NASA Educator Resource Center opens Sept. 21 at Iowa regional educational agency in Sioux City
A new NASA instructional resource center will open its doors to Iowa educators - as well as those in nearby Nebraska and South Dakota - Thursday, Sept. 21, providing access to NASA expertise and educational materials in science, math and technology.
Iowa's new Educator Resource Center -- at the Western Hills Area Education Agency in Sioux City, Iowa -- is the first to be located in a regional educational service agency and not a university.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., selected the agency through a competitive application process that resulted in a two-year renewable agreement between NASA and the agency.
The new center will hold a reception and press conference at 1:30 p.m. CDT, followed by a dedication ceremony at 2 p.m.
"Our Educator Resource Centers, like this newest facility serving Iowa and neighboring states, are part of NASA's initiative to create a place where teachers can experience and use NASA online resources, and receive professional development credits at workshops," said Alicia Beam, pre-college officer of Marshall Center's Education Department.
NASA's national network of resource centers provides educators access to materials such as lesson plans, videotapes, compact discs, audio cassettes, reference books, activities for the classroom, posters and lithographs.
Each Educator Resource Center is sponsored by a NASA facility under a regional system.
The Marshall Center is responsible for centers in six states: Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri and Tennessee. On average, each center serves 7,000 to 10,000 people each year and delivers 8,000 to 12,000 publications and other education items per year.
Western Hills -- part of the Northwest Iowa Cooperative -- has close ties to Iowa's public television network and the Iowa Department of Education. The agency also provides video conferencing to more than 750 sites through the Iowa Communications Network.
"The staff at Western Hills is excited about becoming part of NASA's network for education resources," said Jim Christensen, director of the new resource center. "We see access to the excellent NASA materials and training for teachers as a way to motivate students and to demonstrate the relationship between what they learn in school and the world of science, math, engineering and technology."
All educators - from public and private school teachers to parents who home-school their children - may use these NASA resources. For those unable to visit the center in person, the Internet and Web-based technology will make information easily available to educators and students throughout Iowa and neighboring states.
As part of the opening celebration, several outstanding area math and science students have been invited to participate in a live, virtual tour of a mock-up of the International Space Station at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. NASA exhibits, including a replica of a Space Shuttle, will be on display for the event.
The Iowa Educator Resource Center is affiliated with NASA's Aerospace Education Services Program, which uses space agency assets to support local, state and regional curriculums, as well as existing and emerging national standards.
Among those representing NASA at the event will be Beam and Will Robertson, both of Marshall Center's Education Department.