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Port Discovery and NASA Goddard offer engineering programs for elementary school students

5/6/2015, 8:36 a.m.
Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore, Maryland and NASA Goddard Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland have partnered to offer two ...

— Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore, Maryland and NASA Goddard Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland have partnered to offer two engineering based programs to elementary aged children in the Baltimore area. The two programs, “I’m an Engineer!” and “NASA's Sunday Experiment,” will allow children to engage in the engineering process and promote a tendency to choose Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) classes in the future.

“The goal of our collaboration is to promote student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) during a student’s elementary school years," said Dean Kern, Deputy Director for the Office of Education at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. "Students often form their interests in STEM identities and careers while engaged in hands-on, experiential types of learning opportunities— much earlier than many people probably believe to be the case."

The “I’m an Engineer!” program, based on NASA’s Beginning Engineering Science and Technology, will be offered as an after-school program at four Baltimore County sites and will introduce elementary-aged students to the principles of engineering and problem solving. Using the engineering design process, students will work on a variety of hands-on, NASA themed projects including designing and launching satellites and designing and building Martian rovers. The program is designed to allow children to fully immerse themselves in the engineering process and directly interact with their projects, independently from adults. In addition to learning about engineering at NASA, students will also develop critical thinking and communication skills from working with partners and other teams.

Babcock Presbyterian Church, Cockeysville PAL Center, Hillendale PAL Center and the Dundalk PAL Center each received four sessions of the “I’m an Engineer!” program during April and May.

The second program, NASA Sunday Experiment, will be held at Port Discovery and is open to all museum visitors. During each session, visitors will focus on a specific NASA mission and engage in a series of hands-on, inquiry based activity stations, watch videos and speak with NASA experts. The dates and topics of the sessions are:

·August 2: Optical Engineering

·August 23: Global Precipitation

Measurement

“We are so excited to partner with NASA Goddard to bring these programs to the museum and local schools,” said Nora Thompson, Director of Education at Port Discovery Children’s Museum. They are a fun and interesting way to introduce STEM education at an early age.”

The mission at Port Discovery Children’s Museum is to connect purposeful play and learning— both within our walls and beyond. The Museum offers three floors of educational, interactive exhibits and programs that promote imagination, creativity, and critical thinking skills for children from birth to age 10. To learn more about Port

Discovery Children’s Museum, visit portdiscovery.org.