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  1. Celeste Brown
  2. Associate Research Director
  4. Tennessee State University
  1. Trinetia Respress
  2. Interim Assistant Dean
  4. Tennessee State University

MUREP - Minority University Research and Education Project


2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8

The TSU SITES-M/MUREP Aerospace Academy is designed to:

  • Inspire a more diverse student population to pursue careers in STEM-related fields;
  • Engage students, parents/adult family members and teachers by immersing them in STEM activities involving emerging technologies and high-tech applications; and
  • Educate students utilizing rigorous STEM curricula, designed and implemented by NASA, and utilizing effective evidence-based strategies employed by leading STEM professionals and agencies.
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Discussion from the 2019 STEM for All Video Showcase (12 posts)
  • Icon for: Kenneth Huff

    Kenneth Huff

    Teacher of Science
    May 13, 2019 | 06:23 a.m.

    Students were clearly engaged in engineering design in various capacities.  Can you provide a specific example(s) of several of the solutions students worked on during the project?  The video states activities were led by metro Nashville Public School teachers and undergraduate STEM students.  What types of professional development experiences were provided through the program to the teachers and students so they could effectively facilitate student learning with the K-8 students?  Thank you.

  • Icon for: Trinetia Respress

    Trinetia Respress

    Interim Assistant Dean
    May 14, 2019 | 12:15 p.m.

    One specific example is the spaghetti tower activity. Students used the engineering design process to build a structure to handle a load. Students tested factors affecting the strength and stability of a structure. They then applied the engineering design process to identify the problem, brainstorm, design, build, test, redesign, and share their solutions.  In the process they also measured and recorded the strength and amount of weight the structure held.

     Another example is the soda straw rocket. This was a great activity where students engaged in the engineering design process. Students used a template and created a rocket that they launched from a soda straw. Students were challenged to modify the design to see how the changes affected the rocket performance. Students performed several solutions such as changing the rocket length, trying different fin shapes and angles to see how the rocket launch performs.

    The program partnered with Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) to deliver this event. MNPS teachers are provided PD through the district in several capacities. Teachers at this event received training through the Encore Program. All of the teachers are certified science teachers. 

    Tennessee State University’s student leaders are provided with several hands –on training throughout the year utilizing the NASA Aerospace Education Laboratory (AEL).  The program has hired a curriculum specialist to work with these students.  Students are also provided professional development training through outside consultants on the use of technology in the AEL laboratory.  Finally, students are trained by professors in areas such as virtual reality, robotics, flight, etc. 

    Hopefully, I have answered your questions.

  • Icon for: Christine Cunningham

    Christine Cunningham

    preK-12 Science and Engineering Educator
    May 13, 2019 | 01:14 p.m.

    It’s wonderful to see examples of parents or caregivers and children engaging in activities together. I’m wondering how you recruit your participants and whether you have any resources or sessions geared specifically towards the adults in the families?

  • Icon for: Trinetia Respress

    Trinetia Respress

    Interim Assistant Dean
    May 13, 2019 | 05:57 p.m.


    Thank you for contacting me.  One of the components of our project is Family Empowerment.  The Dare to Dream STEM Saturday is one of our community outreach initiatives.  The particular STEM Saturday was a collaborative effort between Tennessee State University and MNPS school district, and students from the surrounding community.  Recruitment is done by sending out a flyer of the event and parents are able to register their children for the event.  For this particular STEM Saturday, parents are told in advance that the event is for both parents and children.  We utilize this method to get both parents and  their children engaged.  Yes, Family Empowerment Sessions are offered throughout the year through both the in-school and out-of-school models.  Family Empowerment Sessions are implemented through a series of activities, such as:  the parent café, family workshops, family nights, and family STEM days. Students and parents are only together during family STEM days.

  • Icon for: Sara Lacy

    Sara Lacy

    Senior Scientist
    May 13, 2019 | 04:06 p.m.

    It looks like a fun Saturday.  How did you select activities to include?

  • Icon for: Trinetia Respress

    Trinetia Respress

    Interim Assistant Dean
    May 13, 2019 | 05:59 p.m.


    Thank you for contacting me.  Our project is a NASA funded project.  All activities selected are aligned to the Aerospace Dimensions Curriculum and the NASA mission directorates.  On this particular day, the activities were STEM activities.  We had activities in the area of Science (Science Experiment rooms), Technology (Robotics, Coding, Drones, Virtual Reality, flight simulator, OSMO Coding, etc.), Engineering (Scientific Experiments utilizing the Engineering Design Process), and Math (Math Games).  Hopefully, this information is helpful. 

  • Icon for: Jeannie Whitlock

    Jeannie Whitlock

    i3 STEM Lead Instructional Coach
    May 16, 2019 | 01:06 p.m.

    We are with MNPS and frequently partner with TSU, but usually have worked with the Agriculture Department with Dr. Broyles.  We are interested in having a conversation with you about how we could potentially work together as well.  We had one family day at TSU last year and hopefully will again next year.  It would be great to team up somehow during the next school year.


    Additionally, our summer camp meets June 3-21.  Is the NASA curriculum available to others?  Our theme is Adventures in Aero and the NASA curriculum would fit in well.  


    We look forward to hearing from you!

  • Icon for: Trinetia Respress

    Trinetia Respress

    Interim Assistant Dean
    May 16, 2019 | 01:18 p.m.


    We look forward to working with you as well.  It is my understanding that we are hosting i3 STEM on June 11th at TSU.  Is this not accurate?   Please give me a call so that we can discuss. 

  • Icon for: Jeannie Whitlock

    Jeannie Whitlock

    i3 STEM Lead Instructional Coach
    May 16, 2019 | 01:25 p.m.

    Awesome, Trinetia.  We hadn't heard back, so we were not sure.  Yes.  We have you on our schedule and need to talk about logistics at your earliest convenience.  Please contact us at your convenience.  

    deanna.privette@mnps.org and jeannie.whitlock@mnps.org

    Thank you!

  • Icon for: Jomo Mutegi

    Jomo Mutegi

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 19, 2019 | 07:30 p.m.

    Celeste & Trinetia, this looks like a great project. I especially appreciate the involvement of parents with their children. Nice work!

  • Icon for: Heidi Carlone

    Heidi Carlone

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 20, 2019 | 11:41 a.m.

     Great project! This is a nice model of family engagement, which is so often missing from STEM enrichment programs. Thank you!

  • Icon for: Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    May 20, 2019 | 12:47 p.m.

    Celeste and Trinetia, I really enjoyed the footage of students engaging in such a variety of both technology-free and technology-involved engineering design activities! Two questions: 

    1. Can you give a brief overview of the focus of the project's research, e.g., what questions you're investigating?

    2. I'm intrigued by the various functions student leaders/mentors serve in a project like this, particularly as (relatively) young models of STEM interest and engagement with whom younger students may identify. In what ways are you studying the interactions between student leaders and the "target" students (and/or their families)? Also, is your training for the student leaders primarily focused on the science/technology, or is there an element of training focused, for instance, on interacting with children in an informal education setting? I'd love to know more!

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.