Spaceward Bound is a joint NASA-Mars Society program to train K-12 teachers in how to engage their students in activities that will inspire careers in the space sciences by taking teachers into the field with scientists who are working on space-related research in a given location. First instituted by scientists and researchers at NASA Ames, today researchers involved in that early project are still holding Spaceward Bound field expeditions all over the world.
Spaceward Bound Utah is a 5-day workshop at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) outside Hanksville, Utah where K-12 teachers from Utah will be able to experience what living on Mars might be like in the future. The MDRS is a research facility that has been developed to simulate an early research base on Mars. The campus includes a mock spacecraft designed to land on Mars, which serves as the living quarters for the crews when they are on site. There is also an engineering bay, a greenhouse, a fully equipped science laboratory and two observatories at the station. Electric vehicles and spacesuits designed to mimic what we would have on the red planet are available for crews to explore the landscape surrounding the station, which is a true geologic Mars analog. The focus will be on in situ experiences that can be replicated in a classroom and allow all students to conduct activities and experiments that will be done on Mars.
MDRS management is looking for eight enthusiastic Utah-based teachers interested in living and working under the same operational constraints that would be encountered while living and working on Mars, while participating in a workshop developed by master teachers and led by an amazing teacher from Salt Lake City. Together they will develop classroom activities based on their experiences at the facility. The focus will be on in situ experiences that can be replicated in a classroom and allow all students to conduct activities and experiments that will be done on Mars. This project is designed to give teachers insight into how to integrate the real science we will need on Mars with activities that can be conducted in the classroom and will adhere to current curricula standards and improve student outcomes.
The session for Cohort 4 will be held this winter, from December 11-17, 2022.
Selected teachers will have their professional fees waived. These fees cover room, board, and use of all facilities and scientific equipment. Travel (up to $500) will be reimbursed at their school’s travel rates or actual expenses, whichever is higher. Teaching materials and science supplies will be provided. All participants are required to be fully vaccinated and up to date with boosters for COVID.
If you are an educator at a school or educational center in Utah and are interested in participating in this unique program, please contact the Principal Investigator, Dr. Shannon Rupert, at [email protected] Please include a brief summary of your teaching background in your email, as well as a brief description of why you would like to attend.