“To channel the ambitions of our best and brightest youth, I believe we need more than movies about space. We need a tangible, crucial mission that saves humanity. At any rate, we definitely need more people to go into STEM- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. America depends on its technological leadership for security and a healthy economy. Yet we are in danger of losing that very technological leadership.” Stephen Sandford

Space reflects the best hope for the future. An urgent need exists for a national space effort to revive the economy and ensure the survival of humanity and of the American Dream. This effort is dependent upon Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and drawing students into these fields.

The United States has a shortage of workers in the areas of STEM. According to research from Randstad North America, in 2016, the United States had 3 million more STEM jobs than skilled workers to fill the positions. Connecting the real-life applications of STEM to the study of space generates the excitement that is needed in the classroom.

Educators must think differently and think bigger when it comes to what the next generation must achieve. In order to save Earth, humanity must address the big issue of exploring and inhabiting the next frontier. To do so, we have to look up. We have the technology and the ability to have a small colony of humans on the the moon by 2030 and the ability to mine ice and precious metals on asteroids by the same date. By 2040, we could have a colony on Mars. By 2050, there is a potential to have probes on habitable new worlds. The technology is there, but we need to solve the STEM shortage in order to make this a reality.

We still enjoy educational benefits that came from having a bold space program. We know that education is about the future, however, lacking a robust public space has changed America’s attitude towards this future, thus reducing the number of students interested in STEM. Inspiring the next generation of STEM through a renewed interest in space will turn the tides and help solve the gap in STEM. Our next step is to decide we are not done and that we have more inspiring missions to embrace. 

The Martians in Your Classroom reveals the urgency of the return of a national and international space effort and a drive for STEM and CTE education, an endeavor that can revive learning and quite literally save humanity.  Join Stephen Sandford and Rachael Mann on this journey as they explore the next great frontier and its impact on education.