HOUSTON — NASA and Texas Instruments are using the theme of human space exploration to develop digital libraries of math and science problems for high school students. The goal is to bring real-world topics in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, into classrooms to spark students’ excitement and interest in these critical career fields.

The collaboration will produce two digital libraries. One, called Exploring Space Through Math: Applications in High School Mathematics, will provide problems based on NASA data that are set in the context of space exploration. The project material will cover almost the entire high school math curriculum, with applications in Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Pre-Calculus.

The other digital library, named Science at Work: Exploring Space with NASA-AP, will contain questions for Advanced Placement classes. This program seeks to develop and test problems in calculus, statistics, physics, chemistry and biology.

“As students solve real problems NASA faces in space exploration, they will practice during high school and college the skills necessary to pursue a career in a STEM field,” said Charles Lloyd, NASA’s lead for the effort and program manager for Human Research Program Education and Outreach at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “NASA and Texas Instruments are passionate about motivating the next generation’s interest in science and math subjects and equipping these students to take us farther into space and improve our lives here on Earth.”

The libraries of questions will use NASA applications and data while incorporating Texas Instruments’ math learning technology. Each problem includes student and teacher editions to help the teacher link content to higher concepts.

“Our goal is to make STEM subjects more fun and interactive,” said Werner Garciano, director of Professional Development for Texas Instruments’ Education Technology. “Working with NASA is a great opportunity to bring exciting, real-world math experiences into the classroom. Our collaboration will expand the digital content and professional development that Texas Instruments provides teachers, and will help engage students more deeply in math. Together, we believe these activities will break through to students who have never considered a STEM career path.”

Both projects will be available in the fall of 2010 on NASA’s Web site. With this program, NASA continues its investment in engaging and retaining students in STEM disciplines critical to the agency’s future engineering, scientific, and technical missions. For more information about NASA’s education programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/education

For more information about NASA’s Human Research Program Education and Outreach, visit: http://humanresearch.jsc.nasa.gov/education.asp

The digital libraries also will be available through Texas Instruments’ Teachers Teaching with Technology workshops and online at the Texas Instruments’ Activities Exchange at: http://education.ti.com/educationportal/activityexchange/activity_list.do?cid=us