Petaluma High SSEP

We are counting down to lift-off!

Who we are:
The Petaluma City Schools (PCS) in conjunction with National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) proposes to participate in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program’s (SSEP) Mission 7 to the International Space Station (ISS). We have fully immerse 400 grade 9-12 students in real microgravity experiment design and proposal writing. We collected over 100 flight experiment proposals and of those ONE has now been selected to fly to the ISS.

Participating in the SSEP addresses all the skills and expectations inherent in the STEM education goals of Petaluma High School in meaningful ways. Our goals include continuous improvement of student achievement and closing of the achievement gap while building in our students 21st Century skills which will allow them access to jobs in the dynamic and locally expanding industries of biotechnology, biomedical engineering and manufacturing. Through participation in SSEP Petaluma High School will build partnerships with regional STEM business to both support our students now and to provide STEM businesses with a local workforce that is work-ready, possessing relevant skills. Challenging our students to participate in this exciting, project-based, real-world experience they have been fully engaged thereby enhancing their learning.


"The Student Space Flight Experiments Program (http://ssep.ncesse.org) is undertaken by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE; http://ncesse.org) in partnership with Nanoracks, LLC.  This on-orbit educational research opportunity is enabled through NanoRacks, LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. "

What We Need & What You Get:
In order to participate in the SSEP we needed to raise a total of $23,000. NCESSE has assisted us in this task, and our district has supported our participation, and many donors from our community have also stepped forward and contributed. But we are still in need of raising approximately $15,000 to reimburse our district through the support of our community and people like YOU.

ANY amount will be gratefully accepted (although check out the great perks offered at various funding levels)!
All Donations are TAX DEDUCTIBLE, and all donors will receive a personalized thank you note hand-written by one of our students, and mission patch and/or stickers, and a video of program highlights (our students in action!)
Participation in SSEP comes at a cost and all or your donations will be applied to cover the cost of our participation in the program. Cost are as stated by the program website:

Program Elements

a. Mini-Laboratory Slot (see Designing the Flight Experiment page) space on SSEP mission 7 flight, lab kits & supplies

b. Community-wide Flight Experiment Design Competition (see Flight Experiment Design Competition page) review board & teacher support

c. Teacher and Student Proposer Resources (see Resources page) technical assistance
 
d. Community Program (see Community Program page) content, professional development for team teachers, journals & support

The Impact
The experimental design phase of the SSEP provided a structure for students to observe their environment, question it, to create hypotheses to explain their observations, and to develop experiments to prove or disprove their hypotheses. This is a lot of what science is about. It addressed content knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation- all the higher order thinking skills we are aiming for- in a relevant and real-world manner very difficult to achieve in more traditional in-class work. The almost unbelievable final reward for our finalist experiment will  be to send up their experiment to the International Space Station and will be performed by working astronauts in space has to make the experimental design work more real, more engaging, and therefore more meaningful to the students than the more traditional approaches.


The proposal and competition phase of the SSEP addressed another important aspect of real science-that scientists are not working in a void, but rather work in a community of people, scientists and non-scientists, and that there is both necessary cooperation and competition for resources in the real world.


The students have  learned to work effectively with each other in their experimental design teams, and as important, they will need to communicate their work and proposal effectively as well. They have also experienced real competition to get their experiment into space. These are invaluable skills and experiences which will benefit our students whatever they do next.


Participating in the SSEP addresses all the skills and expectations inherent in the STEM education goals of Petaluma High School in meaningful ways. Our goals include continuous improvement of student achievementand closing of the achievement gap while building in our students 21st Century skills which will allow them access to jobs in the dynamic and locally expanding industries of biotechnology, biomedical engineering and manufacturing. Through participation in SSEP Petaluma High School will build partnerships with regional STEM business to both support our students now and to provide STEM businesses with a local workforce that is work-ready, possessing relevant skills.

Risks & Challenges
Participation in SSEP has challenged our teachers to do things differently. Trying out something new in the classroom on a large scale is like serving an untested recipe on your special guests; it could be a triumph or a disaster. It has also challenged our students to do things differently, to take ownership of their own learning.

Our science department staff is highly qualified, motivated and united in our desire to inspire our students and guide them in this meaningful, project-based learning experience..
Our administration is committed to supporting our efforts and have a demonstrated desire to build community partnership to support STEM education in our school.
Our community has a demonstrated commitment to our kids, and an interest in career and technical education opportunities.

Other Ways You Can Help
While we are seeking financial support, we welcome ALL kinds of support

Tell all your friends! Perhaps they might contribute. Help us spread the word.

Contact Linda Judah, lead teacher,  if you would like to mentor either a student team, or an entire classroom. Guest speakers are also welcome!
We Thank YOU in advance for supporting our kids!

Donations

  • David Coffaro 
    • $500 
    • 53 mos
  • Stephanie DIETRICH 
    • $100 
    • 53 mos
  • Krista O'Connor 
    • $50 
    • 53 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 64 mos

Organizer

Linda Judah 
Organizer
Petaluma, CA
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