HOUSTON, Texas — America’s space program has come a long way from the early days when astronauts ate food packed in toothpaste tubes. Today, nutrition is known to be a key ingredient in astronaut health in space, just as it is for humans on Earth.
NASA scientists and educators have teamed up to publish a book, aimed at intermediate school students, that explains the role of nutrition in the space program. The free e-book describes how space nutrition research is conducted and highlights this important avenue of ongoing research at NASA. Educator Guides that suggest ways to incorporate the material into the classroom, along with mapping to National Science Education Standards, accompany the text.
“Spaceflight provides the backdrop to gain kids’ interest,” said Scott M. Smith, NASA nutritionist. “These books provide an opportunity to expand and educate beyond space to everything from science, math, nutrition, health, history, reading and more. The fact that this material was developed by scientists actually conducting research on Earth and with astronauts in space provides insight into what it takes to conduct research at NASA, or anywhere – from an initial concept to the final publication in a scientific journal.”
“It’s a new mission for education, shaping the future of our next generation of space explorers,” said Lisa Neasbitt, educator and coauthor. “Educators who use Space Nutrition will be treated to an educator guide based on recent cognitive neuroscience. These strategies, such as using another’s point of view, promote rigor through higher order thinking and depth of knowledge. Space Nutrition encourages project-based learning such as radio shows, scientific inquiry, plays, skits, songs and dances that incorporate student strengths and facilitate confidence and competence in students.”