K-20 Education Programs

K-20 Education Programs & Classroom Resources

NIA’s Center for Integrative STEM Education focuses on the K-20 portion of the education continuum. Emphasizing research-driven best practices for teachers and students, the Center and its partners design, develop, and advocate leading-edge approaches to teaching and learning that inspire the next generation of the STEM workforce. The Center develops STEM resources that build authentic connections to standards-based curriculum utilizing 21st-century teaching strategies delivered in varied media and formats.

Our team includes award-winning Educators-in-Residence, multi-media producers, and project managers who specialize in the creative and effective use of emerging technology to bring STEM alive in the classroom. Areas of expertise include project-based STEM challenges, professional development, multi-media production, and virtual world learning programs that build STEM relevance for teachers and students.

Current Formal and Informal Education Programs

City lights in the US seen from space

NASA eClips™ is an award-winning national educational program that provides short, relevant educational video segments designed to inspire and engage students by helping them see real-world connections to STEM education. It offers unlimited flexibility in the classroom for timing, sequencing, and pacing of instruction to meet the needs of students and classroom instructors. The NASA eClips website includes video segments, educator guides, online teacher tools, and links to other approved NASA resources. Educational resources are aligned to national educational standards, including Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards for Math.

Mars rover technology

Hosted by the National Institute of Aerospace, the NIA Universe is a unique collection of virtual worlds designed to explore and create science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) content and experiences. Using exciting Internet gaming and chat technology, NIA Universe is an interactive, synchronous environment that brings together students, teachers, and experts for collaborative, virtual interactions in an online world. NIA’s Universe is filled with digital worlds created by and for K-12 schools, universities, NASA, and NIA partners to build and explore content and knowledge spaces without barriers of time or distance. Users from anywhere on the Internet (even outer space) can log in, become virtual beings (avatars) and explore our virtual spaces through collaborative, constructivist activities. These interactive, social environments engage students and adults in formal and informal educational settings. As a tool for collaborative and virtual interactions, this environment can be used for both synchronous and asynchronous activities. Download the browser and explore NIA Universe as a tourist!

CISE continues to deliver seven graduate courses that it developed in partnership with McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. These courses comprise the McDaniel College Elementary STEM Instructional Leadership (ESIL) program, one of the first accredited programs in Maryland. This program was approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). The courses are offered both on-campus and off-campus and can be differentiated to align with school systems’ STEM initiatives. The NIA-McDaniel course design follows research-based best practice incorporating active learning; job-embedded tasks; systemic and coherent design; on-going and sustainable learning; and reflective feedback. The courses are hybrids with both online and face-to-face instruction.