LDISD Teacher Selected for NASA Liftoff Institute

Posted by Melaynee Broadstreet on 5/4/2016

Mrs. Olivia Stalnaker, a teacher from Lake Dallas Middle School in Lake Dallas, Texas, has been selected from across the nation for the prestigious LiftOff Summer Institute to be held at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas this summer. This program sponsored by NASA’s Texas Space Grant Consortium selects teachers from across the U.S. who will increase their knowledge of space education through the LiftOff Professional Development Summer Institute.

LiftOff is a collaborative effort of Texas Space Grant Consortium members and affiliates, NASA, and industry. Teachers apply for LiftOff and are selected competitively. The workshops are organized around an aerospace or space science theme drawn from NASA’s diverse engineering and scientific research programs. The theme for LiftOff 2016 is Exploration: Past, Present and Future. The program combines the strengths of collaborators to enrich teaching and learning of science, mathematics, technology and engineering.

The competitive weeklong institute features a series of workshops, hands-on activities, field investigations, and presentations by NASA scientists and engineers working on various missions. The International Space Station is a laboratory, observatory, and factory in space. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live and work in space? What are the biological factors, psychological trials, and physical challenges?

The International Space Station (ISS) is a unique spacecraft in low-Earth orbit. It is the largest and longest inhabited object ever to orbit the Earth. There has been a permanent human presence on the space station since 2000. The ISS is an amazing feat of technology that allows humans to explore, live in, and perform science in space. Onboard the ISS, crew members live and work in a reduced gravity environment. This environment allows crew members to conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy and meteorology that could not be done on Earth. It also offers a rare opportunity for the testing of the spacecraft systems that will be required for missions to Mars and the Moon.

The ISS is approximately the size of an American football field and consists of 15 pressurized modules for research and crew living quarters and an extensive integrated truss structure that provides power to the space station from the sun. It is an incredibly complex spacecraft made from science and technology.

Educators selected will come together June 26-July 1 in Houston, Texas to conduct experiments, tour facilities, and network with other educators while sharing innovative lesson plans and ideas. They will return to their respective districts, train other educators, and use new materials in the classroom. The LiftOff workshops prove that the excitement teachers, and more importantly, their students, feel about space science and how exploration can be tapped to enrich science, math, engineering, and technology. The workshops also provide teachers the rare – and for most, unique – opportunity to spend a week working with professional scientists and engineers at the cutting edge of space exploration.

This nationally competitive, educational training for teachers is sponsored by NASA’s Texas Space Grant Consortium. Teachers interested in applying for LiftOff 2016 may obtain information from the internet at the following URL: http://www.tsgc.utexas.edu/liftoff/  Questions? Contact Margaret Baguio, Texas Space Grant Consortium at 512-471-6922 or Baguio@tsgc.utexas.edu