Educators can get involved in the first space shuttle flight of Educator Astronaut Barbara Morgan by registering for an Educator Institute offered by Northrop Grumman and Sally Ride Science in collaboration with NASA. A professional development program for upper elementary and middle school science teachers will be held Saturday, May 5, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Space Shuttle Endeavour is set to launch this summer to continue assembly of the International Space Station by delivering a third starboard truss segment. During the Educator Institute, teachers will learn about the education activities associated with the STS-118 mission, including an engineering design challenge for the next school year. Sally Ride, President and CEO of Sally Ride Science, said the mission will have a special emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

When astronauts return to the moon and then travel on to Mars and beyond, they will need to learn how to plant and grow food. The challenge will give students a chance to design their own lunar plant growth chambers, and possibly use some of the millions of basil seeds set to fly aboard Endeavour. Teachers will also get fun and high-quality activities and tools to take back to classrooms, earn eight hours of professional development, and hear from a NASA astronaut. The registration fee is $45.

“This workshop is an excellent opportunity for educators to focus on human space flight,” said David Seidel, manager of elementary and secondary education programs at JPL. “Educator Astronaut Barbara Morgan is a truly inspirational teacher, and her flight serves as a reminder that the children in today’s classrooms may one day be living and working in Earth orbit, on the moon and on Mars.”

Morgan began teaching in 1974. In 1985, NASA selected her to be the backup to Christa McAuliffe for the Teacher in Space Program. In that role, Morgan trained with McAuliffe, who was lost with her crewmates in the Space Shuttle Challenger accident in 1986.

Morgan’s flight provides a bridge for the objectives set forth in the Teacher in Space Program and NASA’s current Educator Astronaut Project, which elevates teaching as a profession and as a means to inspire students. Unlike the Teacher in Space Program, Educator Astronauts become full-time, permanent astronauts. They fly as crew members with critical mission responsibilities, as well as education-related goals.  

To register for the Educator Institute, and for more information, visit: . For more information about STS-118, its crew and related educator resources, visit: .