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Celebrating Apollo 11: Inspiring STEM Educators for 50 Years

On July 18th Dr. Brandon Rodriguez, Education Specialist from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Karen Woodruff, Program Director for the Endeavor STEM Teaching Certificate Project hosted an Apollo 11 celebration webinar with over 100 PK-12 STEM educators from across the nation. Focusing on how Apollo 11 inspires STEM educators, attendees gained knowledge of STEM resources and classroom connections while having their own inspirational stories shared. The event was featured on NASA Space STEM Forum.

Endeavor STEM Teaching Certificate Project, maintained by parent organization U.S. Satellite Laboratory, collaborates with NASA through a Space Act Agreement. NASA scientists, engineers, educators and many others who are part of the diverse NASA community frequently speak with classroom educators about ways to bridge mission data and research with standards-based science and math content. Educators who participate in Endeavor benefit from this unique collaboration.

During the Apollo 11 celebration, Dr. Rodriguez focused on several NASA STEM resources and lessons ready to be implemented in classrooms to support students’ interest and conceptual understanding of the interdisciplinary STEM content embedded in each moon related phenomenon.

Karen Woodruff highlighted the many ways that educators have been and continue to be inspired by the Apollo mission, the moon landing, and the innovative work in which NASA engages. Quotes from educators who registered in advance are featured below.

NASA JPL Resources

General STEM and Apollo Education Resources

 

