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Montana Learning Center awarded $360,000 NASA grant

Montana Learning Center
Posted at 3:54 PM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 17:54:26-04

HELENA — The Montana Learning Center (MLC) at Canyon Ferry has been awarded a $360,000 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to continue its mission of STEM education, activities and outreach.

MLC says NASA funding has supported their efforts for years, helping provide a variety of programs that not only encourage engagement with STEM professionals but also help students develop their collaboration and communications skills and build other skills necessary for success in today’s education and work environments.

Through their NASA partnerships, MLC has connected students with astronauts, scientists and engineers. They’ve also been able to take students to visit NASA space centers, such as the Johnson Space Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, Kennedy Space Center, Ames Research Center, and Jet Propulsion Lab.

In 2019, MLC took a group of Browning Middle School students to the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab where they got to see the Mars Perseverance Rover when it was being built and see it tested in a simulated martian environment.

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The new NASA funds will specifically help with the Montana Aerospace Scholars program, online training for Montana K-12 science teachers, teacher training to operate the MLC’s remote telescope, a two-day NASA Student Robotics Challenge workshop for middle and high school teachers, and a partnership with Montana libraries to offer patrons a unique citizen science opportunity.

MLC received the award as a partner of the Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pathways (NESSP) at Central Washington University. Earlier this year, NASA awarded a $90,000 NESSP grant to the MLC to connect Montana students and teachers with cutting-edge NASA science and improve students’ and teachers’ STEM skills.

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Each year, MLC provides unique educational opportunities for Montana students and teachers.

The learning center is intended for everyone. There are several scholarship opportunities for students based on need, and MLC helps around 30-40 students a year with scholarships.

More information about programs and educational opportunities they provide can be found here.

MLC also provides a number of astronomy opportunities for the public, including Sky Cams and tracking fireballs.