Science and Science Education Go Hand-in-Hand: The Impact of the NASA Science Mission Directorate Education and Public
For nearly two decades, NASA has embedded education and public outreach (EPO) in its Earth and space science missions and research programs on the principle that science education is most effective when educators and scientists work hand-in-hand. Four Science EPO Forums organize the respective NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Astrophysics, Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Planetary Science EPO programs into a coordinated, efficient, and effective nationwide effort. The NASA SMD EPO program evaluates EPO impacts that support NASA’s policy of providing a direct return-on-investment for the American public, advances STEM education and literacy, and enables students and educators to participate in the practice of science as embodied in the 2013 Next Generation Science Standards. Leads of the four NASA SMD Science EPO Forums provided big-picture perspectives on NASA’s effort to incorporate authentic science into the nation’s STEM education and scientific literacy, highlighting examples of program effectiveness and impact. Attendees gained an increased awareness of the depth and breadth of NASA SMD’s EPO programs and
achievements, the magnitude of its impacts through representative examples, and the ways current and future EPO programs can build upon the work being done.