Apollo Inspires…
Educators from across the nation share how Apollo inspires them:
The sheer determination of all involved and the bravery of the astronauts is inspiring. It puts perseverance and the amount of work necessary to accomplish such a feat into perspective. We should all model that kind of drive to teach our students and instill work ethic in their daily lives. Laura Menard
I remember watching the landing as a very little girl. I grew up with a passion for the moon. I am now a Lunar Rock Specialist! I can borrow moon rocks! Patricia Hillyer
As a learner, it is fascinating, and captivating with regards to what was accomplished. As an educator, I try to convey the importance of continuing to try despite obstacles and share this with my students in the hope of inspiring them. Furthermore, my students observe, discover and explore the moon in a variety of ways which includes sharing videos and pictures from NASA’s resources with my students. Beth Cubbage
It’s one of the reasons I am part of this program. Ashley Krueger
Never give up! Sally Hunt
Apollo 11 was an amazing achievement. It shows when you put your mind to something you can reach your dreams. I use it in my classroom every year to show when we work together, we can do anything! Rachel Perry
It inspires students and teachers to learn more about outer space! Sidonia Todd
Grew up during the era- inspirational Patricia Benner
It shows what setting a goal, using collaboration to achieve a goal, and persevering when you have setbacks, can accomplish. Melissa Sleeper
As a kindergarten teacher I get the awesome opportunity to ignite that spark of space science learning to our youngest learners. The technologies that will lead us back to the moon and beyond await my students to expand on. Their creativeness and ideas have yet to be developed and tapped into. It excites me to imagine where they will take us. Danielle Dornsife
I want to use information regarding the Apollo 11 mission to inspire future astronauts in my classroom. Brenda Williams
Scientific achievement with the fusion of willpower and spirit of exploration John Reichenberg
It’s a fascinating part of our history and a great example of the amazing things we are capable of achieving. Christi Hamilton
My brother watched the mission as a baby. It is a legendary mission. Kids are still awestruck by the adventure and brought into a love of space and exploration. Cynda Basch
To realize that men and women we’re able to work together to put a man on the moon and bring them home safely is what we teach students that hard work, problem solving, and determination can do. Kim Bierstedt
As a 13-year-old watching the lift-off from Earth and the lunar landing, it was, perhaps, the first time I realized how small I was, yet a part of something larger than any one human could fathom. This event opened my mind to the wonder and awe of space and space travel. I still look up into the sky with fascination, and appreciation for the scientific and engineering communities that further our knowledge. Jennifer Heldenbrand
Apollo 11 inspired me to pursue a career in STEM. Mayowa Sofowora
We were able to land on the moon with just a tiny fraction of the technology that we now possess. How much more are we capable of now? Virginia Jones
The men who risked their lives to explore the unknown inspire me to take risks and reach for the stars. Margaret Bohlin
Watching the actual landing with my family was a dream come true! I still remembering seeing the black and white picture of Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon with the statement “one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind”. This one sentence helped unite our world for an instant at a time of turmoil. Brenda Eve
Apollo made me learn that our space has no limits and our brains will not stop until it finds the answer for why we are here and what is the purpose of living on this planet Mustapha errami
Apollo teaches me that we are capable of learning and achieving far more than we think we are capable of. Along that journey, the design process will teach us that failure is simply one idea that doesn’t work. Each failure leads us to the successful answer. The process of never giving up until we see an idea through to completion is a critical 21st century skill (efficacy). Jennifer McCall
Engineers didn’t even know HOW to get astronauts to the moon, but that did not hold them back! Shaun Keyser
At a time when we didn’t really have science as an interest as a nation at ALL. Then when Sputnik occurred we made up for lost time incredibly fast. So after Apollo 11, it seemed as if anything was possible. Elizabeth Dysart
Apollo 11 is part of the STEM education, I believe that Neil’s experience in being the first human on the Moon, and everything that was developed in pursuit of this goal, is a very practical way to show what STEM is and how it is done.. From my classroom, we develop STEM activities, inspired by Apollo 11, envisioning constructive actions as a solution to problems. William Alexandro Gonzalez Amezquita
To show kids to Dream and search big ideas Maria Nickel
I love seeing examples of teamwork and working hard to reach goals! Jess Young
I’ve always been fascinated by the lunar landings and Apollo missions, and love getting to share that exciting achievement with my students who are growing up heading about Mars rovers and other worlds to explore. Christi Chapman
Any new idea or concept can be conquered. Rebecca Holcomb
Apollo 11 made me realize that the sky is not the limit since we’ve been to the moon! Kellie Arenz
I remember the moon like yesterday. I want to teach kids to dream big and the sky is the limit for them. Rebecca Cox
We continue to learn from rock samples and continue to develop new technologies from the entire Apollo program Argy Leyton
Apollo 11 stands as a massive human achievement. I hope to inspire a generation of students who aim high and further human endeavor. Maxwell Bowman
I want the children I work with to be as excited as I was, as a kid, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. They need to recognize the advances we’ve made because of the space program and know the facts about the moon landings. Pamela Dupre
I remember the moon landing well and use it to remind myself that all things are possible. Kathy
All of the work put into the program by so many people resulting in the success of landing on the moon. Plus, all of the new technologies created. Brad Willson
I love how history shapes our present and future. April Lanotte
The space program has fascinated me since I was a kid and had a teacher who taught me about NASA. Apollo 11 is the ultimate accomplishment in exploration. Jacqui Flowers
The moon needs to be our future destination…again. Apollo 11 was a historical first that we need to use as our launch pad to future trips. Brian Jackson
It inspires me, reminding me of the ability of people to set a goal and achieve it. The research and design alone to complete the task is amazing. Laurissa Werhun
As an educator I am inspired by the possibilities of my students. Apollo made the impossible possible. It is the foundation of our next steps in space. I use Apollo 11 as a reminder of what is possible, and this next generation has the opportunity to build on that foundation by being the first to land humans on Mars. Steve Embry
As an educator I feel it’s important to teach students about space exploration as it has occurred in the past in order teach them about their role in the future of it. I teach Computer Science and the next space professions will have to have programming skills. I know that the story of the Apollo program will inspire my students. Blanca Gonzales
It encourages students to never give up on their dreams. Cathy Ilkka
I am inspired by the collaborative teamwork and goal-setting steps that made the Apollo 11 mission a success Laurie Sullivan
the apollo 11 min inspired to believe always. As something that seemed impossible can come true. Tiago custodio
As a middle school science educator, I teach my students about the scientific concepts behind rockets. However, due to my own fascination, I also share with them our country’s compelling history that led to the space race and ultimately the US putting the first man on the moon. Ava Fontenot
It represents the intelligence and creativity of our country. Andrea Henrie
As an educator I am inspired to share the significance, of this historical event, through meaningful and memorable STEAM and ELA activities. Julie Onacila
It inspires my science and STEM lessons to encourage students. It helps them reach for the stars and continue improving upon why they create. It gives hope and fuels wonder. Michelle Cordero
Apollo motivated me in Math and Science. In my 2nd career, I am a Secondary Math teacher, attempting to foster STEM initiatives in my school. Thomas DeAngelo
I was 6 when Apollo 11 changed the world forever! I have always been a star gazer and followed what NASA was up to, thanks to my Mom. I wish I had known more earlier in my life, but the more I learn about the amazing things and people involved in sending humans into space the more inspired me to become an environmental educator and add moon and space themed programs to my repertoire. I just want to teach others about it and get them excited about learning about what humans can do when they work together, and I just want to get them looking up at the stars! Pammi Price
As an educator, I want my students to catch the fever of the success and possibilities associated with Apollo 11. Felicia Freese
To keep learning and exploring Argy Leyton
As a lifelong learner, it inspires me learn more about the vast unknown! April Peacock
I use connections to astronomy in my chemistry and physics classes. Marie Pool
I was 6 months old when we landed and I have always felt connected to the mission. Michele Browning
Apollo 11 was a wonderful accomplishment in American history. I hope to learn more about it in order to bring its history and wonder to my students in the future. Christi Hamilton
The Apollo 11 spaceflight has inspired generations of teachers and children. As a mother of two little boys, we often read stories of the Apollo 11 mission and of the first time humans ever stepped on the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are heroes to my boys and to many generations of children. As an educator it reminds me of what’s possible, even if it seems impossible. Jennifer Sinoway
It reminds me that anything is possible when you focus on the goal. Always reach for the stars because you can get there. It aligns to the Growth Mindset for me Chris Laquidara-Kolvek
Apollo 11 demonstrates the power of goal setting and pushing yourself to go beyond one’s comfort zone. Sue Mack
Apollo 11 inspired me to focus on Math and the Sciences Thomas DeAngelo
It was amazing to see something scary happen in real life. The what if’s and the old “that is impossible”…… was possible. Maybe we have eager students who want to know why are we the only people living? Is there other life out there? Do we need to find out or stay where we are? Are we In need of a clean up ? How can we allow students to understand the bigger picture?
We need to get their minds wondering about how do we find out more and inspire them to create better ways of understanding the universe.
April West

 

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