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NASA Explorer School Program Lets Kids Reach For The Stars

Feb. 15, 2010

Ms. Sommers teaches in the robotics lab at West Ward.

½ a dozen or so lego robots rest on a giant table, or what looks like a lego challenge course. 3 - 5th graders design, build and program these robots to perform specific tasks.

Both West Ward Elementary in Killeen and the G.W. Carver Academy here in Waco received funding as part of the NASA Explorer School program from 2004 to 2007. Today, the schools continue to forge ahead inspiring their students with NASA, and also cultivating partnerships with local businesses, and institutions of higher learning. Jim Heston heads up the NES program at the Carver Academy.

One student from the G.W. Carver Academy talks about a recent experiment--they walked to the moon. No small feat.

Maureen Adams is the principal and director of the NES program at West Ward. She said hands-on learning is what the children of today need.

And Saavy seems to be effective at West Ward.

Although its not hard data, Jim Heston attests to the benefits.

And NASA benefits from the students as well--leave it to a child to point out the obvious--something even a scientist might overlook.

The NES program opens the door to many more opportunities, beyond NASA, for the schools and the students. G.W. Carver Academy has formed a partnerships with Time Warner, L3, Baylor University, Hillcrest Baptist Medical who participate in Carver's NASA night. At West Ward the NES program justified the creation of a science lab; it bridged connections to Harvard University and the University of Arizona.

Thanks to first bold educators, and the NASA Explorer School program these children know they can reach for the stars. For KWBU news, I'm Jacqueline Deavenport.

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