March 11-12: The ARISS team sponsored a two-day ARISS Educate the Educator pilot workshop – a teacher professional development workshop – in Roswell, Georgia at the Computer Museum of America. The purpose of this pilot workshop was to test the use of the ARISS SPARKI (Space Pioneers Amateur Radio Kit Initiative) Radio Kit by putting the kit’s components and instruction manual into teachers’ hands for real-time assessment of the kit’s usefulness and suitability for teaching STEM concepts in classroom environments. Ten educators came from six schools in Georgia and South Carolina. The first day they received instruction on the use of the kit components related to radio waves, radio frequency, basic electricity, and Morse code. They practiced with the kit’s devices and instructional tools such as Snap Circuits, springs, and a Morse code key. They were treated to a hands-on demonstration of a Tesla coil. On day two, teachers received an intro to software-defined radio (SDR) and then they each learned to hook up SDR equipment, being rewarded by getting a waterfall display (a graphic representation of radio signals) on their monitors. They learned to zoom in to see details about the waterfall display and to hear various radio signal transmissions. ARISS leader Diana Schuler, ARISS educators Martha Muir and Rachel Jones, and five members of the North Fulton (GA) Amateur Radio League mentored the teachers who each took home their own SPARKI kit.

March 13:  ARISS educator Micol Ivancic received a reward along with 31 other educators and education groups from Italy. The educators had to create an eight-minute video about lessons tied to space and Mic’s entry (1 of the 32 winners) depicted her ARISS classroom activities. The reward was getting to spend most of a day with Samantha Cristoforetti.  The National Da Vinci Science & Technology Museum in Milan, hosted the event titled Towards Space with Samantha Cristoforetti. 250 guests and VIPs filled the auditorium—35% being students—and Mic’s daughter and ARISS Mentor Gianpietro Ferrario were able to attend, too. Mic wrote that meeting Samantha was a dream come true and, “Samantha gave a lot to our students and to teachers today and during her ISS mission.” Other schools tied into the event via videoconference. Everyone saw Mic’s video on ARISS activities as well as the other 31 videos. All can be accessed on the ESERO-Italy web site.  Mic said, “I was very happy to see what other schools did; through sharing we can grow and learn!”

February 21 & March 2: ARISS educator Melissa Pore took part in two educational events supported for underserved girls and Title 1 schools.  On February 21, 20 students enrolled in Fairfax, VA, 4-H clubs and Title I Fairfax County Public Schools came to a STEM talk presented by ARISS educator Melissa Pore. She spoke to students and their parents on how astronauts keep healthy on the ISS, the Growing Beyond Earth program, and the ARISS program. On March 2, 70 girls from Title I high schools in Annapolis and Baltimore, MD, attended the High School Girls Space Day at the US Naval Academy’s STEM Center in Annapolis. The girls took part in hands-on activities led by STEM faculty and area educators and with support from midshipmen. During the day-long event, girls got involved in, among  other things, rocketry in the Aero lab, an ISS robotics simulation in the computer lab, and a workshop in the satellite lab—the latter included Melissa describing the ARISS program and ARISS Ops’ work with ARISS school contacts.

March 9: ARISS Technical Mentor Charlie Sufana gave an ARISS talk to 45 people at the Vero Beach (FL) Amateur Radio Club. The Indian River County Emergency Operations Center hosts the club for its monthly meetings and the four huge monitors on the walls made for an impressive presentation by Charlie.  He certainly captured members’ attention because at his Q&A, club members asked several dozen questions about ARISS.     

ARISS Upcoming Events 
Mar 30: Amur State University, Blagoveshchensk, Russia – ARISS contact, ARISS-Russia Team