Space Science Data Operations Office Education Committee Members Visit the Howard B. Owens Science Center

Volume 11, Number 1, March 1995
By Valerie L. Thomas
The Space Science Data Operations Office Education Committee, with the help of Dr. Thomas Meylan (CSC, IUE Satellite Data Analysis Center), has developed a close working relationship with the Howard B. Owens Science Center. This is a unique opportunity for the Education Committee because the Owens Science Center, which is less than two miles down the road from GSFC, is a County-wide science resource facility for the elementary, middle, and high school students. It contains fully equipped science laboratories; interactive/hands-on exhibits; a wide variety of hands-on science classes; a 55-foot planetarium; computer labs; an education-based Challenger Center; and a dedicated staff, that also develops new and innovative curricula, which includes a number of "master teachers" who teach other teachers. The Science Center primarily focuses on the students in the Prince George's County public school system; however, it also serves private school students, teachers, and adult education. It reaches approximately 90,000 students and 3,000 teachers annually.

A visit to the Science Center on January 10, 1995, gave the Education Committee members a chance to see the labs, watch middle school students teaching elementary school students, observe the excitement of the students in the planetarium, and see the simulated control center and space lab module in the Challenger Center. A return visit is anticipated, to allow the committee members to participate in or observe the Challenger Center flight simulation. Space science data and technology would be a great addition to the Science Center's existing resources. Much to the surprise of the committee members, the computer labs were filled with very old technology (i.e., Apple IIcs.)

Working collaboratively should be mutually beneficial to both parties. The Science Center can incorporate space science data and technology into innovative curricula that would be available to teachers in many different schools, from elementary to high school; and in the programs at Owens. And the Education Committee can provide the space science data and technology, and help Owens upgrade its computer resources and Internet access.

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