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Idaho 2011

photo of Naomi Volain and class
Naomi Volain
Teacher, High School Biology
Central High School, Springfield, MA
Spaceward Bound Expedition Mojave 2007, Idaho 2011

I’m a 2007 Spaceward Bound Expedition Mojave alumni and a teacher at Springfield Central High School in Springfield, MA. I currently teach Advanced Placement Environmental Science, Botany and Biology lab; I’ve also taught Ecology, Biology, and Physical Science. I’m a Registered Dietitian, previously working in community and clinical Nutrition. I applied to NASA’s Educator Astronaut Corps and am now a member of the Network of Educator Astroanut Teachers.

My classroom focus is inquiry based. Students do real Science - field research and experiment design guide the content of all courses. Modeling structures and processes, observation exercises, content literacy, scientific illustrations and art, and outdoor education play a big part of my teaching methods. My students engage in the plantingscience program (, Forest Watch research ( and the NASA CERES S’COOL project ( I believe that fun and natural curiosity successfully leads to student engagement in Science education.

I really like to extend science outside of the classroom - I’m certified to borrow the NASA Lunar and Meteorite Sample Disks, which I’ve displayed at numerous public Outreach Activities. I coached Central High School’s Envirothon natural resources team. Recently I was thrilled to be nominated for the 2011 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

I’m especially interested in soils, biome characteristics, and plant adaptations. At Spaceward Bound Idaho, I hope to learn more field and research techniques, and Earth systems content. I am so looking forward to this adventure, asking questions and collaborating with the Expedition’s scientist and teacher colleagues!

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Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: June 2011