Calling all K-12 educators! Join us at the Aldrin Family Foundation’s Space Curriculum Collaborative to connect with teachers from around the world, learn new teaching perspectives and develop lessons to implement in your classroom. Registration fees and access to the Kennedy Space Center are covered by the Aldrin Family Foundation.

  • Dates: July 22-25, 2024

  • Location: NASA’s Kennedy Space Center – Center for Space Education 

What to Expect: 

  • Engaging Sessions: Hear from guest speakers and leading subject-matter experts in the space education field including: 
    • Jim Christensen (Aldrin Family Foundation) – Opening Day/Welcome  
    • Dr. Melissa Patton (Space Foundation) – Space Workforce 2030 and career readiness in the classroom
    • David Smail (Blue Origin) – Data Science 
    • Laura Bell (The University of Sunderland) – Research and Exploration with the Giant Moon and Mars Maps  
    • Melissa Pore (Bishop O’Connell) – Teacher Engagement  
    • Kevin Simmons (BLUECUBE Aerospace) – BLUECUBE Aerospace
    • Dr. Quincie Moore (South Carolina Association of School Administrators) – Closing
  • Interactive Tours: Explore Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and gain insights into the history and future of space exploration.  
  • Curriculum Development: Collaborate with fellow educators to develop rich curriculum materials you can implement in your own classroom. 
  • Access to Resources: Gain access to Aldrin Family Foundation resources, including the Giant Moon and Mars Maps. Guests will also have access to Blue Origin’s non-profit Club for the Future resources such as the Postcards to Space program.
  • Lunch Provided: Join us for a complimentary lunch every day of the workshop.
  • Giant Moon Map™ Opportunity: We are donating one Giant Moon Map™ that attendees will have the chance to win at the end of the workshop. 


Certificate of Completion will be provided to those who attend all 4 days, which can count towards teaching re-certification. 

Hotel & Travel Arrangements: 

Attendees are expected to make their own travel and hotel arrangements. If you’re flying, we recommend traveling through Orlando International Airport (MCO). We also recommend considering the Courtyard by Marriott Titusville Kennedy Space Center for your hotel stay.


Please note that this schedule is still subject to change. Feel free to keep an eye on our website for the most up to date information!

Speaker Bios:

Jim Christensen – Aldrin Family Foundation

Jim Christensen serves as the Chief Innovation Officer for the Aldrin Family Foundation. Previously, Jim served as Director of Education at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex where he led a team to design the new Astronaut Training Experience and Mars Base 1, an immersive experience of preparing for spaceflight and living and working on Mars. He worked as part of the “Teaching from Space” program at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, where he coordinated the first Spaceflight Education Opportunity – a video conference between the crew of the International Space Station and students in classrooms. He has advised students and teachers on multiple experiments that have flown in microgravity aboard NASA’s Reduced Gravity Aircraft, the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the International Space Station and the SpaceX Dragon.

Jim taught at the middle school level for 18 years and was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science in 1995. He developed the Mars Base Project and AstroVIP programs that used video conferencing to connect students and experts to discuss space flight and Mars exploration. To improve the level of science teaching for elementary and middle school students, Jim established a science materials center that partnered schools across a region to provide hands-on science kits for classrooms and training for teachers.

Dr. Melissa Patton – Space Foundation

Dr. Melissa Patton is a seasoned educator and product management expert with 15+ years of experience leading cross-functional teams and scaling organizations through product-led growth (PLG). Her accomplishments include enterprise experience which led to a lean start-up that thrived in implementing technology solutions and executing innovative products in a data and customer driven environment. Additionally, she is a higher education executive with 20+ years as a tenured professor and a C-suite academic administrator.

Melissa holds a bachelor’s degree from Drake University in English Writing, a master’s degree from Concordia University in Counseling Psychology, and a Doctorate in Education from Benedictine University in Higher Education and Organizational Change. Melissa is driven by a commitment to educational access, meeting students where they are. With a dedicated focus on equitable health, she actively works to drive change, combat racial disparities, and promote awareness.

