STEM Satellites: A Mobile Mathematics and Science Initiative for Orlando Metropolitan Area Children's Hospitals
The Orlando Science Center (OSC) in partnership with BASE Camp Children's Cancer Foundation and the University of Central Florida (UCF) will engage chronically ill children (cancer, sickle-cell, HIV/AIDS, etc.) and other Orlando area youth ages 10-18 who face the greatest educational disparities in NASA-themed Aeronautics, Space Exploration, and Space Science exhibits through a STEM engagement and educator professional development project entitled STEM Satellites: A Mobile Mathematics and Science Initiative for Orlando Metropolitan Area Children's Hospitals. OSC will partner with educational researchers, evaluators, and planetary scientists from the University of Central Florida to create three mobile exhibits for each of the three children's hospitals in the Orlando metropolitan area. Two additional sets of the three mobile carts will be used at OSC and UCF. The three mobile exhibits will be based on the planned NASA missions that the UCF planetary scientists are leading including a Mars-themed exhibit focusing on space exploration, an asteroid-themed exhibit, and an exhibit on microgravity. Each cart will include multiple STEM activities that incorporate NASA data and artifacts from prior NASA missions, UCF planetary science collections, and Kennedy Space Center. OSC will provide professional development and training to BASE Camp volunteers who will supervise the use of the mobile exhibits in the hospitals. These exhibits will provide authentic experiences that mirror current and planned NASA missions at a level that the children can understand. These hands-on and engaging exhibits will not only help motivate children to pursue STEM careers but will also help educate the general public about the exciting and important work that NASA carries out. Providing this level of engaging and authentic STEM activities through the mobile exhibits to this historically underrepresented population is unprecedented.
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