Nominations Open for Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Presidential Awards SealThe deadline for nominations is April 1, 2013. The nomination form should be completed early enough to ensure that the nominated teacher is given enough time to thoroughly prepare an application that reflects exemplary teaching prior to the application deadline. Applications are due by May 1, 2013.

Nominate outstanding secondary, grades 7-12 mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers now for the 2013 awards.

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science (including computer science) teaching. Established by Congress in 1983, the PAEMST program authorizes the President to bestow up to 108 awards each year.

Awards are given to mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions. The jurisdictions are Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; Department of Defense Education Activity schools; and the U.S. territories as a group (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

The award recognizes those teachers who develop and implement a high-quality instructional program that is informed by content knowledge and enhances student learning. Since the program’s inception, more than 4,200 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.

Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science (including computer science) education. The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Visit the Presidential Awards website for additional information, to nominate someone, or to apply.

ISS EarthKAM Winter 2013 Mission

Middle school educators are invited to join NASA for the International Space Station EarthKAM Winter 2013 Mission from Jan. 29 – Feb. 1, 2013. Guide your students in hands-on research as they program cameras aboard the space station to take pictures of specific locations on Earth.

If you’re new to EarthKAM or if you registered for a past mission but weren’t sure how to navigate the website and request images, you can sign-up to attend a 30-minute online EarthKAM information session.

For more information about EarthKAM and to register for the upcoming mission, visit the EarthKAM home page.

If you have questions about the EarthKAM project, email

Eyes on the Solar System

Teachers, check out the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Eyes on the Solar System website, a 3-D environment full of real NASA mission data. Your students can explore the cosmos from their computer. They can hop on an asteroid or fly with NASA’s Voyager spacecraft. They can explore individual planets or see the entire solar system moving in real time. It’s up to them: They control space and time.

In addition to exploring the solar system, the website currently features interactive explorations of the Curiosity rover’s mission on Mars; Mission Juno’s trip to Jupiter; the lunar explorations of the Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, and MoonKam missions; and the radioisotope power systems behind Curiosity and other missions.

JPL’s Eyes on the Solar System is located at

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools home page.

High School Students Operate Robotic Satellites on International Space Station

SPHERES Competition LogoOn Friday, Jan. 11th, high school students from around the world joined in fierce competition to claim the championship spot in the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2012. The young competitors operated robotic satellites aboard the International Space Station, or ISS, using programs they wrote in preparation for the event. The finalists watched the action via live downlink from the space station with anticipation, as astronauts supervised the satellites during the ISS Finals.

The finals event followed three months of online simulation competitions, during which the initial pool of 96 teams from the United States and 47 teams from Europe was narrowed to nine and six alliances, respectively. Each alliance consisted of three different teams of high school students that joined forces in November 2012 to collaborate and write the best computer programs to run on the SPHERES aboard the space station.

To read more about the ZERO Robotics challenge, visit

To get your math students involved in using robotics to discover algebra concepts, check out the NASA Explorer Schools lesson: Algebraic Equations: Calculator Controlled Robots. The lesson can be found on the NES Virtual Campus at

Smithsonian's Stars Lecture Series

Are you or your students (ages 13 years or older) curious about our nearest star, moon rocks, volcanoes and other wonders of the universe? Come to the Smithsonian’s Stars, a series of 10 lectures by Smithsonian researchers who are exploring the sun, the moon, planets, stars, galaxies and the universe. These speakers will share behind-the-scenes details about how their research is done and technologies that advance new discoveries at the Smithsonian Institution.

Each lecture begins at 5:15 p.m. and is followed by a question-and-answer session. A Discovery Station activity will take place at 4 p.m. prior to each lecture. Stay after the lecture to visit the observatory, weather permitting.

Upcoming lectures are:

•  Jan. 5, 2013 — Trees in the City: Urban Tree Cover Dynamics in the District of Columbia
•  Feb. 2, 2013 — Volcano Breath
•  Feb. 16, 2013 — Venus: 50 Years After Mariner 2
•  Mar. 2, 2013 — Robots and Humans Unite: A Decade of Astronomical Discovery with Hectospec

For more information about the Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series and to see a full schedule of upcoming lectures, visit

Questions about this lecture series should be directed to the visitor service line at 202-633-1000.

The Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series is made possible by a grant from NASA.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

Why the World Didn't End Yesterday

NASA is so sure the world won’t come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012, they have already released a video and news item for the day after.

According to media reports of an ancient Maya prophecy, the world was supposed to be destroyed on Dec. 21, 2012.

Apparently not.

“The whole thing was a misconception from the very beginning,” says Dr. John Carlson, director of the Center for Archaeoastronomy. “The Maya calendar did not end on Dec. 21, 2012, and there were no Maya prophecies foretelling the end of the world on that date.”

The truth, says Carlson, is more interesting than fiction.

To learn more, watch the video below or visit

Credit: Science@NASA.

NASA Accepting Proposals for Reduced Gravity Education Flights

NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston is accepting applications from teams of kindergarten, elementary and secondary school teachers to conduct scientific experiments aboard the agency’s reduced gravity aircraft next year.

The MicroGravity eXperience (Micro GX) flight program will take place July 12-20, 2013, at Johnson. Educators selected to fly also will participate in an online professional development course centered on microgravity science in the months before and after their flights.

Seven teams, each composed of four to five educators from a single school or school district, will be selected to participate in Micro GX. The unique academic experience includes scientific and inquiry-based research, experiential learning during the reduced gravity flight, and education/public outreach activities. Interested educators are encouraged to apply at

The deadline for proposals is Jan. 9. Selections will be announced Feb. 6.

Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks on Dec. 13-14

The annual Geminid Meteor Shower is set to peak on Dec. 13 and 14, 2012. The display, which is caused by an unusual ‘rock comet,’ could produce more than 100 meteors per hour during the dark hours before dawn this Thursday and Friday.

Credit: Science@NASA

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

NASA Accepting U.S. ARISS Proposals

NASA is now accepting proposals from U.S. schools, museums, science centers and community youth organizations, individually or working together, to host an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, contact between May 1, 2013 and Nov. 1, 2013. To maximize these radio contact opportunities, NASA is looking for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed education plan. Radio contacts are approximately 10 minutes in length.

Proposals are due January 28, 2013.

To access more information including dates and times for online information sessions, the planning guide and proposal form, visit

This opportunity to make contact with the International Space Station is an incredible connection to NASA Now: Human Research on the ISS. NASA Now is an Emmy Award winning video series brought to you by NASA Explorer Schools. To access this episode of NASA Now, visit the NES Virtual Campus,