“Welcome to the International Space Station,” said NASA astronaut and microbiologist Kate Rubins as she welcomed students to the orbiting laboratory – or library – for a reading of “Rosie Revere, Engineer” during an Expedition 49 Story Time From Space. Story Time From Space is an investigation that aims to inspire students, educators and families to actively engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs through the excitement of space exploration and literacy.
Together with NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), Story Time From Space arms formal and informal educators with the necessary materials and knowledge to teach fun, accurate STEM lessons.
“To help support educators, we are taking all the wonderful content we are getting down from orbit and putting it into curriculum and professional development workshops so we can work with educators to help them feel confident and have the science background to teach the concepts correctly,” said Patricia Tribe, educator and co-founder of Story Time From Space.
With a library of 15 titles and five more on the way, crew members are able to share their love for science and space exploration through books such as “Max Goes to the Space Station,” “Mousetronaut,” “Endeavour’s Long Journey” and “The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home.” Crew members send the prerecorded video of themselves reading the books aloud from the space station or performing a science experiment that goes along with concepts mentioned within the books.
Nine experiments join the books aboard the station, weaving together literacy and STEM concepts.
“The science experiments in our Science Time From Space element deal with basic science concepts that all kids are required to learn in school,” said Tribe. Concepts include balance, buoyancy, surface tension, orbits, light, heat transfer, free-fall, pendulous motion and the human body.
Each of the books were chosen with input from authors, educators, publishers and educational organizations such as the National Science Teachers Association, with an emphasis placed on each story’s scientific accuracy.
“How many people have to unlearn and relearn a concept as we get older because we were not taught accurately?” said Tribe. “We wouldn’t teach the alphabet incorrectly so why are we ok with it happening in STEM?”
Story Time From Space has taken a step toward arming educators with the knowledge and confidence needed to accurately teach the next generation of scientists, engineers and astronauts in STEM subjects by providing high-quality, engaging material for them to share with their students.
Story Time From Space has reached further than just the classroom, engaging libraries, community centers, home schools and afterschool programs in STEM activities. Soon, Story Time From Space will offer curriculum development and professional development materials.