Seven lesson modules have been compiled to expand students’ knowledge, to prepare the Scholars for a week at NASA Langley Research Center if accepted to attend a Summer Academy and to familiarize them with NASA’s Earth System exploration. Learning will take place through weekly reading assignments, simulations, viewing video segments, and participating in online discussions. Learning will be demonstrated through the completion of case study analyses, data analysis, quizzes, APA written reports, and a final capstone report. These module activities are submitted in sequential order every two weeks and posted through the VESSS online course website. All activities within the modules are reviewed and evaluated by a certified Virginia educator through the online system with detailed feedback provided.
All VESSS modules are aligned to the following standards for students in grades 9-12.
● Next Generation Science Standards (Earth Science and Space Sciences)
● National Educational Technology Standards (isteNETS)
● International Technology Education Association (ITEA)
● National Science Education Standards (NSES)
● Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL’s) for Earth Science (Level II) and Sciences
Students may receive up to five transferable dual-enrolled college credits, at no cost to them, from Thomas Nelson Community College depending upon their successful completion of the online course and Summer Academy program.
● Online Course: Topics GOL 105 – 4.0 transferable credits
● Summer Academy: Topics GOL 199 Independent Research – 1.0 credits
To receive credit for this course:
Once you have applied to TNCC and submitted your registration form (This is provided on the VESSS Online Course Website), you must maintain a “C” or higher in the course to earn transferable credit.
For more information on TNCC’s Dual Enrollment, click here.
For the Thomas Nelson Community College handbook, click here.
If selected students participate in the distance learning coursework and complete the Summer Academy program, students will need to discuss high school credit with their school counselors to receive science elective credit towards graduation. The final decision regarding any credit rests with the student’s school system.
This Geology 105 course falls under the guidelines of Virginia as an Earth Science Level II course.
Students are put into groups of four mission teams: the Biosphere, the Hydrosphere, the Atmosphere, and the Lithosphere. Each team will collaboratively design a feasible mission to study the Earth Systems and the effects on climate variability. At the end of the week they present details of their mission to NASA scientists, engineers, and technologists during a Mission Design Review Panel and then to NASA administrators, state legislators, parents, and other VIPs at the Closing Ceremony.
Scholars will tour different facilities and labs that are typically not accessible to the public to view projects and technologies that currently support space exploration programs. Scholars have the opportunity to observe a vast array of careers in the areas of math, science, engineering, and technology. They will receive seminar presentations from NASA scientists, engineers technologists, special guest speakers, and Earth Systems Science industry representatives.
During the Summer Academy, NASA scientists, engineers and other NASA personnel, as well as Academia professionals, will mentor each of the four teams. The NASA Mentors and Academia experts work directly with the students several hours each day to offer guidance, advice, and knowledge to help the scholars successfully complete their mission designs. The scholars learn from the mentors how to work effectively on a project team when given a budget with specific parameters and tight benchmarks and deadlines to meet. The mentors also share their background and working experiences with the scholars.
As a VESSS Scholar, once the distance learning activities are finished and the Summer Academy ended, the responsibility continues. Scholars are encouraged to
● Maintain an e-mail relationship with the VESSS Coordinator
● Recommend the program to others
● Help recruit new students
● Continue contact with VESSS, as required, and maintain information concerning their choice of college, choice of major and post-graduation plans
For questions about the curriculum, modules, and Summer Academy, please contact:
Joyce H. Corriere, STEM Education Program Specialist, VESSS Coordinator
office: (757) 766-5210
fax: (757) 766-5205