California Educator

October 2014

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Learning Best practices OUT OF THIS WORLD A T S H A S T A H I G H S C H O O L in Redding, battery-powered rov- ers hum down hallways, submersibles glide through the pool, and buzzing bots take to the sky. The 1,500-student school in Northern California is home to the top space educator in the nation. Brian Grigsby, who as a child marveled that you could shine a flashlight into the night and the light would continue to the stars, earned the National Space Club's Space Educator Award. "I have loved space exploration since I was young, so to be given an award like this is a dream come true," Grigsby says. "It's always a very competitive awards process," says Jill Pomeroy, National Space Club president. "He really stood out through his use of creative programs." The gregarious teacher was quick to make connections at the black-tie awards event last March in Washington, D.C. Within weeks, astronaut Kent Rominger of Salt Lake City was speaking at Shasta High at Grigs- by's invitation. A Shasta Secondary Education Association member, Grigsby teaches robotics and Earth science — classes centered on technology and discovery, and powered by curiosity. He also coordinates nationwide programs where students collaborate with scientists using data and images from the moon and Mars. A 1987 Shasta High grad, Grigsby started teaching at his alma mater in CTA member is top space educator in nation By Laura Christman 1993. Seven years later, he became director of Schreder Planetarium in Redding. He joined a NASA research expedition to Chile, sending reports from the 19,400-foot Licancabur volcano to classrooms. In 2004, he was hired by Arizona State University and NASA's Mars Exploration Program to develop education projects. Scott Murchie, principal investigator with Johns Hop- kins University Applied Physics Laboratory's Mars orbiter spectrometer, was dubious when Grigsby suggested using the team's data in a program for students. "This was ambi- tious, because the nature of our data can be difficult for even professionals to visualize." But Murchie says with Grigsby's leadership what came to be is a program that builds student confidence and is 44

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