Title: The NASA Ames NAI Team participates in the Choctaw Nation STEM camp — Short Story: On June 26, 2018, members of the NASA Ames NAI CAN 7 team led a summer STEM camp for high-school students of the Choctaw Nation in Hartshorne, Oklahoma. Drs. Andrew Mattioda and Michel Nuevo presented an introduction to astrobiology followed by seven hands-on science activities for the students. These activities included demonstrations of the concepts of “what is life?”, biodiversity, chromatography, spectroscopy, atomic emission, refraction of light, and electromagnetism. Each activity was accompanied by a brief introduction to the topic followed by some examples of how astrobiologists, astronomers, and astrochemists utilize these techniques at NASA.
Twenty-five high school students, ranging from 9th to 12th grade, attended the program along with 4 local area teachers, who are members of the Choctaw Nation. Prior to our arrival, the students informed the STEM Camp manager that they wanted to be challenged at the camp. At the end of our session, the students complemented Drs. Nuevo and Mattioda stating they, the students, were challenged by the activities. The high school teachers also participated in the activities and stated they would be adopting several of the science activities to teach science concepts in their classes next fall.
NASA Ames participation in the camp is made possible through the NASA Astrobiology Institute under Cooperative Agreement Notice NNH13ZDA017C issued through the Science Mission Directorate.