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Education and childrenThe discoveries and new knowledge gained from over 40 years of Earth remote sensing conducted by NASA have revolutionized our understanding of how the Earth functions as a system. This growing understanding is increasingly needed to inform political and economic decisions of local, national, and global impact.

The solid-Earth perspectives on life on a restless planet highlighted by this report offer exciting and engaging possibilities for education. To capitalize on these opportunities, the Solid Earth Science Program will collaborate with the NASA Earth Science Enterprise Education Program to stimulate broad public interest, appreciation, and understanding of Earth's interrelated systems, and encourage young scholars to consider careers in science and technology.

The Solid Earth Science Education Program (SESEP) will develop educational activities based on the three objectives identified by the ESE: informal education, formal education, and a work-force initiative in Earth Science Applications.

Informal education is considered an “out-of-classroom” educational opportunity such as those found in museums, science and technology centers, and similar nonprofit education organizations that provide significant educational activities for learners of all ages. Planned program components in this area include contributing new solid- Earth content and playing a consultative role for current and future development of exhibits, displays, and other non-classroom activities. For example, the California Science Center noticed that children's attendance in their Plate Tectonics area was down, likely because of a lack of appreciation among children (and probably their parents) that plate tectonics affects their lives. SESEP's remedy will be to develop hands-on activities to show the connection between plate tectonics and earthquakes and to create an enjoyable family learning experience.

For existing NASA center partners, such as the interactive museum The Dynamic Earth, SESEP will arrange guest lecturers during Family Science nights and coordinate participatory demonstrations of topics such as earthquake simulation. SESEP will contribute to the NASA Earth Science Enterprise Museum Support workshops and conferences targeting the needs of informal educators across the country. SESEP will also assist in the development of solid-Earth aspects of educational overviews and foster working relationships across the informal education network.

Formal education includes traditional classroom education from kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as undergraduate and graduate university programs. SESEP will support existing NASA and partner programs, such as the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program (field studies for students using GPS measurements), with the development of new resource materials for classroom teachers. SESEP will identify and supplement efforts for undergraduate and graduate research opportunities through NASA centers, universities having Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with NASA, and existing university programs that support solid-Earth education and research.

The Work Force Initiative in Earth Science Applications is a professional work-force development program aimed at identifying and addressing requirements for enhancing job skills in Earth science and technology fields. SESEP will establish a contact list of undergraduate and graduate students who are involved in solid-Earth science and are interested in participating in research programs. This list will be shared within NASA and with other government and private organizations that may have future opportunities for the students. SESEP partners and scientists will speak at specific engagements and professional conferences aimed toward industry to raise awareness of ongoing solid-Earth science efforts and to expand participation.

The Solid Earth Science Education Program is designed to exert a current, progressive, and informative influence that fulfills NASA's ESE objectives and leverages other ESE initiatives. SESEP will be an important element of NASA's contribution to the national socio-economic and educational agenda and will promote synergy among NASA and non-NASA activities while establishing its unique role and contributions to furthering solid-Earth education.

Integrated Program for Solid Earth Science: Education, Observational Strategies, Information Systems, Research & Analysis, Technology Development, Supporting Frameworks  
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