Frequently Requested Programs

Our Most Popular Programs

The following are a few examples of the many inservice and preservice teacher professional development programs offered by AESP. Workshops are tailored to the particular needs of the participants, their schools, and their students. Workshops vary by NASA Center and AESP works continually with schools to develop new offerings.

Astronomy 101

An introduction to the skies and how we learn what we know about objects in the sky. Join us for a guided tour and how to make astronomy accessible -- how big is the universe, what is the difference between a comet and meteorite, how do we classify the stars and how do different cultures see the stories and legends of stars. Concluded with a tour of related NASA resources and lessons.

Engineering Design Process:  Gadgets, Gizmos, and Contraptions – Build On the Moon

The adventure of designing and building on the Moon are related to actual NASA Lunar exploration missions. Use the engineering design process to design, build, test, and redesign to invent creative solutions to a series of problems. Design a spacecraft lander to touchdown safely on the lunar surface. Build a rubber band powered rover to move across the room. Modify a paper cup so it can zip down a line and drop a marble on target.

Engineering Design Process:  The Great Spaghetti Tower Challenge

Skyscrapers are impressive structures. What does it take to design and build a tall building? Investigate the forces that affect the strength and stability of a structure. Use the Engineering Design Process to identify the problem and brainstorm, design, build, test, and redesign to create an innovative design to push the limits of gravity and create the tallest free-standing structure using 20 strands of dry spaghetti, 1 meter of tape, and 1 meter of kite string. And understand the forces at work on a tower.

Exploring Our Earth From Above

This professional development webshop integrates science, technology, engineering, mathematics and geography (STEM-G) with Earth observations, remote sensing, and maps as we explore our planet Earth from above. NASA curriculum products, missions and other resources will be utilized to demonstrate an inquiry-based teaching strategy to better understand our Earth and the processes that shape it.

Exploring Our Solar System

This educators’ workshop looks at Earth’s place in space through a series of activities that recognize common misconceptions related to size and distance in studies of our solar system. Solar System workshops may focus on NASA’s exploration of the planets and how missions are designed to collect the data or they may be developed thematically to focus on wide variety of standards related to studies of the sun and planets.

Food for Thought

Space food, MMMMM good! “Food for Thought” is a new NASA curriculum designed to explore space food and the nutritional needs of the astronauts that includes a menu of inquiry activities and other resources to address this exciting topic.

Here an Earth, There an Earth, Everywhere an Earth: The Kepler Telescope Search for Habitable Planet

Are there other worlds, beyond our solar system, that could support life? NASA’s Kepler Telescope is making important discoveries to help answer that popular question. This webshop will explore how the Kepler Telescope searches for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars using the “transit” method. Participants will also learn how to use Johannes Kepler’s 3rd Law and actual Kepler Telescope data to construct graphs to record and interpret data that determines if a planet, orbiting a star in another solar system, is a candidate to possibly support “life”. Klingons, Vulcans and Romulans beware.

How High?:  Vertical Distances or Altitudes

Mathematically scale model distances. Create different types of vertical models of altitudes with layers of the atmosphere. Populate the scale model layers of the atmosphere with graphics that show where satellites, spacecraft, aircraft, and other NASA vehicles orbit or operate. Mathematically represent scale factors in terms of ratios, decimals, and percentages.

How’s the Weather?

"If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes." This is a popular saying. This workshop will explore NASA's role in our understanding and forecasting of weather. NASA STEM resources and curriculum will guide us through a "storm" of classroom activities. Join us, rain or shine.

KIte Construction and Evaluation with The “Wright” Math

Historically, kites have been used for a variety of purposes. As the Wright Brothers began their work to develop a flying machine, they constructed different kite designs to learn about stability and control for stable flight. Construct three different kite designs, collect data, and evaluate them under actual flight conditions.

Lunar Sample Certification

An introduction to Earth's closest cosmic neighbor, the Moon. Teachers who complete this workshop will be able to borrow samples of lunar rocks brought back by Apollo astronauts. The subject matter emphasis of the workshop can be tailored for teachers of elementary, middle, or high school students.

