VASTS Teacher Institute

There is no planned VASTS Teacher Institute at this time. Future institutes will be advertised as funding becomes available.

About the Teacher Institute

The Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) program provides Virginia secondary science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) educators the opportunity to participate in a six-day Teacher Institute at NASA Langley Research Center and Virginia Space Grant Consortium, in Hampton, Virginia. With a Mars Exploration theme, educators will be engaged and participate in NASA-developed activities, learn how to incorporate NASA materials and multimedia resources into their lessons from VASTS Master Educators and NASA Mentors.

This program is a partnership between Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) and NASA Langley Research Center.

General Program Description

Participants will come to NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, V.A. where they will meet engineers, scientists, and technologist from the aerospace field who will serve as Mentors. With a systems engineering focus, the winter Teacher Institute immerses the Participants in a cooperative learning and group decision making environment modeling real-world working environments.

The Institute participants shall arrive late afternoon or early evening Sunday, February 8th 2015 at the Candlewood Inn in Hampton VA, to check in and receive critical NASA badging information for the next morning. The Institute's activities will primarily take place at the NASA Langley Research Center's Integrated Engineering Services Building from the morning of Monday February 9th through noon on Friday, February 13th. A detailed agenda will be sent to selected participants via email as the event time approaches.

Who Can Apply?

Virginia high school science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educators are selected to participate through a competitive application process. In order to participate, educators must be:

  • Virginia and U.S. citizens (MANDATORY!)
  • A currently-employed secondary (grades 9-12) science, technology, engineering, or math educator
  • Have a desire to learn about and incorporate NASA resources into their teaching and lessons
  • Have access to email and the Internet

How to Apply?

Fill out and complete the VASTS Teacher Institute application.
See the Application Instructions page for further details

What Will Teachers Do?

The participants arrive at NASA Langley ready to work collaboratively within five teams; Mission Integration, Mission Transit, Science and Surface Operations, Strategic Communications, and Human Factors. These five teams are presented with the problem of creating a human mission to Mars architecture, and teachers will be assigned to these teams shortly after they have been selected to attend the institute. This project provides the participants with the purpose for complex team-based classroom activities such as this Mars mission design. The mission design project will guide participants in working as a team towards a common goal. The participants soon realize that each decision made hinges upon other teams' technology development concepts, needs, and ideas. Participants drive the questions to be asked of the different teams, negotiate terms of agreement, realize tradeoffs in technologies and funding must be made, and learn to employ appropriate communication skills in working with other teams. The NASA Mentors and Master Teachers facilitate the Participants' mission design work and guide the participants to make educated and informed decisions.

The Institute offers Participants opportunities to learn about the latest in space exploration technology and science directly from engineers and scientists working on current mission design projects. Tours of NASA LaRC's facilities housing technologies such as the large-scale Lightweight Surface Manipulator System (LSMS) and the Electron Beam Free-Form Fabricator will be offered as well as hands-on activities that simulate Mars robotic rover communication with Earth, surface exploration, and mineral sampling.

Participants will present their mission design to a small panel of NASA Engineers and Scientists, and recordings of this presentation will be provided to participants for future reference. Each participant will receive a certificate for their work indicating the hours spent on this project.

What is the Cost?

There is no cost for participants and substitute reimbursement will be given to the schools of participants who successfully complete the institute! Lodging at the Candlewood Inn (Hampton, VA) and some meals are provided to ALL participants. Mileage will be reimbursed for those traveling farther than 50 miles from the VSGC offices in Hampton.

What Do I Need to Bring?

Teachers need to bring a laptop and may want to bring a camera because there will be great photo opportunities!