Teachers Use Hands-on Teaching with NASA LIVEâ„¢

March 15, 2005

Although research indicates that the hands-on approach for teaching is the best way for students to learn science, many teachers do not believe that they can effectively utilize this method. Lack of self-confidence in successfully using science manipulatives hampers those teachers who feel intimidated by “the unknown.” Teacher and student participation in videoconferences, such as the FREE videoconferences provided by NASA LIVE™ (Learning Interactively through Videoconferencing Experiences) can change teacher beliefs about the use and application of hands-on science.

NASA LIVE™ videoconferences successfully demonstrate how teachers can work together in a pragmatic manner to foster increased use of hands-on science. NASA LIVE™ provides teachers with a method of teaching science that moves away from textbooks and worksheets. Teachers and students have the opportunity to interact with NASA experts in a virtual setting as they participate in hands-on activities like the Mars Egg Drop Activity or the Nutrition and Exercise Challenge. Produced by NASA Langley’s Center for Distance Learning: http://cdl.larc.nasa.gov, NASA LIVE™ offers FREE videoconferencing programs for K-12 teachers and students to (1) provide opportunities for learning, instructional enrichment, and professional development and (2) help participants connect not only science, but also technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related contents to NASA research and careers.

Although some teachers may continue to feel intimidated by the hands-on approach, their patterns of teaching will shift slowly as they become more confident in their hands-on teaching ability. Reinforcing the value of effectively teaching science through the hands-on methods demonstrated on NASA LIVE™ supports and encourages teachers to constantly improve their skills, ultimately increasing students’ interest and knowledge in science, and the corresponding areas of technology, engineering, and mathematics.

NASA LIVEâ„¢ events feature 30- to 60-minute videoconferences that incorporate multimedia and hands-on activities that guide teachers through enriching classroom instruction. Each videoconference allows teachers and students to establish real-world connections with NASA experts and learn from the engineers and scientists who play important roles in events such as the Mars Exploration Rovers mission. Other exciting topics relate to (1) biological flight, (2) math and model making, (3) weather and satellites, (4) rocketry, (5) careers, and more. For additional information about NASA LIVEâ„¢ from available topics to how to request your own topic, visit the NASA LIVEâ„¢ website at http://live.larc.nasa.gov.