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NASA Center helps educators across state

Books on solar systems, lesson plans for hands-on workshops, photographs of shuttle launches, workbooks on microgravity and videos on everything in between are stacked from floor to ceiling.

Amid this out-of-this-world collection in the NASA Educational Resource Center sit two UTM students.

Dana Breland, ERC Coordinator and work study student assistants Stephanie Sed-berry and Christin Moore are excited to have the opportunity to help educators across the state.

“We encourage pre-service, student teaching, and teachers to come by and see what we have to offer,” Sedberry said.

“I like to do anything I can to help,” Moore added.

The center acts as a central distribution point of educational materials for satellite centers across the state in Memphis, Selmer, Dickson, Jamestown, Chattanooga, Lenoir City and Kingsport.

Dr. Geraldine Farmer, interim director of the Center of Excellence for Science and Mathematics Education (CESME), said that the NASA ERC plays an important role in science classrooms both locally and in other regions of the state.

“Our goal is get these top-quality materials into the hands of educators,” Dr. Farmer said. “We are proud to have these resources in our area.”

The center also holds workshops for instructors to learn how to apply Space Age science in their classroom.

NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Ala., provides the materials free of charge to the center for distribution.

However, the ERC asks that school systems pay the cost of blank tapes and shipping, Farmer said.

Other funding is received through grant money solicited by CESME.

This month, a book called The Drinking Gourd is used to tell the story of how the constellation the Big Dipper was used to guide slaves to the north. This workshop is used to tie in with February as Black History Month.

Another workshop, Centennial of Flight, offers a perspective of the first 100 years of flight.

The ERC can be reached by visiting 208 Gooch Hall, calling 7166 , e-mailing