — all while earning 24 hours of continuing professional education credit.
Many of these sessions were taught by members of Johnson Space Center’s Office of Education, like “Off the Earth, For the Earth … and in the Classroom!” led by Becky Kamas and Kelly McCormick, focusing on grades 3 through 8. It was jam-packed with information about the International Space Station, one-year mission (coming to an end in early March) and other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities that can be done in the classroom.
Session leaders Alicia Baturoni Cortez and Carlos Fontenot demonstrated the Hispanic Employee Resource Group’s new bilingual outreach method, Space Loteria. The bingo-like game helps players learn space-science concepts in a way that’s culturally relevant and fun.
To demonstrate the laws of microgravity and inertia, Daniel Loewen, a member of the NASA Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers in Fresno County, and Veronica Seyl of Johnson’s Education Office, invited educators to the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility to witness the air-bearing floor in use. One lucky educator even got to take a ride on the floor to demonstrate the frictionless environment in which astronauts work. The group learned how this floor helps astronauts train for the physics of microgravity aboard the space station, as well as how to share this with their students in the classroom.
SEEC just celebrated its 22nd year and is already looking forward to the 23rd. To learn more about SEEC and see the full agenda from the weekend, visit: http://spacecenter.org/teacher-programs/teachers-seec/
NASA Johnson Space Center