(09/20/13) - This may look like any regular school project - they cut, they color, and even choose teams names.
But a closer look shows this lesson isn't for students.
"It's really great that we get to learn hands-on just like the kids will," said Zach Treder, youth development leader.
Treder works in the Genesee Intermediate School District's 'Bridges to Success' after school program. He's one of several educators from around the state taking part in a pilot program launched by NASA.
"The project they're working on right now is helping us through the same problems that our scientists and engineers face when we try to land our rovers on Mars," said Robert Lasalvia, of NASA,
Michigan is just one of three states chosen for the program that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics - otherwise known as STEM.
"We really are in this for trying to get us the future workforce we need," Lasalvia said.
A big part of the project is getting kids to learn without realizing it's work.
"See how you do it, and so you can directly describe 'I've done this, so this is how you're going to do it,'" Treder said.
"We really think it's important that when we teach teachers, we need to teach them with how they should be teaching kids," said Lorraine Thoreson, of the Michigan Dept. of Education.
This isn't the only time students and staff will have contact with NASA. There will be follow-up sessions online, and students will submit YouTube videos about what they learned to NASA in November.
Treder and his team members are already feeling confident they can use what they learned here to inspire students back the class.
"Actually ,ours was pretty successful, and I mean, it was a lot of teamwork between the four of us at our table," he said.
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