2010 Annual Science Report

NASA Ames Research Center Reporting  |  SEP 2009 – AUG 2010

EPO Activity: Oklahoma Choctaw Nation Education Collaboration

Project Progress

The Ames Team has partnered with Hartshorne High School and Jones Academy Residential School on the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma to provide Native American students and educators the opportunity to participate in real-time, interactive events. Team member Andy Mattioda hosted a series of astrobiology and career lectures given by Ames scientists, using video conferencing and webcast technology via NASA’s Digital Learning Network. These live distance-learning events provided students and educators with the opportunity to interact directly with, and ask questions of Ames Team members and other experts.

Native American students are a valuable resource to NASA because they are promising candidates to join our next generation of explorers. The Ames Team will continue to reach out to this community by creating opportunities to introduce minority-institution educators to the field of astrobiology, including live webchats and an astrobiology educator workshop. In partnership with the SETI Institute, the Ames Team will invite Choctaw Nation educators to participate in the “Astrobiology Summer Science Experience for Teachers” workshop. Educators will be paired with Ames team members to take the course, and arrangements will be made for follow-up astrobiology workshops in Choctaw Nation schools. This will assist in the infusion of astrobiology-curriculum-based programs into classrooms, and will reach students who are underrepresented in the STEM fields.

It is the Team’s goal to expand the scope of the lecture series, establish an educational website to archive the lectures allowing the teachers the ability to incorporate the material into their lesson plans, and to assist the instructors in coordinating the classroom material with the lecture series.