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K-12 Teacher & Student Opportunities




2014 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge
Audience: 9-12 & Higher Education Educators and Students
Registration Deadline for International Teams: Jan. 10, 2014
Registration Deadline for U.S. Teams: Feb. 7, 2014

NASA is seeking high school and college/university student teams to compete in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge (formerly NASA's Great Moonbuggy Race). In this engineering design challenge that begins in the classroom, students work with teacher advisors to create a human-powered vehicle designed to traverse the simulated surface of another world while meeting certain NASA specifications. Student teams of up to six members are challenged to design, build and test technologies that enable vehicles to perform in a wide variety of environments.

The culminating event of the rover competition is scheduled for April 10-12, 2014, at the U. S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., home of U.S. Space Camp and the official visitor center for NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The student teams will be timed, ranked and scored based on design, safety and how well they traverse the set course, which is a rugged half mile track of 15 obstacles meant to mimic some of the real terrain challenges of solar system exploration.

Corporate sponsors will award prizes for first, second and third place winners in both high school and college/university categories. Other prizes include a Featherweight Award, System Safety Design Award and a Telemetry/Electronics Award.

International teams must register by Jan. 10, 2014. U.S. teams must register by Feb. 7, 2014.

For more information about the competition and to register online, visit
International teams with questions about this event or registration may email Amy McDowell at U.S. teams with questions may contact Diedra Williams at

National Air and Space Museum Super Science Saturday Events
Audience: All Educators and Students

Join the National Air and Space Museum on the second Saturday of each month for Super Science Saturday at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. Through demonstrations and hands-on activities, visitors of all ages will become immersed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics topics related to aviation and space exploration. Each event takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Admission is free, and parking is $15.

Upcoming topics include:

Feb. 8, 2014 -- Scientists & Inventors
March 8, 2014 -- Space Shuttle

For more information, visit
Questions about this series of lectures should be directed to

Free Smithsonian's Stars Lecture Series
Audience: All Educators and 9-Higher Education Students

Curious about our nearest star, water on Mars, the first trip to Pluto and other wonders of the universe? Come to the Smithsonian's Stars Lecture Series presented by Smithsonian researchers who are exploring the sun, the moon, planets, stars, galaxies and the universe. These speakers will share behind-the-scenes details about how their research is done and technologies that advance new discoveries. The lectures will be held at the Albert Einstein Planetarium at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Each lecture begins at 5:15 p.m. ET and is followed by a question-and-answer session. A Discovery Station activity will take place at 4 p.m. prior to each lecture. Stay after the lecture to visit the museum's observatory, weather permitting.

Jan. 25, 2014 -- River Deposits on Mars
Alluvial fans provide evidence for water-related activity. Recent studies on Mars suggest the fans are younger than previously thought, providing new insight into the late-stage climate and habitability of the planet. Geologist Sharon Wilson Purdy will delve into river deposits on the Red Planet.

Feb. 8, 2014 -- On-Orbit Observing: An Astronaut's View of Our Universe
Astronauts have played an important role in astronomy since 1962. Learn how, as in-orbit surrogate astronomers, they provide images and impressions of astronomical sights and events beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Museum specialist Jennifer Levasseur will discuss in-orbit astronomical observations.

For more information about the Smithsonian's Stars Lecture Series, visit

Questions about this lecture series should be directed to the visitor service line at 202-633-1000.

The Smithsonian's Stars Lecture Series is made possible by a grant from NASA.

NASA Announcement for High-Impact, National, Strategic STEM Education Partnerships -- Amended
Audience: Potential STEM Education Partners
Response Date: Jan. 23, 2014

NASA's Office of Education has amended the NASA Announcement for High-Impact, National, Strategic STEM Education Partnerships [EDUCATION01SP13] to reflect a new response date. The new response date is Jan. 23, 2014. NASA's Education portfolio is being strategically rescoped. NASA anticipates reissuing the announcement. NASA will not accept responses to this announcement after Jan. 23, 2014.

To access the Announcement home page, please visit

What's New at NASA's Space Place Website
Audience: K-6 Educators

NASA's Space Place doesn’t just bring you great educational material across a wide range of topics, it also presents that material in many different formats. From games and activities to articles and illustrations, Space Place makes it easy for students to learn in whatever format suits them best. This philosophy is the driving force behind our latest product -- Space Place in a Snap. These pages combine animated videos with posters and reading material for a cross-disciplinary learning experience.

What's New? Space Place in a Snap
Space Place is pleased to announce an entirely new and totally exciting product -- Space Place in a Snap! These short animations provide quick narrated explanations of some of the most interesting science questions by taking you on a guided tour of an infographic. The best part: You can download a poster of the infographic after you watch the animation. We have already released our first Snap -- How Did Our Solar System Come to Be? Check it out at Stay tuned for more Snaps in the very near future!

Space Place en Español: Loopy Legends
Why limit yourself to telling stories in only one language? Our popular mad-libs-style activity, "Loopy Legends," is now available in both English and Spanish. Kids get to create their own zany adventures in this Web activity. You might find yourself traveling toward the center of a black hole. Or maybe you'll become lost because an angry sun's space weather knocked out some global positioning system satellites. Who knows, you might even go surfing on Jupiter's moon Titan! Check it out at

Spotlight on a Solar Mystery
The surface of the sun is a scalding 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. But the sun's atmosphere can reach millions of degrees. That doesn't make too much sense, does it? Why would the stuff around the sun be warmer than the sun itself? And if the atmosphere were so hot, then why wouldn't it warm the surface up to a temperature closer to the atmosphere? Check out one of Space Place's newest articles to learn more about this solar mystery.

For the Classroom
Looking for a hands-on activity that reinforces engineering concepts? Look no further than Space Place's moon habitat activity. Have you ever wondered what it would take for humans to have an extended stay on the moon? Surely they would need some sort of place to live. But how would such a structure make the long journey through space? Learn all about what astronauts might want in their moon habitat. Then build your own!

For Out-of-School Time
How about an exciting Web game to teach students all about solar weather in their out-of-school time? The sun is a scorching mass of hot gas that is constantly shooting energy and particles out into space. In "Shields up!" you must use a Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite - R Series weather satellite to detect the first signs of any crazy solar weather and warn other satellites to protect themselves before it is too late.

Special Days

January 25: Mars rover Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004.
Get the inside story on the latest Mars rover -- Curiosity.

February 6: Apollo 14 astronauts played golf on the moon in 1971.
See astronauts at work and play:

February 12: Charles Darwin born this day in 1809.
You will understand evolution of species after playing with the “Emoticonstructor.”

February 20: Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.
Watch Space Place Live! and meet a woman engineer.

February 25: Quiet Day.
Did you know the most violent events in space make no sound? Make a Super Sound Cone, and listen for very tiny sounds.

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Educators should also see the Teacher Training Page for more information