06.12.06 Debbie V.

Nguyen Johnson Space Center, Houston (281) 483-5111 RELEASE: J06-067 LOCAL STUDENTS IN NASA PROGRAM SCORE WITH HOUSTON DYNAMO NASA Astronaut Jose Hernandez will make the ceremonial first kick at the June 17 Houston Dynamo game in recognition of more than 130 Houston students who have reached the goal of becoming one of NASA’s 21st Century Explorers. Fifteen 21st Century Explorer Student Ambassadors, who helped kickoff the project, also have been invited. After completing a three-week after-school program, the students received passes to witness other Houstonians making some goals of their own. Pre-game activities include the broadcast of a 30-second announcement congratulating all the students, followed by NASA news clips starring the 21st Century Explorer Student Ambassadors appearing on the Jumbotran. Both activities will be in English and Spanish. NASA’s 21st Century Explorer project is a bilingual program that aims to inspire and motivate 3rd- to 5th- grade students, especially in underrepresented and underserved populations, toward interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The project's educational packages, as well as an after-school program, depict NASA's Vision for Space Exploration of going back to the moon, then on to Mars and beyond. The educational packages, which follow national education standards, also contain a glossary, quiz, book, several Web-based resources, and educator and student sections of a hands-on activity. During the pilot after-school program, students participated in hands-on activities that helped answer questions like, “Why do astronauts eat tortillas instead of bread?â€​ and “What will replace the space shuttle?â€​ They also presented their final projects at a fair held at Baylor College of Medicine. “Through the students’ participation in this project we feel they are on a path to getting the right skills to become future explorers and

helping to keep the nation a leader in space exploration,â€​ said Jaqueline Cortez, 21st Century Explorer Project Lead. “One of them may even be one of the first people to step foot on Mars.â€​ The after-school program, which kicked-off in May 2006, was held in three Independent School Districts in Harris County: Hollibrook Elementary, Westwood Elementary and Treasure Forest Elementary in Spring Branch ISD; Felix Morales Elementary and Kruse Elementary in Pasadena ISD; Gregory-Lincoln Elementary; Wharton Elementary, J. Will Jones Elementary in Houston ISD; and Amigos Por Vida-FFL, a charter school. All hands-on activities and associated materials can be accessed free in both English and Spanish on the Web at: http://ksnn.larc.nasa.gov/21Century/ For more information on NASA and its other education programs on the Internet, go to: www.nasa.gov -end-