NASA y Tú and You

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¿Quiere usted inspirar la próxima generación? Do you want to inspire the next generation? The NASA y Tú or NASA and You website features inspirational videos of NASA people representing a variety of STEM careers.

Hispanic professionals at NASA discuss their work and their backgrounds in both Spanish and English. A downloadable poster has some of their stories on the back.

NASA y Tú poster with Spanish textNASA and You poster with English text
Download the NASA y Tu poster in Spanish or English

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DIY Podcast: Exploration Careers

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Exploration Careers DIY Podcast Module

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When I was teaching, one of my students’ favorite days was Career Day.

It was a big deal. The entire eighth-grade class researched careers that interested them and then created their own resumes. On Career Day, they dressed “professionally” and had job interviews with volunteers from the community.

The event was interdisciplinary, but it was mostly English- and social studies-related. I taught science and math. If I were still teaching, I would use the DIY Podcast: Exploration Careers module to involve my science classes.

Two people dressed in spacesuits work in the desertThe new module features NASA experts who make human exploration possible. We have highlighted each of them in previous modules. But in this one, the experts talk more about what they do on their jobs and how they came to that position. They describe some of the most interesting things they have done while working at NASA. Everyone has a story.

We also have clips from NASA human resource specialists. These are the people who choose students for internships and hire new employees. One of the specialists, Karen Burton, gives interview tips and hints on how to prepare now for a future career. The other, Chris Randall, is a former aerospace engineer who came to NASA as an intern. Now he is the director of the Pathways Program at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The Pathways Program is the new internship program that has replaced the cooperative education program at NASA. Randall gives insight on the type of worker NASA will be looking for in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields.

DIY Podcast: Exploration Careers

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Coming to Your Neighborhood

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It’s cool to watch the International Space Station fly overhead. The problem is you have to remember to check the sighting opportunities page to know when and if the station will be flying over your location.

Smartphones and tablet computers have apps that send alerts for station flyovers. The International Space Station above EarthBut what if you don’t have either?

Spot the Station to the rescue!

A new service that was announced on Nov. 2, the 12th anniversary of a human presence on the space station, alerts subscribers to station-sighting opportunities. Alerts are sent as an email or as a text message hours before the station flies over the subscriber’s neighborhood. Only flyovers that are high enough in the sky and last long enough to view are announced in the alert.

You and your students may sign up to have alerts sent to your phone or email. You may also want to create a multimedia project using one of our space-station-related DIY Podcast modules:

•    Space Station
•    Recycling
•    Micro-g
•    Fitness
•    Lab Safety
•    Solar Arrays
•    Sports Demo

The last week of November and the first week of December will offer good sighting opportunities in many locations.

Spot the Station

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Failure Analysis Equals CSI: NASA

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When we interviewed materials engineer Victoria (Torey) Long for Torey Long and coworkers in the failure analysis lab the Failure Prevention module, she described the job that she and her teammates do in the failure analysis lab as NASA’s version of detective work. In their interviews, Long and materials engineer Clara Wright both mentioned something about their childhoods
that probably made them natural-born failure analysts. Long’s pastime was reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Wright liked to construct jigsaw puzzles.

If you have students who enjoy solving problems and mysteries, they probably will enjoy creating a multimedia project with the Failure Prevention module. They may also like reading the article   CSI: NASA. It is about the failure analysis lab at Kennedy Space Center.
The lab, nicknamed “Malfunction Junction,” is the place where
mysteries are solved. The article intimates that the failure
analysis team is similar to TV’s crime investigators. They investigate
mishaps with rocket hardware. Clara Wright at a microscope in the failure analysis labIf something goes wrong with a launch, this is the team to call.

The article also gives hints about the type of personalities that are better suited for this kind of work. Who knows? A future engineer   or failure analyst may be sitting in your classroom who never knew that this career choice is an option.

