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Wed, Jun 07, 2017

Poll Finds Teachers Concerned About Student's Interest In STEM

Few Teachers Believe Students Are Interested In Subjects That Would Lead Them To Space Exploration Careers

A strong future Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) workforce is vital to sending humans to Mars, yet a new survey commissioned by Lockheed Martin shows about a third of U.S. middle school and high school teachers (36 percent) see enthusiasm from their students about STEM learning. To help address these findings, today the company unveiled new resources as part of its Generation Beyond program, including a space-themed curriculum and new app that simulates what it's like to explore the surface of Mars.

NASA is planning to send a crew to Mars in the 2030s. To meet tomorrow's ambitious goals, the country will need thousands of today's students to follow career paths that will create the next generations of scientists, engineers and space explorers. According to the national survey of 1,000 teachers (conducted by Morar Consulting from April 5 – 11, ± 3.1% MOE), while just 38 percent of teachers report that a majority of students seem naturally interested in STEM, 83 percent see discussing space-related careers as a potential way to increase student focus on STEM. Other polling highlights include:

  • 52 percent of teachers believe a near-term return to the moon would increase students' interest in STEM
  • 43 percent of teachers say their schools' curriculum is sufficiently preparing students for a STEM career (12 percent of which say very sufficiently preparing students)
  • 23 percent of teachers agree that the current school curriculum is sufficiently preparing students for a career in space exploration

"America's hardworking teachers do an amazing job preparing students for success, and we owe them our support and partnership," said Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems. "The new Generation Beyond curriculum connects students to the real-world exhilaration of space exploration to ignite their interest in STEM. It's incumbent on all of us to help teachers inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers."

In addition to unveiling new materials and interactive content, Lockheed Martin also announced the individual and group winners of the Generation Beyond Video Challenge Contest. The contest challenged students to submit design concepts for the living quarters, or habitat that will dock with NASA's Orion spacecraft as part of the ship that will take the first people to Mars – and where crews will spend over six months while in transit to the red planet. Students could submit entries individually or as a group for a first-place prize of $10,000.

The video challenge attracted hundreds of entries from across the country and the individual winner is from D. Russell Parks Jr. High School in Fullerton, CA. The team winners attend John Adams and Woodrow Wilson middle schools in Edison, NJ. In addition to winning $10,000, the winners will have the opportunity to tour NASA's Kennedy Space Center and to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts in space exploration later this year.

(Source: Lockheed Martin news release. Image from LMC YouTube video)

FMI: www.generationbeyondinschool.com

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