NASA Administrator Bill Nelson helped hand out food with an extra serving of STEM activities to children and families at New Beginnings Church – The Gathering Place in Orlando, Florida. Called NASA Artemis Learning Lunchboxes, the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio, created the kits aimed at inspiring and educating youth and families in communities underrepresented in STEM about NASA’s upcoming Artemis missions.
“We want to meet people where they are, and that’s why NASA is partnering with COSI to provide 30,000 Artemis-themed Learning Lunchboxes to children and families across the nation to learn about NASA’s upcoming Artemis Moon missions. Inside each NASA Artemis Learning Lunchbox is over 10 hours of STEM content, and I can’t wait to see more of these lunchboxes delivered to children across the country,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “I want to thank COSI, Second Harvest Food Bank, the Orlando Science Center and the New Beginnings Church for helping kick off this initiative to bring food, STEM education and NASA to communities across the country with these kits.”
NASA’s Artemis missions include returning humans to the Moon for the first time in over 50 years. Among the plans, NASA will land the first woman and person of color on the lunar surface as missions at the Moon pave the way for human exploration of Mars.
COSI developed the NASA Artemis Learning Lunchbox to inspire today’s students – the Artemis Generation – to consider and pursue careers in tomorrow’s STEM workforce. Made possible through NASA’s Teams Engaging Affiliated Museums and Informal Institutions (TEAM II) program, the lunchboxes contain five space-focused learning activities that showcase the diversity of STEM at NASA and the importance of STEM education for the future of our workforce.
“Every child has a dream, and every child needs to achieve that dream, and when you talk to adults who are now astronauts or aerospace engineers, it all started with a spark – being taught something that inspired their life. We need to make sure every kid, regardless of zip code or socioeconomic status, has the promise to achieve that because they may be the next astronaut or scientific mind that will get us further in our exploration of space,” said Dr. Frederic Bertley, president & CEO, COSI. “It’s all about partnerships. We can’t thank NASA enough for their generosity in both dollars and support of this great initiative.”
Along with COSI, NASA’s partners on the initiative also include Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Orlando Science Center.
The kickoff event supplied 500 NASA Artemis Learning Lunchboxes to students and families, while COSI plans to distribute a total of 30,000 to local food banks across the country. COSI will continue to partner with local nonprofit organizations like the Orlando Science Center where they can showcase interactive dry ice experiments first-hand for children across the country. This innovative, community-based model will bring together other science centers and museums, afterschool providers, and community leaders to highlight the importance of STEM education.
TEAM II awards are funded through NASA’s Next Generation (Next Gen) STEM project, which is committed to diversity, inclusion, and equity. By connecting K-12 students and their formal and informal educators to NASA’s endeavors in exploration and discovery, Next Gen STEM strives to reduce the barriers to participation in STEM and inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and astronauts.