Support for NASA Content Dissemination for Summer Residential Program for Elementary School Teachers

Aside from introducing engineering to K-12 students, there is great need to offer learning opportunities to K-12 teachers. Like many engineering colleges, the College of Engineering at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) promotes engineering awareness through a variety of outreach programs. While existing engineering outreach programs serve teachers, occasions for in-depth learning and expanding K-12 State curriculum via these programs is limited. This proposal will support ten elementary school teachers’ participation in a women-in-engineering outreach program called, “My Daughter is an Engineer”; the program is offered through CSULB’s Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering. While “My Daughter is an Engineer” was specifically designed to serve fifth-grade girls and their mothers, teachers will gain an understanding of the importance of early career awareness and learn how best to reach young girls during the formative school years. And while teachers will be engaged in most of the “My Daughter is an Engineer” activities, they will be provided with additional intensive learning and projects-based workshops focused on training them to weave NASA content into existing K-12 curriculum. A program outcome will involve the development of a comprehensive binder of materials that integrate NASA content while conforming to K-12 California State content standards. These materials will serve as contextual vehicles for K-12 lesson plans for classroom use; resultant materials will include exemplars of lessons plans and resources for enhancing the enjoyment of NASA content learning. Aerospace-related fieldtrips will offer teachers with a real-world glimpse of engineering as well as strengthen K-12 ties to NASA Centers. This funding will support the training of teachers for incorporating NASA content via creative activities using low-cost materials. The capacity to expose elementary school students to the excitement of engineering as well as NASA’s space program is an over-riding goal.