NES National Student Symposium

The NES Virtual Student Symposium provides the opportunity for up to two teams of two students to share the results of an investigation or NASA design challenge with NASA scientists, engineers, technicians and educators. Participation in the Virtual Student Symposium is a prerequisite for getting invited to the all-expenses-paid NES National Student Symposium to be held at a NASA field center on May 2-5, 2012. The investigation or design challenge may be conducted as a classroom activity or done by students on their own, based on their own interests. The investigation or design challenge must relate to a NASA Explorer Schools teaching module or NASA Now episode on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus.

For more information about this exciting student opportunity, log into the NES Virtual Campus and visit the Student Recognition page.

NES Teacher Field Tests Activities for NASA

NASA Explorer Schools educator Cheryl May from Lebanon Middle School in Lebanon, Ky., was one of 13 educators who attended the NASA Explorer Schools’ GAVRT, or Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope, Summer recognition workshop at the Lewis Center in Apple Valley, Calif., from July 1723, 2011. May, along with the other NES teachers, learned the basics of radio astronomy and how to control the 34-meter Goldstone Radio Telescope through the Internet so students can use the telescope for their own research projects. 

Many opportunities were presented to the educators throughout this workshop. May signed on to test lessons and activities from a yet-to-be-published Juno Mission Activities Guide. With the help of teachers like May, and her students, the creators of the guide can determine how accurate and helpful their guide will be in the classroom. One of the lessons, “Interior Inferring,” has students discover the difference between evidence and inference. The students then complete a rubric and send their reviews of the activities back to the creators of the Juno Mission Workbook.

For more information about the NES GAVRT recognition workshop, visit

Link to the NASA Explorer Schools Home Page.

A Cross-discipline Unit Using Radio Jove

Radio Jove LogoVin Urbanowski, NASA Explorer Schools educator from the Academy of Information Technology & Engineering in Stamford, Conn., created a lesson, The Engineer Who Became an Artist: A Radio Jove-Inspired Unit Connecting STEM, Music and History. The lesson reinforces radio concepts by tracing the development of radio, in both radio astronomy and radio communications and helps students acquire familiarity with the audio signatures of various phenomena and operations.

For more information and to download a copy of Urbanowski’s lesson, go to the NEON article, A Cross-discipline Unit Using Radio Jove.

NES Educators Learn About Our Solar System

Solar System Participants class photoDuring the week of July 18, 2011, eight NASA Explorer Schools educators from across the country attended the Solar System Inside and Out research experience at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md.

The opportunity included hands-on activities and incredible presentations, including a look at extreme weather on other planets presented by Dr. Frank Summers. Educators received curriculum support materials related to the activities. The educators are eager to share what they learned with their students. One teacher that attended, Christine Adomeit, commented, “What a wonderful way to incorporate real-world science into lesson plans. I can’t wait to show my students what they can do with logarithmic graphs!”

Although these educators thoroughly enjoyed this experience, their students are the real winners because of the engaging NASA lessons being brought back to their classrooms.

To see photos and information showcasing NASA’s the Solar System Inside and Out, visit the facebook event page.

To earn a chance to participate in an event like this next summer, sign up to participate in the NASA Explorer Schools project.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus participant’s home page.

NES Educators Learn About Water Filtration

NES educators conduct water testing during NES recognition opportunity.Ten NASA Explorer Schools educators participated in the project’s Water Filtration Research Summer Opportunity at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The workshop took place from July 20-22, 2011.

During the exciting three-day research experience, the educators learned how water is recycled in nature, in city systems and on the International Space Station. The group toured Marshall and participated in hands-on activities that they can incorporate into their curriculum in the 2011-2012 school year. In addition, the educators traveled to Little River Canyon National Preserve where they met with a limnologist from Jacksonville State University. While at the National Preserve, they analyzed the water in the canyon stream.

To see videos and images from the NES Water Filtration Research Opportunity, visit the event page in facebook.

NES GAVRT Project Research Experience

Radio telescope at Apple Valley complexFrom July 18-22, 2011, 12 NASA Explorer Schools educators participated in the NES Goldstone Apple Valley Project located at the Lewis Center in Apple Valley, Calif.

During the five-day research experience, teachers became familiar with the use of the Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope, or GAVRT. This was an exciting venture designed to provide hands-on scientific discovery in America’s classrooms. The GAVRT project uses a series of dedicated 34-meter (110-foot) radio telescopes at NASA’s Deep Space Network Goldstone Complex connected to classrooms via the Internet. The five-day opportunity provided teachers with the curricular, operational and scientific knowledge to implement GAVRT within the framework of their classroom. Participants learned how to use special software during the workshop giving them access to the telescope for student use during the school year. Students point the massive dishes — located in California’s Mojave Desert — at targets in space and record their findings. 

With each pass of a planet or quasar, students join the ancient family of explorers who have gazed into the night sky since the beginning of time to understand their place in the universe.

To see videos and pictures from the NES GAVRT Project, go to the event page in facebook.

NES Educators Expand Their Ocean Research Skills

NES participants at Coastal Observations Research ExperienceFrom July 11-15, 2011, fourteen highly enthusiastic educators participated in the NES Coastal Observation Research Experience at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, located at Wallops Island, Virginia.

During the five-day research experience, teachers became familiar with the science and research techniques used by NASA to study coastal oceans, ocean color and Earth’s biosphere from space. They also had an opportunity to board research vessels and perform some of the same research techniques while at sea as those used by NASA scientists.

To read the participant’s blog and see videos and pictures from the NES Coastal Observation Research Experience, check out the experience’s Facebook event 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 Recognition Opportunity Sparks Idea for Classroom Activity

Research Vessel
NASA Explorer Schools educator Cheryl May, a teacher from Lebanon Middle School, created a great activity called Tracing the Toxins after attending last year’s NES Coastal Observation recognition opportunity. The goal of the activity is for students to understand the difference between toxic and harmful algal blooms. They determine the effects of phytoplankton on the aquatic food webs and learn how NASA monitors algae.

You may become eligible for this research experience by using and reporting on your use of the following: one classroom content module, one NASA Now, and one e-PD. Find out more by logging into the NES Virtual Campus and following the link called Recognition Opportunities. 

You will find a link to this exciting activity in NEON. Register, log in, join the NES group, and navigate to other NASA-related activities and look for the Tracing the Toxins forum.