LASP education and outreach staff work to create additional programming based on the current needs and research interests of LASP scientists. Below is a summary of our current pilot programs.
High-Altitude Ballooning Project
The High-Altitude Ballooning Project is a NASA-funded educational program. We are building an interactive Flash-based computer game for students to use, due out later this year.
This project will result in a comprehensive program for middle school students in authentic balloon instrumentation experiments. LASP mentors will work with students to design and create simple experiments that will launch twice during three consecutive school years beginning in 2011-12.
Students will be exposed to authentic engineering through creating hypotheses, coming up with designs to test their hypotheses, and testing/reevaluating their designs. The culminating product will be launching the balloon to collect authentic data for classroom analysis.
LASP education and outreach staff will use the class-based program to build an electronic version of the program. The electronic version, or “interactive,” will be available online and via CD-ROM so that audiences not associated with the in-class program can have a “virtual” ballooning experience.
Public Lecture Series
The LASP Public Lecture series, an ongoing NASA-funded outreach program, offers six to seven public presentations during the school calendar. The presentations cover a wide range of topics, consistent with areas of research conducted by LASP scientists. We also began offering programming to the southern Colorado town of Trinidad in 2012.
LASP education and outreach staff and scientists, in partnership with the University of Colorado Office for University Outreach, will conduct two talks each year in rural communities across the state. The lectures will be accompanied by visits to local schools, and a community-based “Family Night.” All of these program components will focus on a common theme, driven by the current research of LASP scientists, which will allow us to engage students and adults in exploring specific topics in depth.
The school-based activities and family nights will incorporate curriculum and materials from existing NASA and LASP resources. These resources will include lessons from NASA-approved products such as Exploring Magnetism, Space Weather: Exploring Sun-Earth Connections, and Dancing Lights, and will focus on a variety of missions and scientific research. The students and families of the Trinidad community will be exposed to the latest NASA research and scientific discoveries through this unique community outreach program.
Junior Aerospace Engineering Program
The Junior Aerospace Engineering Program is a NASA-funded educational program being held during the summers of 2014, 2016, and 2018.
This project, led by LASP, with support from the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI), introduces underserved and underrepresented Colorado students to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education and careers. During the course of the program, students ranging in age from elementary through high school, are given an overview of basic physics, the lunar and space environment, and research conducted at the CU-Boulder Institute for Modeling Plasma, Atmospheres and Cosmic Dust (IMPACT). These topics will serve as a foundation for the students as they learn how to design, build, and program their own rovers and rockets.
A cohort of students will join us every-other summer as they graduate from elementary to middle to high school. The camp is based on our very successful pilot program, conducted in the summer of 2012, which taught ten underserved/underrepresented students from the Denver area how to work in small teams to program and operate a robotic rover.
LASP Rocket Program E/PO
The LASP Rocket Program develops and conducts various Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) for students in and around the Boulder Valley.