Teacher preparation and hands-on learning for 80 Fresno Unified School District fifth- and sixth-graders come together on the California State University, Fresno campus with a helping hand from NASA.

After two weeks of training from NASA at the space agency’s Ames Research Center at the Bay Area’s Moffett Field, 24 pre-service teachers – 16 from Fresno State –put their learning into practice on June 24. Pre-service teachers are junior and senior university students who plan to teach at the elementary or middle school level after graduation and obtaining a credential.

At the conclusion of an intensive two-week NASA Pre-Service Teacher Institute, they guided the children from a program called After School University on a simulated spaceship’s journey from the International Space Station to an asteroid.

As part of the adventure that never left the Fresno State campus, the teachers-to-be helped their pupils learn how to solve unexpected problems by using science and mathematics concepts related to space exploration. They teamed to land their craft on the asteroid.

It’s all part of the collaboration between Fresno State’s Kremen School of Education and Human Development and NASA to help promote science and math in the classroom so students will consider those areas when they’re making higher education and career plans. The university also is home to a NASA Education Resource Center for teachers throughout the region.

Anne Murphy, project director for the Kremen School, said the annual institute at the Ames Research Center gives the future teachers “an opportunity to utilize strategies and lessons learned at NASA and to engage students in fun, activity-based science and mathematics instruction.”

For additional information, contact Murphy at 559.278.0256 or annem@csufresno.edu.

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