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ARISS Gains Visibility at National Science Teachers Association Conference


The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program gained some valuable visibility at the 2017 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) national conference, March 27-April 2, in Los Angeles. ARRL Education Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ, represented ARISS and ARRL at the annual gathering. The ARISS Team shared a booth with a few other educational programs under the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) Space Station Explorers umbrella. CASIS is an important sponsor of the ARISS program and the sole manager of the ISS US National Laboratory.

An estimated 4,000 educators visited the CASIS booth, learning what is available to engage students in ISS research and activities.

“The Space Station Explorers program includes a number of educational activities available to teachers that are appropriate for various grade levels: Story Time in Space, Zero Gravity, and Orion’s Quest to name a few,” Johnson said. “While at the NSTA, I had opportunities to speak with several curriculum developers, pointing up the importance of including radio and wireless communications in their physical science curricula,” she added. “Curriculum material about the electromagnetic spectrum and for using sensor technologies abounded, but radio was hard to find.”

Johnson said the NSTA conference also allowed an opportunity to engage in some team building with other program representatives, discussing ideas for future collaboration.

The NSTA convention came on the heels of the Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS) conference in Los Angeles. “CASIS also laid the groundwork for the ARISS program to participate in that conference by conducting a scheduled interview between ISS Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough, KE5HOD, and students in the LA School District for the attending professionals to experience,” Johnson recounted. “The contact and interview went extraordinarily well and resulted in many inquiries about the program from those attendees who subsequently visited us at the NSTA.”

Johnson also promoted ARISS to individual educators visiting the booth, explaining the program and the proposal process and handing out more than 400 flyers. “I also discussed the ARRL’s Teachers Institutes with some attendees and encouraged them to consider applying,” she said.