Soda Bottle Rocket — Design, Build and Test a Model Rocket

Soda bottle rocket ready to launchHere is a great student activity for the springtime — have your students construct and launch a soda bottle rocket. This fun but highly educational activity demonstrates Newton’s Laws of Motion. Find out about other ways you can challenge your students by doing some of the other extensions to the Lunar Nautics module.

To find out more about this and other Lunar Nautics lessons, read the article in NEON.

Building and Dropping Mars Landers — Six Minutes of Terror

Cartoon: Shuttle orbiting Earth

Students in Donna Rand’s class at East Hartford-Glastonbury Elementary Magnet School conducted an activity called Building & Dropping Mars Landers — 6 Minutes of Terror. To introduce the activity, students watched the NASA video “Six Minutes of Terror.” Rand’s fourth-grade students worked in teams to design and build Mars landers that contained a glass ornament payload. The landers were dropped from the gym ceiling. The goal of the activity was to deliver the ornament safely to the gym floor.

This activity is now a part of Rand’s Force and Motion science unit. 

For pictures and video go to the “Six Minutes of Terror” article in NEON

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

Tornado Tracks in Mississippi and Alabama

Artist Concept: Aqua satellite above EarthFor current events in your class, use the Earth Observatory website for NASA satellite images showing the path of exposed ground left in the wake of recent tornadoes. You will find images taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite on April 28, 2011.

To find more information about tornado images on the Earth Observatory website, refer to the Earth Observatory article in NEON

Live Chat With NASA Astronaut Michael J. Foreman

NASA Explorer Schools would like to extend an invitation to K-12 students across the United States to participate in a webchat with astronaut and veteran spacewalker Mike Foreman. The event will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. EST on Nov. 22, 2010. Foreman will answer questions about his spacewalking experiences, living and working in the microgravity environment of space, and his unique career path from high school through astronaut training.

For more information go to the information page on the NES Virtual Campus.

Register for GRAIL MoonKAM

images of moon's surfaceIn fall 2011, NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, mission is scheduled to launch twin spacecraft in tandem low-altitude orbits around the moon. The spacecraft will measure the moon’s gravity in unprecedented detail. The mission will answer key questions about the moon’s internal structure and give scientists a better understanding of how our solar system formed. 

The satellites will carry special cameras, dubbed MoonKam, which stands for Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students. During the science phase of the mission, students will send in requests for the cameras to take photos of specific areas on the lunar surface. The images will be posted on the Internet, and students can refer to them as they study highlands, maria and other features of the moon’s topography.

Register at the GRAIL MoonKam website to receive information and resources about this unique opportunity and stay up-to-date with GRAIL MoonKAM news and events.

Barrett Elementary School Wins First Prize in Spaced Out Sports Challenge

News flash from Kate Waller Barrett Elementary School’s Project Discovery in Arlington, Va.

Number 1 graphicBarrett’s NASA Save the Earth team won first prize in the Spaced Out Sports Challenge Contest! NASA contacted staff members Allyson Greene, Wendy Cohen, Laurie Sullivan, and Terry Bratt with the good news. Out of 57 entries nationwide, Barrett Elementary took first place in the contest. This accomplishment was the result of a huge team effort by all of the fifth-grade teachers, along with Renee Shaw’s wonderful filming and editing talents. The students worked very hard to design a fun, yet challenging sports-based game for astronauts on the International Space Station to play on an upcoming mission.

For taking first place, the students’ game will be played by the International Space Station crew and recorded for a future NASA TV broadcast. Barrett students will communicate with the astronauts about their game plan. 

Information about the contest was posted on the NES Teachers Corner on Nov. 9, 2010.

Read a description of the contest and find a link to the school’s website with additional contest details and pictures in the article in NEON.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

NES National Student Symposium Showcases Student Research

Students from across the nation will gather at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida May 4-7 for the NASA Explorer Schools National Student Symposium. Future leaders in science, technology, education and math, or STEM, will present their work to NASA scientists, engineers, fellow students and educators.

The competitively selected group of fourth through 12th-graders consists of 58 students and their teachers. The various student research projects were designed to improve learning and bolster interest in STEM disciplines.

