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Opportunities for K-12 Educators
Opportunities for K-12 Educators and Students >> Opportunities for K-12 Educators

teachers using parallaxThe Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium sponsors a wide variety of professional development opportunities, special events and programs for educators, which are located in the "Conferences and Workshops" section and the "Special Events, Projects and Opportunities" section below. Although the items listed in the "Additional Opportunities" section are not specifically sponsored by our organization, we highly recommend each and every one!

Conferences & Workshops

Special Events, Projects and Opportunities

Additional Opportunities

Science Workshops for Educators

For: 5-12 grade educators

Probing for innovative ways to teach science in your classroom? Investigating how to stay informed about the latest science research?

Keep pace with the latest science research, engage in standards-based classroom activities and explore ways to make science fun as you work side by side with Penn State faculty in our workshops. You can enjoy summertime’s more leisurely pace on campus as you network with peers from across the country. Sign up today and find out why most of our teachers come back to take additional courses in our series!

Workshops provide teachers with:

  • enhanced knowledge,
  • classroom resources and
  • increased confidence
Graduate Credit and Act 48:
All educators will receive 2 graduate credits. Pennsylvania educators will receive Act 48 hours.

Science, Technology & Society by Green Design Educator Seminars

Educators attend three networking/seminar days to share their experiences related to implementing the STS by Green Design teaching strategy into their curriculum. Using the Green Design approach, teachers have engaged their students in a life cycle analysis of products and strategies that can lead students to a better understanding of the manufacturing and growing of products in environmentally sound ways.

The STS by Green Design seminars are co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium. Contact Charylene Philp for more information:

Dr. Charylene Philp
Clarion University
112 Carrier Bldg
Clarion, PA 16214
Tel: (814) 226-3210
Fax: (814) 226-2039

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Governor’s Institute (STEM GI) 2008

July 28 through August 1, 2008

The Governor is committed to Pennsylvania’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Initiative. STEM is a cross-agency/cross-sector initiative led by the Department of Education to prepare the commonwealth for a future driven by innovation and global competition. A cornerstone of this effort is the formation of a state-wide STEM strategy, to align and enhance existing resources while developing new programs and partnerships that allow us to engage in a science, technology, engineering and math education redesign.

Goal: Introduce educators and administrators to the importance of integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) as a means to securing the economic future of our state and nation in a world of global competition.

For additional information, download the following documents:

Are you looking for a Guest Speaker?

For: K-12 grade educators

The Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium awards fellowships to high achieving Penn State graduate students every year. Part of their duties as a Fellow include mentoring others on areas related to their research. Several of our Fellows have expressed an interest in mentoring school-age students. A list of our current Fellows is located at

If you are interested in inviting a Fellow into your classroom, please send an email to with your name, school, school address, grade, topics you would be interested in, phone, email and your deadline for response. Once we receive your feedback, we will try to pair you with a Space Grant Fellow. The Fellow will then contact you to make further arrangements. Due to time constraints, all requests may not be met.

Astrobiology: The Search for Life in the Universe Educator Supplement for 5-10 grade

For: K-12 Educators; Middle and High School Students

In January 2001, the Research Penn State magazine included an extended article on Astrobiology that was based on the previous year's lectures presented during the Frontiers of Science Lecture series on Astrobiology. The article, written at a High School level, is now available as a separate magazine supplement and is appropriate for educators, students, researchers, and the community at large.

Astrobiology classroom resources at the NASA Astrobiology Institute

For: K-12 educators

The Penn State Astrobiology Research Center (PSARC) is a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Astrobiology is devoted to the scientific study of life in the universe-its origin, evolution, distribution, and future. This multidisciplinary field brings together the physical and biological sciences to address some of the most fundamental questions of the natural world: How do living systems emerge? How do habitable worlds form and how do they evolve? Does life exist on worlds other than Earth? How could terrestrial life potentially survive and adapt beyond our home planet?

Astrobiology is the perfect context to tie together several units within your curriculum or introduce new and exciting research. Visit the NAI website to find out about resources and workshops or contact our office for more information.

Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association Convention: Workshops and Exhibit

PSTAEvery year, the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium and members of the Pennsylvania-NASA Education Collaborative present workshops along with an exhibit at the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association (PSTA) convention. The goals of the workshops are to engage educators in the latest NASA educational opportunities, research and resources, and to improve student learning by providing ideas for modifying and enhancing science curriculum. Topics for NASA workshops at the 2003 convention include the Centennial of Flight, Astrobiology, Mars Exploration, the Sun-Earth Connection and the Spirit of Exploration with Lewis and Clark. Our exhibit provides information on NASA educational resources that serve PA educators and students. We hope to see you there!

