NASA will help students lift off to a great new school
year with the launch of a new “Blast Back to School” sampler
of cool agency supplies.

NASA astronaut Dr. Don Pettit, who recently returned from a
four-month mission on the International Space Station, kicks
off the event Tuesday at 9 a.m. EDT with students from Anne
Beers Elementary School, 3600 Alabama Avenue SE, Washington.

The “Blast Back to School” sampler has a NASA notebook,
stickers, ruler, eraser, pencil, pen, posters, mission
photographs, information about NASA-related careers, links to
NASA educational Web sites, and classroom activities. The
out-of-this-world sampler, developed for elementary age
students, is an initiative of NASA’s Central Operation of
Resources for Educators (CORE). CORE is the distribution
center for NASA-produced multimedia materials.

“With the “Blast Back to School” sampler, NASA has the
opportunity to reach out to students at a young age to begin
nurturing what we hope will be a long relationship that will
inspire them,” remarked Dr. Adena Williams Loston, NASA
Associate Administrator for Education. “We are looking to
engage students in NASA’s unique missions and discoveries by
feeding their natural curiosities about air, space and Earth
as only NASA can,” she said.

In addition to Pettit, Connie Hollingsworth, NASA Educator
Astronaut Program Manager and former school principal, and
staff from the new NASA Explorer Schools (NES) Program will
be on board to encourage students to see learning math and
science in a whole new light. Anne Beers Elementary School is
one of only 50 competitively selected NASA Explorer Schools
from communities in 30 states. The NES Program is a major new
education initiative at NASA, created to spark innovative
science and mathematics instruction directed specifically at
students in grades four through nine.

“Through both the “Blast Back to School” product sampler, and
the NASA Explorer Schools Program, NASA is implementing
proactive and innovative approaches that we hope will help
stem the decline in the number of young people pursuing study
of science, technology, engineering and math disciplines,”
said Peggy Steffen, NASA Explorer Schools Program Manager.

The new initiative, sponsored by NASA in collaboration with
the National Science Teachers Association, establishes a
three-year partnership between NASA and NASA Explorer School
teams, consisting of teachers and education administrators
from diverse communities across the country. NASA Explorer
Schools are eligible for up to $17,500 in grant funds for
educational technology purchases that enhance instructional

“The teachers and students at Anne Beers Elementary are all
very excited about every opportunity to continue our
relationship with NASA, and our selection among the first
class of NASA Explorer Schools just heightens our
enthusiasm,” said Beers Principal Anthony Fears. “To add to
that, the “Blast Back to School” sampler is really a terrific
way to get our kids excited about NASA and eager to learn
more about how math and science are connected to the ground-
breaking work that NASA does. The stickers, pens, rulers and
other items with the NASA logo imprinted on them will serve
as a constant reminder to our students of the promise of
exploration,” he said.

Through CORE’s distribution network, the public has access to
hundreds of videocassette, slide, and CD-ROM programs,
chronicling NASA’s state-of-the-art research and technology.
NASA’s educational materials on aeronautics and space provide
a springboard for classroom discussion of life science,
physical science, space science, energy, Earth science,
mathematics, technology and career education. The only charge
is for shipping and handling the free materials.

For more information about NASA CORE and to order “Blast Back
to School” samplers over the Internet, visit:

For a list of NASA’s first 50 Explorer Schools on the
Internet, visit:

For information about other NASA Education programs on the
Internet, visit: