K-12 Education Programs

The NC Space Grant K-12 Education Program is designed to inspire secondary school students to pursue STEM careers by providing high quality, hands-on, pre- and in-service educator professional development and other opportunities.

Photo of Dr. D'Arruda Bringing Robotics into the Classroom

PI: Dr. Jose D'Arruda, UNC - Pembroke

A one-week summer workshop for twelve STEM teachers from grades 6-12 will be offered at the University of North Carolina Pembroke from June 22-26, 2009, with 2 follow-up sessions during the academic year. The workshop, which is sponsored by NASA and the North Carolina Space Grant Consortium, will be on “Bringing Robotics into the Classroom”. Each teacher will receive a $400 stipend and a $300 Lego Robotic kit for their school. The workshop will have two major purposes: (1) To introduce teachers to the use of Robotics in the classroom as a way to rekindle in students the sense of curiosity and enjoyment in learning about how the physical world works. (2)To educate teachers on how to make science and technology accessible to the general student population by using robots as a means for students to apply knowledge to something which is both challenging and fun. Robotics will be used to show how scientific knowledge is applied to the “real world”. Teachers will first learn how the basic components of a robot operate and then learn to join them together to form a robot.
The class strategy is to learn science by “actually doing science”. Teachers will use the LEGO MINDSTORMS robot kit to design, build, test and modify their own robots. In the Labs participants as teams will be challenged to construct robots that will perform tasks such as run an obstacle course, fetch an object or follow a light. The major instructional components of this project are a summer workshop designed to: (1) increase teacher knowledge and understanding of robotics in teaching science and mathematics, (2) learn how to construct robots from LEGO MINDSTORMS kits, (3) learn how to use software which is supplied in the kits, (4) learn how to install and integrate sensors into the robot and (5) learn how to integrate robotics into the classroom and to create teams of students to compete in events. The workshop will meet for six hours each weekday over a one-week period (30 contact hours) with hands-on robotic building sessions as an integral part of the program. A follow-up program that will be conducted during the following academic year will support this intensive summer workshop.

Photo of Dr. Harden PLANETS

PI: Dr. Crystal Harden, UNC - Chapel Hill

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s PLANETS workshop is a NASA-themed, standards-based professional development seminar that will be offered to elementary teachers serving in our state’s most economically distressed counties. Through six workshops the program will reach approximately 180 K-3 teachers. PLANETS workshops will empower participating teachers with increased STEM content knowledge, a resource kit that will enable them to conduct related activities in their classrooms, and will demonstrate effective ways to link STEM content to other areas of the elementary curriculum. MPSC’s full-dome video portable planetarium will be available as a training tool at every workshop site.

Photo of Dr. McNeil A Conference for Secondary School Physics Teachers

PI: Dr. Laurie McNeil, UNC - Chapel Hill

We will hold a 1.5-day conference for North Carolina high school teachers of physics and related subjects, to give them a chance to learn from experts about the latest developments in our understanding of the Universe and its origins, applications of physics to important issues such as sustainable energy and human health, and the prospect of new technologies to enhance our daily lives. They will also learn about advances in teaching and learning and how those can be applied in their own classrooms, and will network and share with one another.