The students were required to complete an original investigation focused on existing NASA missions or research interests. Students presented their work to experts at virtual regional symposia held January through March at NASA centers using the agency’s Digital Learning Network.

In addition to presenting their work at the national symposium, participants also will learn more about NASA’s research activities and exploration missions. Students will tour a variety of operational facilities at Kennedy, including the space shuttle launch complex, and participate in a webcase of a career panel featuring NASA scientists, engineers and specialists.

Congratulations to the students and schools attending the National Student Symposium:

School Name



Orleans Elementary School


Hot Air Balloon

Forest Heights Elementary School


When They Build It, We Will Come

Forest Lake Elementary Technology Magnet School


Hand Sanitizer-Friend or Foe?

Franke Park Elementary School


The Insulation Properties of Snow

Johnson Magnet for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics


NASA Lunar Plant Growth Chamber

Kate Waller Barrett Elementary School


Save the Earth

Kenneth J Carberry Intermediate School


Growing Crystals

Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School


It’s Just Right

Oceanair Elementary School


What is the Effect of Temperature on the Survival Rate of Yeast?




Harding Middle School


Testing the Effects of Altering Viscosities of Nutritions Supplements

Hobgood Elementary School


One if By Sea, Two if By Land

Lebanon Middle School


Growing plants on the Moon

Northeast Nodaway R-V


The Effect of the Number of Straws on the Distance the Rocket  Racer Travels

Dr. Albert Einstein Academy


Lunar Plant Growth Chamber

Edward Harris Jr. Middle School


Dirty, Stinky Water

Ellen Ochoa Learning Center


Moldilocks and the FunGuy (Fungi)

Island City Research Academy


Life on the Moon

Broughal Middle School


Quasar or Black Hole

Ferndale Middle School


Planting the Future

Hudson Middle School


Water Filtration Challenge

Johnston Middle School


Microbes in Space

Key Peninsula Middle School


Waste Water Recycling System

Shelburne Community School


NASA On Target Challenge

Two Rivers Magnet Middle School


Life on Europa

Middle School at Parkside

7, 8

Mission to Phoebe




Albertville High School


Engineering Design Challenge: Water Filtration 

Central Florida Aerospace Academy of Kathleen High School


The Effect of Sodiium Hypochlorite on the Efficiencies of Carbon Filters

Covenant Christian High School


Parabolar in Sapce and Time

Newnan High School


Lunar Surface Instrumentation

NES Gearing Up for the 2011-2012 School Year

NASA Explorer Schools will begin re-enrollment for the upcoming school year beginning on May 2. By re-enrolling, you will have continued access to engaging and exciting classroom materials from NES, including 20 new product modules for 2011-2012, and a fresh collection of NASA Now and live chat events planned for the coming school year.

When current registered participants log on to the Virtual Campus after May 2, a pop-up window will appear.

Learn more about enrolling in NES for the 2011-2012 school year!

Vesta Fiesta: August 5-7, 2011. Save the Date!

Cartoon of Vesta with sombreroCelebrate the beginning of Dawn’s year-long exploration of new worlds. After close to four years cruising at stunning speeds, the robotic spacecraft is catching up to its first destination in the main asteroid belt: Vesta. Don’t Dawn and Vesta deserve a fiesta?

Yes! Vesta Fiestas will rock the nation – one may be yours! Join the celebration by hosting an event with your class, school club, your community, or a local museum. Visit the mission’s website for on-going cool connections with Dawn mission scientists, opportunities for networking with a local observatory, materials for recruiting fiesta-goers, and great activities for the party itself.

Climb on Board for a Fun-Filled Adventure

NASA Explorer Schools educator Elizabeth Petry from Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School used NES resources to encourage her students to read and write. Students began their adventure by participating in a videoconference activity in which they explored the solar system. Afterward, students conducted research and prepared a fact to share about their planet as part of a Reader’s Theater activity. Petry showed the NASA Now program, “Reasons for the Seasons,” and arranged for students to participate in a NASA Digital Learning Network videoconference, Our Solar Neighborhood.

Read more about this adventure in the article in NEON.