National Lab Day has the potential to build communities of support that increase access for better STEM education across our nation. As NASA Administrator, I am committed to a nationwide STEM movement that supports effective STEM teaching in schools. For me, this is a top priority. I have seen the faces of young people when I explain what it was like for me to launch aboard the Space Shuttle, conduct complex space missions, and talk about my own small role in space exploration made possible by my studies of science and math. We have a national challenge to ensure that every young person receives this opportunity to engage in scientific exploration and discovery builds their skill level and potential for addressing our nation’s needs. Through experiments in our labs, NASA continues to develop new medicines, materials for building a better world, science to help us monitor and predict weather and methods to help us understand the world in which we live. As a united administration and nation, we have an opportunity to engage teachers and students in testing, study and experimentation that has meaning for the future of our world.

NASA supports National Lab Day’s commitment to increase opportunities for meaningful hands-on, discovery-based laboratory opportunities for teachers. NASA will launch Summer of Innovation in communities across the country this summer in partnership with federal agencies, states, philanthropic institutions, universities, local school districts and communities. Summer of Innovation will be an investment in new opportunities for students to participate in rigorous STEM education by combining NASA’s missions, exploration and research resources with local educational investments that have demonstrated an ability to improve student performance.

I look forward to sharing our resources and partnering in local communities to improve relevant STEM experiences for teachers, students and communities. Here are some of our current resources that we provide to teachers, students and communities:

The International Space Station (ISS) EarthKAM is a NASA-sponsored program that provides stunning, high quality photographs of our planet taken from the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. ISS EarthKAM has allowed students to pursue and survey environmental changes in their communities and has the potential to allow students and teachers to be a part of developing methods that will help us understand the world in which we live. NASA invites teachers, students and communities to become a part of one of the world’s most internationally collaborative and famous labs in the world.

“Kids in Micro-g” is a student experiment design challenge that gives middle school students a hands-on opportunity to design an experiment or simple demonstration that could be performed both in the classroom and aboard the International Space Station.

Students can also send their names to Mars aboard the Mars Science Laboratory.

NASA also has information on Lab Safety. Students can learn about lab safety from NASA astronaut Bill McArthur (ISS Expedition 12 Commander), and then design their own podcast about lab safety using images, video and audio from NASA.

I look forward to partnering to build more opportunities for our nation’s young people.

Charles Bolden
NASA Administrator

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