NASA Forms New Partnership With Mississippi Teachers

NASA is working with some local teachers to launch more student interest in technology. Fifty schools across the country have been chosen as NASA Explorer Schools. Three are right here on the coast. Teachers and NASA will brainstorm on how to enhance the curriculums of subjects like math and science for junior high and middle school students.

Science teacher Lorie Yates believes inspiring students is the best way to capture their interest.

"Hands on activities are activities that get students doing the work themselves are invaluable because it makes them thinkers," said Yates. "It makes them take charge of their own learning. Anytime we can grab hold of opportunities like that we do it."

Yates says the opportunity to work with NASA was one her school couldn't refuse. On Monday, NASA invited North Gulfport 7th and 8th Grade and four other Mississippi schools to sign on as part of the Explorer Schools Program.

NASA Pre-college officer Wanda Demaggio said "This is going to be a very important program for us and we needed to have the whole team involved and have the volunteers to do it and we were impressed by that."

Teachers will not only get help intertwining science and technology into their lesson plans, they'll also have access to NASA resource materials.

James Denson of Moss Point has taught science for 30 years, but says there is still much he can learn. "NASA covers so many different areas besides space, everything from meteorology to oceanography. It's really unique."

Ed Mayo Junior High in Moss Point and Bay St. Louis Waveland Middle Schools are the other two coast schools participating in the three year program. NASA officials say they felt it was important that all five of the Explorer Schools be from Mississippi for the inaugural year of the program.