EarthKAM is an international award-winning education program, allowing students to photograph and analyze our planet from the perspective of the
Schools around the world are lining up to participate in the program, which is growing by leaps and bounds. The most recent mission,
"This program will help our students become more scientifically literate," said
"The goal of the investigation is to cast the net wide and encourage all students to take advantage of this great opportunity from the space station," said
Students learn about Earth science including human geography, geology, ecology and global change, as well as the intricacies of what it takes to live and work in space, such as orbital dynamics, mission operations, scales, precision and accuracy. The outreach program staff is made up of a group of students attending the University of
In order to participate in the research platform, middle-school students must first learn about spacecraft orbits and Earth photography. They then request their desired images by tracking the orbit of the space station. This includes checking the weather to make sure the station will have a clear view.
UCSD collects the requests and, with help from representatives at
EarthKAM is designed to be an inquiry-based investigation for students, but it also provides wide latitude for implementation and focus. The image database with all of the photos taken since 2001 and the educational tools on the website can be tailored for a few afternoon classes or semester-long courses. Teachers and schools -- including home schools -- can build their lesson plans to support a variety of educational standards that fit within their curricular constraints.
"Their enthusiasm to learn more about our home is awe-inspiring," said
Students are able to participate actively in spaceflight by taking and seeing images of Earth. They also learn critical scientific fundamentals, obtaining a taste of operational pressures and pursuing their own interests about viewing Earth's surface. This allows students to think globally and, if they are in involved in multiple missions, look for changes.
The image collection and accompanying learning guides and activities are resources that allow EarthKAM to support lessons in Earth science, space science, environmental science, geography, social studies, mathematics, communications and art. Whether students are participating during summer school or planning an EarthKAM mission in the coming school year, they will find the program a source of inspiration as they learn about their world.
International Space Station Program Science Office
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