WASHINGTON — Next-generation interactive moon mission simulations, social networking curricula centered on missions to Mars, and engineering design challenges are among 13 education projects NASA has selected for funding. Other funded programs focus on equipping teachers to integrate space and science into their classrooms.

NASA awarded a total of $12.1 million in grants to public school districts, state-based education leadership and not-for-profit education organizations in California, Idaho, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Winning proposals were selected through a merit-based, peer-reviewed competition. The awards have a two-year period of performance and range in value from $350,000 to approximately $1.2 million.

The selected proposals leverage NASA’s unique contributions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to enhance secondary students’ academic experiences and improve educators’ abilities to engage and stimulate their students. The chosen projects demonstrate innovative approaches to using NASA-themed content to improve teaching and learning, with a particular emphasis on high school education.

The cooperative agreements are part of a program Congress began in fiscal year 2008. For a list of selected organizations and projects descriptions, click on “Selected Proposals” and look for “FY 2009 NASA K-12 Cooperative Agreements Notice” or solicitation NNG09Z13001, at: http://nspires.nasaprs.com

For information about NASA’s education programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/education