Exploration Day at Penn State (annual)

For: All Ages
Date: Annually in April
Fee: Free

Exploration Day at Penn State is a celebration of science, technology and engineering research and activities. Join us as we explore Earth, air and space research and education through poster displays, hands-on activities and presentations. Educators and students can sign up for giveaways. The annual event is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium and is a supplement to the national Space Day celebration. For more information on Exploration Day at Penn State, visit

Space Explorers Simulated NASA Missions (ongoing)


Space Explorers promotes discovery, inquiry, and analysis by offering standards-based curricula, mission simulations, and experiments that incorporate actual NASA data. Through these Internet-based programs, the company strives to inspire a new generation of explorers to pursue careers in science, math and technology.

NASA Educators Website

For: K-12 Grade Educators

The NASA Educators website contains information for teachers and students, including workshops, funding opportunities, challenges and special events.

Space Exploration Educators Conference

For: K-12 Grade Educators
Date: Annually in February

issSpace Center Houston hosts the Annual Space Exploration Educators Conference in February every year. All K-12 educators are invited for two "intense days of complete submersion into the world of the International Space Station. Attend sessions hosted by the actual scientists, engineers, and astronauts that are working to make the Space Station a reality."

NASA Explorer Schools

For: K-12 Grade Educators

Become a NASA Explorer School and your school or school district will enter into a unique three-year partnership with NASA to bring exciting opportunities to educators, students, and families through:

  1. Sustained professional development,
  2. Exciting student learning opportunities,
  3. Integration of technology, and
  4. Involvement of families.

Competitive applications and selection of the NES teams occur each spring. Up to 50 teams will be added each year, for a maximum total of 150 teams.

NASA LiftOff Summer Institute

LiftOff Summer InstituteFor: 6-12 Grade Educators
Date: Annually in the summer

Beginning in the summer of 1990, the Texas Space Grant Consortium initiated a summer series of educational/training workshops for teachers. These aerospace workshops, called LiftOff Summer Institute, emphasize science, mathematics, and engineering learning experiences by incorporating a different NASA mission area as the central theme each year. Teacher participants are provided with knowledge, materials, and experience through hands-on, minds-on activities and field trips that promote aerospace enrichment activities to others.

NASA's Mission to Mars Educators Resources

For: K-12 Educators and Students

Check out the following websites to help you follow NASA's missions to Mars...

National Space Day Celebration (annual)

For: K-12 students and general public (Space Day Design Challenges are for 4th-8th grade)
Date: first Friday in May

"Since its launch in 1997, the Space Day educational initiative, which takes place on the first Thursday of each May, has evolved into a massive grassroots effort dedicated to the extraordinary achievements, benefits and opportunities in the exploration and use of space. The ultimate goal is to promote math, science, technology and engineering education by nurturing young peoples' enthusiasm for the wonders of the universe and inspiring them to continue the stellar work of today's space explorers."

Penn State Continuing Education and Professional Development for Educators

For: PreK-12 + educators
Website: http://www.ed.psu.ed/ContinuingEd

Find out about courses, workshops, and conferences at Penn State. You can search by program, subject, location or keyword.

Solar System Ambassador Program

For: Educators, space enthusiasts, anyone interested in NASA research

telescope If you are a space enthusiast who is active in your community then you may want to become a Solar System Ambassador. The Solar System Ambassador Program is a public outreach program designed to work with motivated volunteers across the nation. Volunteers are asked to organize and conduct public events that communicate exciting discoveries and plans for exploration in Solar System research and technology through non-traditional forums.

Solar System Educators Program

For: K-12 Educators and Informal Educators

Do you get excited about the latest NASA missions? Are you a formal or informal educator? Are you able to conduct teacher workshops? If yes, then you may be interested in becoming a Solar System Educator. The goal of the Solar System Educators Program (SSEP) is to inspire America's students, create learning opportunities, and enlighten inquisitive minds by engaging them in the Solar System exploration efforts conducted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). All Solar System Educators agree to complete a minimum of 3 outreach workshops reaching at least 100 teachers each year. for more information.

STREAMS Environmental Education Curriculum

For: 5-8 Grade Educators

STREAMS is "an interdisciplinary environmental education and water study program incorporating national science and math standards, authentic assessment, field studies, technology and student/community activism." The STREAMS website provides all the curriculum information you need to incorporate STREAMS environmental lessons into your classroom.

Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Education

For: K-12 Educators

The Toyota TAPESTRY Grants program is the largest K-12 science teacher grant program in the nation. They annually award 50 grants up to $10,000 each and will begin to award mini-grants of $2500 for smaller projects. Interested teachers should propose innovative science projects that can be implemented in their school or school district over a one-year period. Toyota TAPESTRY projects demonstrate creativity, involve risk-taking, possess a visionary quality, and model a novel way of presenting science. Visit the website for more information.

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Last Updated: January 11, 2007