Resources For Community Leaders … take your entire community on a Voyage

 Copyright 2009 | About this blog


It takes a community to educate a child …
and a network of communities to reach a generation.

—Dr. Jeff


Science Education Programs that Engage Entire Communities

This page is for a community’s leaders with a stake in science and technology education, e.g., school boards, school district superintendents, and science supervisors; senior staff at museums, science centers, and planetaria; deans of schools of science, engineering, and education at colleges and universities; mayor’s office senior staff; and business and civic organizational leadership.




The Center embraces as its core belief that—


to continue the legacy of scientific exploration, every generation

must be inspired tolearn what we know about our world and the universe,

and how we have come to know it.


To reach the next generation the Center engages entire communities—students, families, teachers, and the public—through science education programs that provide multiple pathways for student learning. The vision is growing a national and international network of these ‘learning communities’ through which science education programs and resources can be delivered on a regular basis. 



Voyage National Program and Journey Through the Universe




The Voyage model Solar System is permanently installed on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Voyage is a one to 10-billion scale model spanning 2,000 feet from the National Air and Space Museum to the Smithsonian Castle. Voyage was created in partnership with Challenger Center for Space Science Education, the Smithsonian Institution, and NASA, and was approved by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission. I had the privilege of leading the Team that made Voyage a reality.

The Center is now making replicas of Voyage available for permanent installation in communities across the U.S. through the Voyage National Program. Voyage is currently installed in Washington, DC, Kansas City, and in Houston at NASA Johnson Space Center. In July 2009 it will be installed in Corpus Christi, and it is approved for installation in Des Moines, Baltimore, and Orlando. In 2009 we’ll also launch the Voyage International Program, making the exhibition available world-wide given that the visitor experience—an understanding of Earth’s place in space, and a celebration that we can know it—is something shared by all humanity.


See photoalbums of Voyage in different communities on the Voyage Facebook Page:


The exhibition was designed to be the focus of sustained community-wide education programming. A customized tour brochure (the Outdoor Exploration Guide) allows visitors to put the exhibition to use as a laboratory for inquiry-based exploration. A compendium of grade K-12 lessons places a visit to the exhibition within a multi-week unit on Solar System science and exploration in the classroom. Workshops for science center/museum educators and teachers provide training on the lessons and how to conduct tours. And a suite of professional development workshops for teachers, national teams of researchers talking to thousands of students in your community, and family/public programs can be delivered through the Center’s Journey through the Universe program (see below.) The vision is a Learning Community Model for science education.


The Opportunity: Permanently install a replica of Voyage in your community, and let us help you build programming around it. We have been successful helping communities find underwriting through foundations and federal grants, and will help you write the needed proposals. Many proposal templates are now available. CONTACT me to brainstorm the possibilities for Voyage in your community. 

It’s not easy to comprehend the scale of the Solar System. The Voyage exhibition on the National Mall creates a visual and tactile experience that cannot be contained in books or even museums. Walking the distance between Mars and Jupiter one student exclaimed, “I get it.” Back in the classroom, the Voyage lessons provide a frame of reference for discussing space travel and distances to other astronomical objects, such as the nearest star. These are wonderful educational tools and a great experience for all.

—Maureen Kerr, Chair, Education Division

   Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum 


Journey Through the Universe

Delivered by national teams of dynamic scientists and engineers from research organizations across the nation, and master science educators, Journey through the Universe engages entire communities. This remarkable suite of programs for students, teachers, families, and the public is designed to provide multiple and mutually leveraged experiences for student learning. It is a Learning Community Model for science education. 


Resources available to each community include: grade K-12 lessons in the Earth and space sciences, professional development programs for educators, visits from scientists and engineers to thousands of students—one classroom at a time, and programs designed for family learning and for the public.


Communities small and large can combine these resources to create a Journey through the Universe program that meets their needs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. Journey can be delivered across an entire school district and is designed for sustainability.


The Opportunity: You can bring Journey through the Universe to your community. whether or not you are inteested in a Voyage model Solar System. If you are interested in Voyage, then Journey through the Universe can be used to place the exhibition at the center of a sustained community-wide learning experience. CONTACT me to explore a customized Journey through the Universe program for your community. 

…we are thrilled that science, math, and technology content areas came alive.  Our local team was also able to easily integrate Hawai’i Content and Performance Standards with the Journey curriculum.  This comprehensive model has really broadened…how we do the business of education and how we relate and connect with educators, students, community and businesses.  What an enriching experience Journey has been for the educators within the Department of Education and for the Hilo community and business organizations!

—Valerie Takata, Superintendent
   Hilo/Laupahoehoe/WaiakeaComplex, Hawai’i District


Journey through the Universe on the Big Island of Hawaii



Key Links for Voyage


Voyage National Program:


Voyage Community Map (current communities that have installed or are installing Voyage):

Photoalbums of Voyage in different communities on the Voyage Facebook Page:

Become a fan!



Quick link to the downloadable grade K-12 Voyage lessons:


Voyage Model Solar Systems on Wiki:



Key Links for Journey through the Universe


Journey through the Universe main site:



The Learning Community Model:



Powerful Downloads for Building Community Interest in Voyage and Journey

Here are two documents that can help you build interest in your community:

Links PDF with hotlinks to everything Voyage and Journey: exhibition design, Journey through the Universe programming, grade K-12 lessons, and pedagogy. If you open this document on screen, all links will be active and you can explore key concepts as you see fit. This is a great document to send to colleagues, so they can explore all facets of these two programs.


Powerpoint for the Voyage Exhibition at Space Center Houston, NASA Johnson Space Center’s visitors center. The power point includes photos; assessment data for the opening event workshop for lead science teachers; an overview of the grade K-12 lessons; and an overview of the Outdoor Exploration Guide (tour brochure) that puts the exhibition to work as an inquiry-based laboratory. DOWNLOAD (6.6 MB) 




MESSENGER Educator Fellowship Programmessengerforblog

On August 3, 2004, NASA launched the MESSENGER spacecraft to Mercury, the second mission to the planet. Unlike its predecessor Mariner 10, which flew by Mercury in 1973 and 1974, MESSENGER will enter orbit in 2011 and begin a full year of observations. MESSENGER is destined to change our view of Mercury—and how our Solar System was born.


A Team of national organizations oversees MESSENGER Education and Public Outreach programming to take the nation along for the ride. As a member of the Team, the Center recruits, trains, and maintains a corps of 30 of some of the best science educators in the nation—the MESSENGER Fellows—which in turn train 3,000 teachers a year on grade K-12 lessons addressing Solar System science and engineering. As of May 1, 2009, 12,470 grade K-12 teachers have been trained at 539 workshops and briefings by the Fellows. The Fellows also help deliver the Center’s Journey through the Universe programming to communities.


The Opportunity: wouldn’t it be nice to have a teacher from your school district become a MESSENGER Educator Fellow!  Have teachers apply. The new announcement of opportunity will be available January 2010, for selection in March 2010 for the 2011-13 Fellowship Corps. It will be an exciting time—MESSENGER goes into orbit around Mercury on March 18, 2011 and begins at least a one year study of the planet. Each Fellow receives an all expenses paid week of training in Washington, DC, business cards designating them as a MESSENGER Fellow, a press release for their local media outlets, and a wealth of content.


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