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Announcing: Major (G5-16) STEM Opportunity for School Districts Starting February 2016 - Student Spaceflight Experiments Program - Mission 10 to the International Space Station


The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education announce Mission 10 to the International Space Station. This STEM education opportunity immerses grade 5-16 students across a community in an authentic, high visibility research experience, where student teams design and propose real microgravity experiments to fly in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station. The program nurtures ownership
in learning, critical thinking, problem solving, navigation of an interdisciplinary landscape, and communication skills – all reflective of the Next Generation Science Standards, the skills needed by professional scientists and engineers, and the skills desired by 21st century employers.

Each participating community will be provided a real microgravity research mini-laboratory capable of supporting a single experiment, and all launch services to fly the experiment to the International Space Station in Fall 2016, and return is safely to Earth for student harvesting and analysis. A 9-week experiment design competition in each community, held February through April 2016, and locally engaging typically 300 students (if a pre-college focus),
allows student teams to design and formally propose real experiments vying for their community's reserved mini-lab on Space Station. A formal 2-step proposal
review process, mirroring professional review, will determine the community’s flight experiment. Content resources for teachers and students support
foundational instruction on science in microgravity and experimental design. Additional programming leverages the experiment design competition to engage the community, embracing a Learning Community Model for STEM education. This includes a local art and design competition for a Mission Patch to accompany the flight experiment to Station. SSEP is therefore more suitably characterized as a community-wide STEAM experience.

TIME CRITICAL: all interested communities are asked to inquire by November 13, 2015; this allows schools and districts the time they need to assess interest
with their staff and, if appropriate, move forward with an Implementation Plan. Communities must be aboard by February 15, 2016, for a 9-week experiment design and proposal writing phase from February 22 to April 22, 2016. The flight experiment will be selected by May 26, 2016. Launch of the Mission 10 to ISS
“Casper” experiments payload is expected in Fall 2016.

NEXT STEP: carefully read the SSEP Home page, which provides an Executive Summary of the Program and the Mission 10 to ISS Flight Opportunity:

http://ssep.ncesse.org

Of interest: SSEP was showcased in Scientific American, February 17, 2015

http://goo.gl/9eSI0j

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