NASA has announced a second Spaced Out Sports competition, challenging students in grades 5-8 to create science-based games that will be played by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
The challenge comes one year after the initial Spaced Out Sports competition, which attracted 56 submissions from across the United States and internationally. It is part of a broader agency education effort to engage students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities.
“We were excited about the response to last year's competition and how it focused attention on important science principles,” said Katie Wallace, director of the Stennis Office of Education, which is managing the competition through the NASA Teaching From Space Office. “This is a fun, interactive way to encourage students to pursue studies and careers in science and related fields.”
The challenge helps students learn and apply Sir Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion. It is part of the Science and Sports curriculum released by the Stennis Office of Education last fall. Using the curriculum and Digital Learning Network (DLN) modules, teachers lead students through a study of Newton's laws, highlighted by hands-on activities. They also use video podcasts featuring NASA scientists and engineers who explain how science concepts are used in the space program.
The videos and modules feature celebrity sports figures explaining the “science behind their games.” Contributing sports figures include Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin, NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya, Women's National Basketball Association player Temeka Johnson, National Hockey League player Ryan O'Reilly and members of the National Football League New Orleans Saints. Former astronaut and NASA Associate Administrator for Education Leland Melvin and astronaut Nicole Stott also are featured.
Students have until March 16 to design or redesign a game to illustrate and apply Newton's laws. They will submit game demonstrations for review via a playbook and video, and three submissions will be chosen before the end of the 2012 spring school semester. The first-place team will be awarded a school-wide celebration sponsored by NASA. All three of the winning teams will be able to watch their games played aboard the ISS. All contributing schools will have an opportunity to participate in a DLN webcast with an ISS astronaut.
For information about Spaced Out Sports, visit: http://education.ssc.nasa.gov/spacedoutsports .
For information about Teaching From Space, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/education/tfs .
For information about Stennis Space Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/stennis/ .
For more information about NASA education programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/education .
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