Laura Bell – University of Sunderland

Laura Bell is the STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, and Medicine) Outreach Officer at the University of Sunderland in northeast England. She works in the Widening Access and Participation Team to promote pathways to Higher Education with a STEMM Focus. She also coordinates the University’s partnership with the Aldrin Family Foundation to deliver exciting and innovative space education to local schools. She has worked in Higher Education, with a focus on Widening Participation and schools’ outreach, for 10 years.

Kevin Simmons – BLUECUBE Aerospace

Kevin L. Simmons is a professional educator and aerospace principal investigator (P.I.). He founded BLUECUBE Aerospace, Inc., co-created the Aerospace and Innovation Academy, Inc. (AIA), and currently leads the Wolfpack CubeSat Development team (WCDT) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Simmons is P.I. for two NASA-selected CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) missions, WeissSat-1 and CapSat-1, and the first to lead a middle school CSLI team, launching in 2018 and 2022. Simons is co-I. for the Wolfpack’s FlipSat-1, launched in 2024 and is P.I. for the Wolfpack’s fourth mission and third CubeSat, the WolfSat-1, selected by Firefly Aerospace’s DREAM 2.0 program for flight in 2025. He is trained as a biochemist, and has worked in industry, military and academia. Simmons completed two years as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow and four years as a senior policy analyst in the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Directorate. He currently serves in leadership roles in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) on both the SmallSat and Educational Technical Committees. Simmons is the current president of the Florida Association for the Gifted, and Area Director for the Florida Association of Science Teachers, member of the inaugural Limitless Space Institute Educator Fellowship, a 2023 NASA AAPT HEAT Physics Ambassador, a Space Foundation Teacher Liaison, and an ISS Educator Ambassador. Simmons recent national-level awards include the National Space Council Space Worker Hall of Fame, AIAA Foundation Educator Achievement Award, Dwyer Award for Excellence in STEM education, and Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University with Biochemistry and Chemistry degrees and is a professional educator with a gifted endorsement and licensed to teach Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Earth/Space Science and 6th-12th Mathematics.

Melissa Pore – Twiggs Space Lab

Melissa Pore, M.Ed., has 25 years of experience teaching K–12, both in public and private schools. She currently works as a satellite designer at Twiggs Space Lab and an engineering teacher at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Va. 

David Smail – Blue Origin

David Smail came to Blue Origin in early 2022 following a 25 year career in public education in Maine, where he taught science and technology courses, primarily Physics, Computer Programming, Robotics, and pre-Engineering at the high school level. There he also coached their Science Olympiad team and was advisor for the Space Club at their sending middle school. Prior to teaching he was employed as an engineer at EG&G in Groton CT and PharLap Software in Cambridge MA where he found his passion for teaching and instructional design. 

David is currently a Training Engineer for Blue Origin’s New Shepard program. This role involves development, implementation, and sustainment of maintenance training programs, qualification management, and record keeping for the technicians and engineers who refurbish the New Shepard vehicle and launch support equipment between flights. He is based in Kent, Washington and travels frequently to the Blue Origin launch site in West Texas.

Dr. Quincie Moore – South Carolina Association of School Administrators

Dr. Quincie Moore has spent over thirty-five years in the education field in South Carolina. She has served as the Director of Early Learning and Literacy at the South Carolina Department of Education. Quincie previously served as the Superintendent of Cherokee County and the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services in Spartanburg School District Two. Prior to these roles, Quincie also served as an adjunct college math professor, a middle and high school principal, and a high school math teacher.

Future Goals:

At the Aldrin Family Foundation, we plan to expand the reach of our workshop and offer more locations throughout the year.  

Contact Us!

For any questions on the Space Curriculum Collaborative, contact us through the form below.

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