DIY Podcast: Failure Prevention

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Watch a Live Downlink

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Tune in to NASA TV on Nov. 15 at 11:35 a.m. EST to see students involved in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program talk live with astronauts Suni Williams and Kevin Ford who are on the International Space Station. Expedition 33 mission patch

SSEP is an educational research opportunity that allows students to design and send experiments to the space station through a partnership with NanoRacks, LLC. Williams has been involved in activating the latest round of SSEP experiments brought up on the Dragon spacecraft in early October.

The downlink, hosted at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., takes place during International Education Week. IEW is a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education that celebrates the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller, NASM Director General Jack Dailey, Smithsonian Institute Assistant Secretary for Education and Access Claudine Brown, and the NASA Associate Administrator for Education Leland Melvin will participate in the program.

Watch the downlink; then build a multimedia project with the Do-It-Yourself Podcast module Space Station.


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Sort of Like Earth

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A different approach to teaching the water cycle and the carbon cycle might be to compare them to how the Environmental Control and Life Support System, or ECLSS, works on the International Space Station. You can use the DIY Podcast module: Recycling to make the comparison. Recycling on the space station takes its cues from Mother Nature herself.

Like Earth, the space station has a series of systems that come together to make life possible. Even though two-thirds of Earth is covered in water, that amount would have been depleted long ago if it weren’t for nature’s water cycle. The station began with a clean supply of water on board for its crew. Then, like on Earth, the water is recycled to use again. Trees, plants and phytoplankton on Earth recycle carbon dioxide and oxygen through the carbon cycle. The station’s ECLSS has a Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly and an Oxygen Generation System to supply its inhabitants with air to breathe.

Illustration of Earth's water cycle

Students can build podcast episodes or other multimedia projects about Earth’s cycles using the resources in the Recycling module. The resources include a water cycle video, a video of the ECLSS water cycle and a carbon cycle illustration.

Here are a few more resources that you can use for teaching Earth’s cycles:

DIY Podcast: Recycling
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Failure Prevention and National Education Standards

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You know how your students ask, “When am I ever goingto use this?” It’s a legitimate question. When they don’t see a use for aconcept, they won’t believe it’s worth learning. You may ask yourself the samequestion when you look at the DIY Podcast: Failure Prevention module. If youdon’t think the module has a practical application, you won’t use it.

The Failure Prevention module can be used to support severalstandards and benchmarks of the InternationalTechnology and Engineering Educators Association’s Standards for TechnologicalLiteracy:

Standard 2,Benchmark Q: Malfunctions of any part of a systemmay affect the function and quality of the system.

Standard 2,Benchmark DD: Quality control is a planned processto ensure that a product, service, or system meets established criteria.NASA technicians prepare to test a MD-500 helicopter with four crash test dummies inside

Standard 7,Benchmark C: Many inventions and innovations haveevolved using slow and methodical processes of tests and refinements.

Standard 7,Benchmark G: Most technological development hasbeen evolutionary, the result of a series of refinements to a basic invention.

Standard 9,Benchmark E: Models are used to communicate andtest design ideas and processes.

Standard 9, Benchmark H: Modeling,testing, evaluating, and modifying are used to transform ideas into practical solutions.

Standard 9,Benchmark K: A prototype is a working model used totest a design concept by making actual observations and necessary adjustments.

Standard 10: Students willdevelop an understanding of the role of

Alt tag: NASA technicians prepare to test a MD-500 helicopter with four crash test dummies inside


troubleshooting,research and development, invention and innovation, and experimentation inproblem solving.

Standard 11Benchmark K: Test and evaluate the design inrelation to pre-established requirements, such as criteria and constraints, andrefine as needed.

Standard 11Benchmark O: Refine a design by using prototypesand modeling to ensure quality, efficiency, and productivity of the finalproduct.

Standard 11Benchmark P: Evaluate the design solution usingconceptual, physical, and mathematical models at various intervals of thedesign process in order to check for proper design and to note areas whereimprovements are needed.

Standard 12Benchmark M: Diagnose a system that ismalfunctioning and use tools, materials, machines, and knowledge to repair it.

Standard 12Benchmark N: Troubleshoot, analyze, and maintainsystems to ensure safe and proper function and precision.

Your students can become more technologically literate asthey create a project using the Failure Prevention module.

