Project Ianos to reach 3.8 million underrepresented students with powerful, STEM-based content inspired by human space exploration
MELBOURNE, Fla. – A team of leading education specialists, storytellers and space organizations, known as Project Ianos, has been selected by NASA as the recipient of a one-year grant to ignite curiosity among the next generation of explorers using the inspirational story of human space exploration. The team consists of the Aldrin Family Foundation, Explorer At Large, Public Consulting Group, the University of Kansas and numerous NASA Centers. They will develop and deploy compelling videos and hands-on learning tools targeted to 3.8 million underrepresented students in grades 5-8 to get them inspired about future possibilities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“Project Ianos partners have immense bench-strength when it comes to helping students boost their understanding of STEM,” said Dr. Andrew Aldrin, president of AFF and principal investigator for the grant. “We bring different, yet complementary, perspectives that will distribute engaging content to millions of students in underserved communities. Our goals are simple – to get students inspired about space and to become curious, courageous explorers of it. We are honored to have been selected by NASA for this important mission.”
Project Ianos was one of seven (out of 95) submissions selected by NASA for a Cooperative Agreement as part of the Teams Engaging Affiliated Museums and Informal Institutions (TEAM II) Remote Opportunity Rapid Response (RORR) initiative.
Through Project Ianos, students will take an inspirational journey into the past, present and future of human space exploration through impactful videos produced and hosted by world-renowned explorer and award-winning television presenter Josh Bernstein. Archival footage from historic NASA programs like Apollo will be blended with current-day interviews featuring subject-matter experts from NASA and other space industry leaders. Students will then engage in hands-on learning activities that tie directly to the videos. These “missions,” designed to pique curiosity, will be aligned with national education standards and be adaptable to both individual and group learning situations. All Project Ianos videos and educational resources will be free and fully downloadable.
The Project Ianos team includes leaders in aspirational storytelling, curriculum development, teacher training, educational product distribution, and evaluation and metrics.
- Aldrin Family Foundation (AFF) (project lead) – A 501(c)3 nonprofit, youth-serving, education organization that strives to cultivate the next generation of space leaders, entrepreneurs, and explorers. AFF brings expertise in space/space education and curriculum development, inspiring stories from Apollo missions, relationships with school districts and educators, and access to inspirational role models.
- Explorer At Large (XAL) (production lead) – The mission of Explorer At Large is to create generations of curious and courageous explorers. As production lead, XAL will create videos that highlight NASA’s past, present, and future in a dynamic, engaging format.
- Public Consulting Group (PCG) (distribution lead) – PCG’s Education practice offers consulting services and technology solutions to 8,000 school districts, 32 state educational agencies and 75,000 schools nationwide, including 21 of the 25 largest school districts with diverse student populations. PCG will oversee delivery of content to thousands of schools throughout North America, ultimately reaching 3.8 million students in grades 5-8.
- University of Kansas (KU) (evaluation lead) – KU will track and test the program’s efficacy and determine ways to improve it from one school year to the next.
- NASA Centers – NASA will provide access to professionals from the Johnson Space Center, Kennedy Space Center and Goddard Space Flight Center who will provide expertise on the past, present and future of space exploration, with particular emphasis on the Apollo and Artemis programs.
“Children are born naturally curious, eager to explore the world around them. Traditional education often stymies that curiosity, forcing students to memorize information rather than harness that curiosity to develop a mindset and skillset for a rapidly changing world,” said Josh Bernstein, CEO of Explorer At Large. “Project Ianos offers a more compelling vision. We will reawaken that curiosity by introducing students to the dreams, aspirations, and challenges facing those on the frontlines of NASA’s mission to return to the Moon. Our hands-on activities invite students to become explorers themselves, igniting passions and laying the foundation for a strong and diverse future workforce.”
Project Ianos plans to have its first Instructional Units available to students in late spring 2021. For more information, visit www.projectianos.org/.
About Project Ianos
Project Ianos is a collaboration among leading education specialists, space organizations and communications experts to strengthen student understanding of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Through professional videos and hands-on activities aligned with education standards, students take an inspirational journey into the past, present and future of human space exploration and become explorers themselves. Led by the Aldrin Family Foundation, other Project Ianos partners include Explorer At Large, Public Consulting Group, the University of Kansas and NASA Centers. Through strong distribution channels, a projected 3.8 million students in grades 5-8, mostly from underserved and underrepresented communities, benefit from Project Ianos’ content.
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Angelica DeLuccia Morrissey
Griffin Communications Group
(321) 506-2183 (cell); [email protected]