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NASA Research Challenge for Students

February 9, 2019

Creativity in the classroom can take many forms, and I’m super excited to share this special collaboration! Adobe Spark is partnering with the NASA OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Promotion and Research Challenge (NASA OPSPARC) this school year. If you haven’t heard of this challenge before, it’s a fantastic opportunity for students to problem solve and think creatively!

NASA OPSPARC challenges students to learn about NASA Spinoff technology and share their findings. Using the dynamic Adobe Spark tools, students can use their creativity skills to design their own spinoff solutions for real-world problems. With this collaboration, students can participate in the NASA research challenge and also use Adobe Spark to share their learning.

Adobe Spark and NASA

Regular followers of the blog (sign up here) know that I’m a big fan of the Adobe Spark tools. You might have come across blog posts on teacher projects, getting started with Adobe Spark, or even how to set up your under-13 students to use these tools. Ben Forta and I also wrote a book about using Adobe Spark in the classroom that’s available in paperback and Kindle called 40 Ways to Inject Creativity in the Classroom with Adobe Spark.

When I heard about how Adobe Spark was part of the NASA OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Promotion and Research Challenge, I knew I had to share it with you! This challenge includes three different missions to choose from. Below, you’ll find the information the team behind the challenge shared with me so you can decide which one to participate in this year.

  • Mission 1: Students (K-12) explore the world of NASA Spinoff technology through two scavenger hunts that may lead to a visit from a NASA innovator.
  • Mission 2: Students (3-12) solve a problem by creating their own versions of NASA Spinoffs using Adobe Spark web-based tools.
  • Mission 3: Students (7-12) not only create NASA Spinoffs to solve a problem, but join engineering students in a 3D virtual world to build virtual Spinoff models and develop a marketing plan.

What are NASA Spinoffs?

If you haven’t heard of NASA spinoffs before, these are technologies first created for space. Although the design teams initially focused on building things to use in space, sometimes these creations found a place in our every day lives. Notable NASA Spinoffs include everyday products like shoe insoles and memory foam.

In the missions described above, students take on the task of developing their own NASA spinoffs. Then they use Adobe Spark to share their creations. These creation tools are totally free for students, and you can use them on iPads, Chromebooks, or any laptop computer. They give students options for sharing their learning in a creative space.

Students can participate in this NASA research challenge and use Adobe Spark to share their learning. It's a great way to bring creativity to your class!

Spark Video is a moviemaking tool where students can combine video, images, icons, text and their voice. Page is a website creation tool where students can build a landing page and even embed a Spark Video creation. Post is a graphic design tool that makes it easy for students to create beautiful graphics. Students can also add Spark Post graphics to their Page or Video!

NASA Research Challenge

There is a February 19 deadline for Mission 3, so students and teachers interested in this challenge still have time to jump in. After the deadline passes, 20 Mission 3 teams will have a chance to work with college mentors. These mentors will help them flesh out their ideas in more depth. This challenge even includes an opportunity to build virtual Spinoff models and develop a marketing plan.

I love opportunities for students that give them access to an authentic audience. They can problem solve, ask for feedback and create multiple iterations of their spinoff. When they pull together their ideas in Adobe Spark, they’ll have a final piece they can share with the world!

Ready to take on the challenge? Learn more about each Mission, the deadlines for students, and access resources on the NASA Research Challenge landing page. I can’t wait to see what your students create!

These 5 graphic organizers are almost yours!

Spark video

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Best, Dr. Monica Burns - Founder of ClassTechTips.com


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Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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