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Space Science: Educators Inspiring Students in the Classroom

July 23, 2019

Space Science: Educators Inspiring Students in the Classroom

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Editor’s note: Fifty years ago on July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 crew set foot on the moon. One group who is particularly excited about the anniversary include space science educators, specifically those who attended the annual Space Exploration Educators Conference, a.k.a. “SEEC,” at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, last February. The conference brings together hundreds of teachers from across the globe, and to say they are over the moon about teaching the next generation about space is the understatement of the universe (sorry, space puns are just easy). Read the teachers’ stories about the conference and see if you’re not tempted to head to Houston next year. Be sure to check out NewsHour’s coverage of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Space Science: One day one of our kids will walk on the surface of Mars by Michelle Mohreis

Michelle Mohrweis is a robotics and engineering teacher at Bogle Jr. High in Chandler, Arizona. She teaches seventh and eighth who she says are “truly the future of our world.”

Space science educators presentation on using the High Definition Earth Viewing system in the classroom


Michelle Mohreis, Liam Kennedy and Carlos Fontantot in front of Michelle’s presentation on using the High Definition Earth Viewing system in the classroom. Photo courtesy of Michelle Mohreis

Presenting at the Space Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC) is no ordinary experience. Educators are treated to a watch party of NASA’s High Definition Earth Viewing experiment when the Cygnus spacecraft departed from the International Space Station (ISS). They then get to hear Carlos Fontanot, Imagery Manager for ISS, give a play-by-play of what was happening as Cygnus left.

SEEC brings together educators from around the world. It allows experts and educators to share their knowledge and inspire each other. In turn, we take what we learned back to our classrooms to inspire the next generation of astronauts, scientists and engineers. One day one of our kids will walk on the surface of Mars. I can only hope that by teaching my students about space, I might help them make it there!

Three years ago, I was a new teacher who was struggling to fit science into my classroom. I attended SEEC for the first time and was inspired by the ways other teachers used space to bring science into every aspect of their teaching. Now, just a few years later, I teach engineering and robotics at a junior high. Space is my most powerful tool for inspiring my students and engaging them in learning. SEEC truly was a life changing conference.

Space science educator in front of NASA space shuttle


Teacher Michelle Mohrweis in front of NASA’s space shuttle at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Photo courtesy of Michelle Mohrweis

PBS NewsHour Classroom
PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories. The site combines the best of NewsHour's reliable, trustworthy news program with lesson plans developed specifically for... See More
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