Gail recently received the Aerospace Awareness Award from Women in Aerospace at a ceremony in the United States Botanical Garden in Washington, DC.
Space Education Program is a partner of Vermont
Vermont Space Education Program (VSEP) was launched inadvertently, following Gail Breslauer's selection as one of the 113 national finalists for NASA's Teacher-in-Space program. That event sent Gail on an uncharted course in her professional career as an educator. After the Challenger tragedy in 1986, educators began inviting Gail into their schools to share her experiences and teach about NASA's space programs. With that, VSEP was flying and Gail's classroom was vastly expanded. As a free-lance space science education consultant, Gail travels to any interested school—in or out of Vermont and has even traveled to the Yukon Territory to work with educators and students. (Vermont gets priority in scheduling.) Gail is the Founder/Director of Vermont Space Education Program.
The Vermont Space Education Program's overall philosophy and goals are based on the belief that the topic of space exploration captures the imagination of students of all ages, providing them with dreams and inspiration. This topic can be a powerful teaching unit to interest girls and boys alike, in science, mathematics, and technology. Many subjects can easily be woven into this area, which readily lends itself into fun, interesting, interdisciplinary thematic units incorporating all the "buzz words": bias-free, cooperative learning, hands-on/minds on, simulations and contextual learning, constructivist, creative problem-solving, and critical thinking using the scientific process approach (really). There are so many possible thematic strands, that this unit could go on for an entire school year!
Gail has a variety of honorary titles and awards:
- NASA Space Ambassador - Vermont Teacher in Space
- International Faculty Member for Challenger Center for Space Science Education
- Regional Recipient of the Frank G. Brewer Civil Air Patrol Aerospace Award (1990)
- Distinguished Graduate Alumnus in Education (2003, Kean University)
- Aerospace Awareness Award from Women in Aerospace (2006)
She has also served for the NASA Student Involvement Program (NSIP) and NASA/NSTA Space Science Student Involvement Program (NSSIP) as:
- Regional Director for New England and NY
- State Coordinator for Vermont
Challenger Center for Space Science Education also contracted Gail as:
- Editor and Co-Writer of the Coordinator's Guide for "Marsville—the Cosmic Village"
- International Faculty Relations Project Manager for Learning EdVentures.
- She was also appointed by Challenger Center to serve on the International Faculty
Shortly after being designated a NASA Space Ambassador, Gail became committed to getting a NASA Educator Resource Center (ERC) established in Vermont so educators could easily preview, access, and obtain free NASA educational materials for their classrooms. In 1986, Vermont’s NASA ERC opened at Champlain College, housing both the NASA education collection as well as becoming the state’s computer resource center. In collaboration with the NASA ERC of VT, a grant was obtained to help schools bring Gail to their educators and students. A summer “space camp” program was also created and offered at Champlain College—complete with a visit from a NASA astronaut.
With the support of many organizations over the years, such as the Vermont Department of Education, the former NASA Educator Resource Center at Vermont College of Norwich University (formerly at Champlain College), Vermont Technical College, Challenger Center for Space Science Education, NASA, and private corporations and businesses in Vermont, VSEP (Gail) has organized and sponsored a variety of educational programs for students and teachers, including:
- "Tomato Seeds II-Seeds in Space" a Vermont - Ontario, Canada online, web-based and hands-on "students as scientists" project for educators to and their students (as well as home schooled participants.)
- Student teleconferences and "wrap around" workshops using satellite videoconferences and Vt. Interactive Television System.
- "Marsville: the Cosmic Village," a Challenger Center program offered in Vermont that
has taken place in classrooms Jan-May after teachers are trained; statewide program for
54 teams of 400 middle grade students and their teachers who worked online and in
classrooms as teams and met face-to-face for a culminating "Link Up Day" when they built their village and engaged in other learning activities. (Graduate course credit was
available as an option for educators for their content, project training and participation
and classroom unit development; 1992 and 1994. Gail also facilitated Link Up Days for
Canadian National Marsville in Canada in Ottawa, New Brunswick, and twice in the
Yukon Territory, 1996-99)
- "Mars City Alpha," a different Challenger Center program offered in Vermont. MCA takes place in individual classrooms with an international theme component after professional development workshops is first provided for the participating educators.
- NASA’s “Name the Shuttle Orbiter” contest and statewide celebration conference for all participating Vermont school teams. (Endeavour was named as the new replacement.
She was the Space Shuttle built after the Challenger tragedy and is still part of the
- Teacher training teleconferences, workshops, graduate courses, in-service/professional development and staff development programs (numerous topics).
- Individualized school residencies, multiple or single visits consisting of hands-on class
sessions, model teaching and/or coaching, workshops, simulations, and/or assembly
slide-video programs—depending on the school's needs and interests. VSEP/Gail offers a very flexible and long list of what can be offered but prefers the more intensive residency programs for a greater learning experience.
- VSEP/Gail and Jon Gailmor, Vermont’s famous folk singer, have both worked with the same school providing for a multiple intelligence and creative space themed education program engaging the students at various levels. Gail’s classroom experience as an educator was as a multi-age teacher using a thematic approach, so she has other ideas of ways to integrate the arts with various subjects and content areas relating to the broad theme of space education.
- Slide/video talks and programs for the general public. Helping/ participating in local “Family Science Night” and “Family Science Workshops” provided by schools.
- Bringing lunar rocks and lunar regolith ("soil") samples to classrooms and schools as part of lunar exploration programs.
- NASA’s MAEL visited Vermont for a week. VSEP/Gail served as Logistics Coordinator/ Facilitator/ Marketing/ Public Relations/ and school visit scheduler.
She worked with NASA officials to bring and publicize the NASA Mobile Aeronautics Education Laboratory (MAEL) for a week long visit in St. Albans, Vermont in conjunction with the ArTrain’s “Space Art” exhibit—a museum that is literally a train that crosses the country. Both were open for school and educator visits.
- NASA Mobile Educators Resource Center was brought in by Gail to southern Vermont
for a week long visit complete with professional development workshops and free
resources for the educators to take for their classrooms.
- Coordinating NASA displays and astronaut visits to the Burlington International Charity
Airshow and area schools.
- VSEP also provides information about other resources for students, home-schoolers,
teachers, parents, and the general public and collaborates with other educational
organizations and businesses on education related projects.
- Space Lady Enterprises is affiliated with the Vermont Space Education Program. It is an extension of Gail's personal collection of space science education materials which grew into a mail order business to address the numerous requests from educators and parents looking for age appropriate, high quality, books, games, and other materials related to space exploration, astronomy, aeronautics, Earth science and related science and technology topics and science concepts.
NASA and Mushing
The obvious connection between sled dogs and space education is that Gail does both. The unobvious connection, that there really is a NASA project that involves sled dogs, can be found in a pdf, but stay tuned to this site (and the Atii Sled Dogs site) for more details.
page last updated Dec. 1, 2006.
Vermont Space Education Program
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