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Community Based Learning

NASA Ames Research Center
Pre-Service Teacher Institute (PSTI)

2015 Ames PSTI Participants

The NASA Ames Research Center Pre-Service Teacher Institute (PSTI) is a two-week summer program for college students who are preparing to teach in an elementary or middle school. California State University, Fresno's (CSUF) administers the institute through a Cooperative Agreement funded by Minority University Research and Education Program (MUREP).

The program is designed to increase pre-service teachers' skills in teaching mathematics and science, while integrating technology into the curriculum. This is achieved through the development of a problem-based learning (PBL) space exploration theme. The participants will be assigned to an Institute Flight Team. Using the skills they have learned, the PSTI Participants will develop a lesson to teach to a 5th grade class from a local school.

To participate in the NASA Ames Research Center's PSTI Program, candidates must attend one of the member universities (see Member University list)

Program Objectives

  1. Model and promote the use of scientific inquiry through problem-based learning for pre-service teachers.
  2. Enhance the knowledge of pre-service teachers in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) using content from NASA's Directorates.
  3. Promote enthusiasm and self-confidence for teaching science and mathematics for pre-service teachers of young children.
  4. Increase skills in teaching mathematics and science while incorporating technology into the curriculum.
  5. Provide pre-service teachers with a variety of alternative instructional strategies.


  • Must be a U.S. Citizen
  • Be majoring in Elementary Education (K-8 prospective teacher)
  • Have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (4.0 scale) or higher
  • Be a rising college junior, senior or a graduate student going into the K-8 classroom; graduate student must not hold an undergraduate degree in elementary education
  • Have successfully completed at least one college level mathematics and one science course with a grade of "B" or better
  • Be in attendance for the full two-weeks
  • Be a full time student at a member university (see Member University list)
  • Have not previously participated in PSTI (at Ames or at one of the other Centers)
  • Have the recommendation of a science or mathematics professor