Space and Imagination

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Due to a family emergency, we are reposting one of our most popular 2021 episodes. Please enjoy this rebroadcast and we’ll look forward to resuming our current episodes next week.

"Space Teacher" Steve Jones in a black T-shirt with "Got Nodules?" on it, against a background with a rocket on a launch pad

Quick! Who was your favorite teacher in high school?

If you ask middle-school students in Milton, Georgia, a lot of them might answer, “Mr. Jones”.

That’s because Steve Jones, The Space Teacher, is all about learning by exploring and experimenting.

Steve, who teaches STEAM at Hopewell Middle School in Milton, Georgia, is a lifelong space-science enthusiast. He is both a NASA Solar System Ambassador and freelance Principal Investigator for experiential STEM learning organization Magnitude.io.

And if you try something and fail–that’s fantastic.

In this March, 2021 nterview with Steve, he discussed his passion for space and space science, the ways he incorporates those into his classes to capture students’ interest, and some of his favorite educational resources.

On this edition of Over Coffee®, we cover:
  • How the space program first sparked Steve’s imagination;
  • Why Steve (who originally didn’t care much for math!) came to incorporate it into his passion for science;
  • The best creative challenge that faced Steve, in interesting non-science-oriented students in science;
  • How Steve’s unusual perspective on failure in his classes encourages students in engineering;
  • One of Steve’s favorite STEAM lessons from the NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador program;
  • A new experiment which the students are doing in cooperation with NASA and Miami’s Fairchild Botanical Garden;
  • How Steve gave the students ownership of their own creativity on this particular project;
  • What first started Steve off as a STEAM teacher, when beginning his career in education;
  • The work of Magnitude.io and how Steve first became involved in the program;
  • How Steve’s seventh-grade class began research with Magnitude.io’s ExoLab 6 experiment;

  • How to get involved in the Magnitude.io program, if you are an educator;
  • One “failure” that led to better research in Steve’s science class;
  • Some additional educational resources, including Zooniverse, which relates science to various arts and humanities topics among its citizen science exploration.

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