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NASA Announces Awards to Expand Informal STEM Education Network

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA has selected 12 informal educational institutions to receive approximately $6 million in agency funding to provide compelling science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) opportunities in informal education settings, such as museums, science centers, planetariums and NASA visitor centers.

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The selected projects will complement and enhance STEM curricula taught in traditional kindergarten through 12th grade academic settings.

These education grants were awarded through NASA's Competitive Program for Science Museums, Planetariums and NASA Visitor Centers Plus Other Opportunities (CP4SMPVC) in response to a solicitation issued in April 2013. The solicitation sought STEM projects to infuse cutting-edge NASA research and development activities into curriculum development and implementation, teacher preparation and professional development, effective teaching, out-of-school activities and educational technology.

The 2014 selected organizations are:

  • Boston Children's Museum, Boston
  • Discovery Museum, Bridgeport, Connecticut
  • EdVenture Children's Museum, Columbia, South Carolina
  • Great Lakes Science Center (NASA Glenn Research Center Visitor Center), Cleveland
  • Howard B. Owens Science Center, Lanham, Maryland
  • Maryland Science Center, Baltimore
  • Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
  • NASA Ames Research Center Visitor Center, Moffett Field, California
  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Visitor Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland
  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington
  • Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colorado

"Research shows that for most Americans, only about 20 percent of their learning occurs in traditional school settings with the remainder coming from other experiences," said Mary Frances Sladek, director for STEM Education and Accountability in NASA's Office of Education. "The new opportunities offered by these museums and informal education institutions will use NASA content to amplify STEM concepts beyond the classroom."

These projects are designed to engage youth, families, educators and the public through educator professional development, webcasts, digital and traveling exhibits and community-based programming. They have performance periods from one to five years and range in value from approximately $150,000 to $900,000. Final funding is contingent upon NASA's approval of each organization's detailed business plan.

The selected institutions will partner with NASA's Museum Alliance, a nationwide network of education professionals at more than 575 science museums, planetariums, NASA visitor centers, Challenger Centers, and visitor centers at observatories and parks, nature centers, aquariums and zoos.

For more information about this year's CP4SMPVC winners, including project descriptions, visit:

For information about the Museum Alliance, visit:

For information about NASA's education programs, visit:

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