NASA will provide three informal education organizations close to $3 million in grants to fund projects that will work to encourage students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math careers in support of the Journey to Mars.
The space agency said Wednesday the organizations will build a Mars exploration exhibit, provide educator professional development on space science and engineering, develop Mars-themed lesson plans for regional school districts, offer afterschool activities and summer camps and establish space exploration community programs.
Girlstart, NASA Wallops Visitor Center and Wings of Eagles Discovery Center will receive grants ranging from $600,000 to $1.25 million to implement the projects within the next five years.
NASA added that the organizations will also partner with its Museum Alliance network of informal education professionals across more than 700 science museums, planetariums, Challenger Centers and other educational establishments.
“Museums and out-of-school time providers are in a unique position to provide STEM engagement through hands-on experiences,” noted Roosevelt Johnson, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s office of education in Washington.
The partnerships with other sectors aim to foster critical thinking, engineering and science literacy and STEM interest among students, NASA said.