Organization: Central Washington University
Funding Agency: NASA Science Mission Directorate
Program: Science Activation
HRI Role: Evaluation
The Northwest Earth and Space Science Pathways (NESSP) project is a multi-state, multi-institution partnership led by Central Washington University. The project aims to recruit, inspire, and educate the next generation of STEM students through standards-based, mathematics-infused materials based on NASA science and missions, with a particular focus on reaching students in rural, underserved, and/or high-poverty communities throughout Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The project has also placed an emphasis on working with Native American tribes in the Northwest. The project seeks to serve multiple audiences, including students ranging in age from upper elementary school through college as well as elementary, middle, and high school teachers.
To work towards its goal of increasing the flow of diverse students into STEM education and career pathways, NESSP has developed a national student Challenge centered around NASA science. Teams of students from grades 3 to 12 are able to compete in the Challenge, which includes various missions such as designing a mission patch, piloting a drone, and programming a robot to complete a series of tasks on a map. The focus of the challenge has changed over the years, from Mars to the Moon.
HRI’s evaluation activities include reviewing and providing feedback on NESSP’s processes and products. HRI has also developed instruments to measure impacts of the partners’ programming on students and educators.