Mass vs. Weight

"Mass" and "weight" are two terms with a big difference in meaning and often incorrectly used. This session will integrate Newton’s Laws of Motion, newly developed NASA classroom activities, and video demonstrations by astronauts to explore these two terms. Come experience and enjoy this “heavy-duty” topic.

Mathematics with a NASA twist

Learn about a multitude of mathematics resources available from NASA at little to no charge. Activities will emphasize practical applications of graphing, statistics and manipulation of algebraic equations.

Modeling the Solar System:  What is a Planet?

The scale of our solar system is a challenge because of the vast distances between the sun and the planets. Make a simple cash register tape model to see the distances.Mathematical scale using different units: Astronomical Units (AU), fractions, decimals, and percentages. Distinguish between planet and dwarf planet.

NASA Engineering Design Activities

Incorporating engineering concepts into your classroom is not as hard as you think! Come join in a discussion of the engineering design process and be introduced to a number of grade appropriate NASA activities utilizing this process. Discussion will include adaptation to specific subject areas and modifications for accommodation.

NASA In the Classroom: Exploring STEM Resources

NASA is a leader in exploring our Earth and the universe around us. Each of the exciting ideas, explorations, and discoveries began in a classroom. Using NASA missions, resources and fun activities, we will explore some of the missions accomplished, those planned for the future, and how educators and parents play a vital role in the “science of exploration”.

Robotics On A Budget

Robots are a part of our everyday lives. We use them in ways we don't always realize. What are robots, how are they used in our lives and how are they used by NASA? These are just some of the questions answered in this webshop. Using NASA STEM robotics missions, curriculum and activities, we'll also explore how to use robotics, inexpensively, in your classroom to enhance your students' understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Rocketry:  Forces & Motion

Designing, constructing and launching paper rockets is a single activity or entire interdisciplinary unit that engages and inspires students and teachers alike. This workshop may be tailored to focus on many different standards associated with forces & motion, engineering design, mathematics and measurement all using easily accessible materials for the classroom on a tight budget.

Rockets:  Experimenting with Projectile Flight

Learn about the history, scientific principles, technology, and mathematics of rockets. Construct a rocket made from polyethylene insulating foam pipe and a heavy duty rubber band and use it to investigate the trajectory relationship between launch angle and range in a controlled investigation. Compare the launch angle with the distance the rocket travels to determine mathematical relationships and at what launch angle a rocket travels the furthest down range.

Smart Skies:  Fly By Math

Assume the roles of pilots, air traffic controllers, and NASA scientists to conduct two plane scenarios. Hands-on experiments to solve distance-rate-time problems. Choose from six different grade level appropriate math methods. Teacher educator guides and student workbooks and student assessments for six different two plane scenarios. All documents are downloadable from the Smart Skies: FlyByMath website .

The International Space Station: Life in Space

The International Space Station (ISS) is a unique and exciting “classroom” in space. This webshop session will explore living and working on the ISS. NASA STEM inquiry activities and on-line resources will bring this orbiting “classroom” to YOUR classroom here on Earth. Newton’s Laws of Motion, space food and nutrition, spacesuits and even how do you go to the bathroom in space are some of the topics explored during the “out of this world” webshop. Come and fill your head with “space”.

Toys in Space

Take a journey to the International Space Station, where astronauts conduct science experiments high above our Earth. In this program, toys are gathered from around the world and sent into space to become science experiments. You are the scientific investigator of these toy experiments as you predict, observe, and record how the toys behave without the effects of the earth's gravity. Newton's Laws of Motion will put to the test in space. Participants will receive copies of the astronaut videos for use in the classroom.

Wings, Strings and Flying Things

Aviation is an interesting field of real-life adventure where problems are solved through experimentation and research. Construct and fly kitchen trash bag sled kites, paper helicopters, and foam plate gliders. Investigate student readings with vocabulary lists. Learn the four forces of flight by playing aeronautical board games.