Forty teachers from as far as Harrisburg and Philadelphia participated in the 6 Degrees of Connection Educator Workshop held at NNC on Saturday, April 7th from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. The workshop was part of the 6 Degrees of Connection project funded through a NASA grant to NNC that aims to increase knowledge and interest in STEM topics and careers in middle school students by teaching about the interconnectedness of earth systems. As part of the workshop, teachers experienced the 6 Degrees of Connection program which included a Science on a Sphere program about the connections between earth systems and human activity, followed by a creative activity developed by NNC Art Director Keri Maxfield, where participants created their own chain of connections. Afterwards, Maurice Henderson with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, provided a Science on a Sphere presentation about how NASA sees Earth from space and some environmental challenges we are currently facing. In the afternoon, three short hands-on classroom activities were introduced.
Workshop participants explored connections to their local environment and fellow teachers through a creative activity that focused on visually responding to a series of questions. A global circulation activity showed how far trash can travel when it is discarded outside, and a water conservation activity involved the teachers discovering how much water was needed to make their favorite meals. Teachers were provided with many handouts, posters, and resources for use with their students back in the classroom and made valuable connections to resources, information, and each other. NNC partnered with Jim O’Leary from the Maryland Science Center on the development and implementation of the workshop. Maryland Science Center also held the workshop on March 24th and May 5th in Baltimore, MD. Overall, the workshops will reach almost 150 teachers. The teachers provided important feedback on the 6 Degrees of Connection program that will be incorporated into revisions to the student program as part of the grant project. For more information about the project please contact Dr. Kathryn Semmens, firstname.lastname@example.org