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LPI Education and Public Outreach
A Brief History of SCORE

What was SCORE? | What did SCORE Do? | What was the Support Network?
What Did Broker Facilitators Do?
| What did Forums Do?


What was SCORE?

SCORE stands for “South Central Organization of Researchers and Educators.”  For a little over a decade, SCORE (originally called the Lunar and Planetary Institute Broker Facilitator) supported partnerships among space scientists, formal and informal educators, school systems, developers of educational materials, science centers, and community organizations in Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Through our efforts, we increased the public's understanding of, and interest in, space science. SCORE was one of seven Broker/Facilitators within NASA's Space Mission Directorate (SMD) Support Network.

NASA’s Broker program concluded in June 2007.
For more information at NASA, go to
or e-mail [email protected].


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What did SCORE Do?

Assistance for Space Scientists and Educators Interested in Partnering / Undertaking Education Projects
SCORE staff consulted with scientists interested in developing E/PO programs and educators interested in becoming more involved.  SCORE encouraged participation, facilitated partnerships, and offered suggestions to make programs more meaningful and of higher impact.

Community Conferences
SCORE helped to build understanding within the space science research and educational communities by co-hosting annual to semi-annual community conferences that explored educational topics of mutual interest to space scientists, mission education leads, education specialists, and educators. These annual one-day space science education workshops covered a variety of topics.

Speaker’s Bureau
SCORE was pleased to directly assist educators, community groups, and other organizations in Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas in connecting with local speakers for events in those states.

Monthly Electronic Educator Newsletter
The SCORE space science electronic newsletter’s distribution grew throughout the period of funding.  At the close of the SCORE program, it reached over 2,000 educators, including K-12 teachers, planetarians and museum educators, amateur astronomers, pre-service teachers, and college faculty.  The newsletter highlighted NASA SMD missions, space science educator workshops, opportunities for involvement, events, and grant opportunities.

Quarterly Updates to the Science Community
Through the Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin, an electronic newsletter reaching over 1,500 planetary scientists, SCORE highlighted opportunities for the planetary community to become involved in and leverage Support Network resources, events, and activities.

State Education Conferences
SCORE attended approximately 6 regional and national science teachers conferences annually, impacting approximately 6500 teachers throughout the region in the last 4 years. Participation in state conferences allowed SCORE to have extended conversations with educators to learn more about the needs of teachers and students. Frequently these educators did not have the opportunity to attend regional or national education conferences. SCORE offered hands-on workshops framed around Forum science content and invited SMD scientists to participate as presenters. SCORE also hosted exhibit booths at the conferences, connecting educators with appropriate SMD mission science and education opportunities for their classrooms, and inviting them to become part of the community.

Traveling Planetarium Program
The Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS; Dr. Carolyn Sumners) and Rice University (Dr. Pat Reiff) coordinated four digital portable planetarium theatres, which traveled throughout the SCORE Broker region to share NASA science with traditionally underserved audiences.  Each planetarium had a variety of Earth and space science shows available for presentation. Show content was enhanced through the distribution of other NASA resources and use of hands-on activities.  In addition to sharing the content with diverse audiences, HMNS and Rice trained educators and scientists in the use of the digital planetarium and the show content. Teacher training included astronomy content, alignment of content with the standards, and hands-on use of the computers and portable planetarium equipment and technology. Collaboration yielded the traveling planetarium program, reached 42,480 students and families, and provided training to 980 teachers. For more information about the traveling planetarium program, contact Dr. Carolyn Sumners at [email protected] .

Small Grants for Educator-Scientist Collaborations and Workshops
SCORE offered small grants to scientist and educator teams to help them collaborate in the development of a project or an educator workshop. SCORE funded multiple teams of scientists and teachers to implement teacher workshops and educator-scientist projects.

Planetary Data in Education Initiative
The Planetary Data in Education Initiative, a joint effort between SCORE and the Solar System Exploration Education Forum, was established to explore issues in electronic access to planetary data for educational use, including curriculum, tools, and interfaces that enable the effective use of data in educational settings. The community includes formal educators, informal educators from museums and planetariums, SMD education specialists, curriculum and product developers, learning technologists, planetary data providers, and Earth and space science researchers. Through the initiative, several conferences were held to bring together interested stakeholders to examine the needs of the audiences, challenges in providing/accessing planetary data in educational settings, and strategies for addressing the challenges and needs. The effort is ongoing.

Pre-Service Education Working Group
SCORE was instrumental in the formation and sustained efforts of the Pre-Service Education Working Group, helping to create a vibrant community of scientists and educators interested in improving teacher preparation in space science. In order to develop a deeper understanding of pre-service programs and needs, and identify diverse ways to meet those needs relating to space science education, SCORE, with guidance from the PSEWG, conducted a national survey of teacher educators. SCORE attended eight national and regional conferences on behalf of PSEWG, presenting workshops and posters, and conducting meetings to assess the needs of the pre-service community, and sharing ideas and opportunities to improve teacher preparation in space science. SCORE facilitated the participation of other members of the PSEWG in attending teacher education meetings, and initiated partnerships with several teacher education organizations, inviting those organizations to meet with us. Other members of the PSEWG, including participants from other Brokers and Forums, have been involved in these activities as full partners hosting the PSEWG, initiating discussions, and sharing ideas and opportunities. The Pre-Service Educators Working Group has initiated discussions and partnerships to build a foundation of understanding and to define collaborative paths to bringing space science into the pre-service educational environment, through interactions with science and education faculty and future teachers.

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What was the Support Network?

NASA's Science Mission Directorate initiated the Support Network to share space science mission and research programs with the broader community. The Support Network helped to facilitate educational programs and partnerships and works to enhance public understanding of space science.

The Support Network was a nationwide program served by seven Broker/Facilitators and five Education Forums, covering four exciting research themes.

What did Broker/Facilitators Do?
  • Focused on a specific geographical region
  • Created and nurture partnerships between space scientists and educators to carry out high-leverage E/PO activities
  • Facilitated the development and dissemination of space science E/PO materials
What did Forums Do?
  • Focused on a specific space science theme
  • Coordinated the E/PO efforts of individual space science missions within their theme area
  • Helped make mission discoveries, results, and associated E/PO efforts accessible and readily available to the education community

Each Forum addressed different research questions. Researchers involved with the Astronomical Search for Origins asked questions about how galaxies and stars form. Do other planets like the Earth exist? What diverse forms of life should we search for?

The Structure and Evolution of the Universe theme encompassed questions about the size, structure, and fate of our universe. Is our universe infinitely large and will it expand forever? What are the cycles of matter and energy in the evolving universe? Are there other universes than our own?

Scientists who worked in the Solar System Exploration theme are trying to understand the formation and evolution of Earth — including life on it. They are interested in how the planets in our solar system originated and how they have changed. This understanding will help prepare for future human exploration of other planets such as Mars!

The Sun Earth Connection theme focused on questions about how our Sun formed and how it is changing, as well as its processes. These researchers are also helping us to understand how the Sun influences Earth's weather, climate, and communications, and how it may impact space exploration.


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Last updated
July 6, 2007