DIY Podcast: Failure Prevention

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Using the New DIY Podcast Video Delivery Tool

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With our newest module, Rocket Science, we are using a new video delivery tool. NASA’s Video Gallery now houses the videos. Instead of downloading a Zip file, you can download one video at a reduced file size. Reduced file sizes mean faster downloads and less bandwidth and storage space usage. This capability is perfect if your school has limited space for files.

Another cool thing about the videos in the Gallery is that you can watch them on devices that do not use Flash players. So iPad and iPhone users can watch these videos now. Use a downloader app to put files on your device and a video editing app to build podcast episodes. You also can share them via a variety of social media.

Download DIY Podcast Rocket Science videos from NASA’s Video Gallery

Here’s a tip for downloading: On some browsers, you need to right click the “Download Video” button to be able to name the files as you like.

Windows XP and Vista users with MovieMaker should note that the videos download as mp4 files. You need to use a video converter to change the files from mp4 to .wmv files. Search the Web for a free converter. Be sure to read reviews to find the best.

I hope this new video format opens up new ideas and possibilities of how you can use DIY Podcast videos.

DIY Podcast Rocket Science

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Failure Prevention Is an Option

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When I first learned we were to create a module about failure, I was concerned: Does NASA really want to talk about failure? How can teachers use “failure” in their studies?

As I researched the topic, I realized that failure is not always as devastating as it sounds. Failure is a lesson learned. And you know the cliché: You don’t fail until you quit.

Failure is not the end; it’s part of the process. That’s what we want students to recognize as they create podcasts or multimedia projects using the new DIY Podcast module, Failure Prevention.

Child wearing jetpack stands near the words Failure Prevention

Because NASA’s goal is success, studying “failure” is a big part of what we do — we want to prevent failure. NASA scientists and engineers plan and test to the extremes. They know that a piece of hardware that survives in extreme conditions will succeed under normal working conditions.

So where can you apply this module to your curriculum? Science and technology classes would be a perfect fit. We will discuss more about the module and educational standards in a future post.

Much of the content of this module explains or shows the ways NASA tests models and prototypes to prevent failure. We have experts Victoria (Torey) Long and Clara Wright of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. They are materials engineers who analyze failures after they’ve occurred. Besides several sound bites discussing failure prevention and analysis, Long and Wright demonstrate some of the techniques they use for analyzing failure.

Camille Alleyne of NASA’s Johnson Space Center was the deputy manager for the test and verification program for the Orion crew and service module. She too lends her expertise about failure prevention.

One of the exciting parts of the video clips is our selection of historic failures — exploding rockets. We all know that students will enjoy those. We also have links to recent hardware tests that NASA has performed, including dropping a test vehicle into water.

No NASA product about failure would be complete without the audio clip from NASA’s most successful failure — Apollo 13’s, “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” Even though the mission did not land on the moon, NASA gained experience in safely returning the crew to Earth after a malfunction.

I hope you and your students are successful when you build a podcast about preventing failure!

DIY Podcast: Failure Prevention

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Lessons in Recycling

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NASA has educational products to supplement your lessons as you create a multimedia product about recycling.

The Cleaning Water Activity is a lesson in which students build a water filtering system from a 2-liter plastic bottle and then test its efficiency. This lesson is also available in Spanish.Waste Limitation Management and Recycling Design Challenge educator guide

The Environmental Control and Life Support Systems Water Filtration Challenge is an educator guide with background information and activities. The purpose of the guide is for students to learn about the space station ECLSS that purifies waste water. Groups of students build and test water filtration systems made from 0.5-liter water bottles. As a class, students use ideas from the best water filters to create a classroom design.

For more resources, refer to the Waste Limitation Management and Recycling Design Challenge. This guide has background information about the properties of water, the water cycle and the ECLSS. The purpose of the guide is to be a starting point for students to “begin researching and answering the challenging questions of how to maintain human habitations on the moon and other planets in our solar system.”

Students are offered five activities to try different methods of water filtering and purification. The design challenge section has students design and test a complete water recycling system based on the methods they’ve already tested.

DIY Podcast: Recycling

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