Eight Iowa teachers have signed on for a NASA program to learn about educational opportunities in the realm of space science and to bring new lessons into their classrooms. Jay Staker is associate director of the Iowa Space Grant Consortium which is partnering with four Iowa schools — two teachers at each one. Staker has recruited various Iowa school districts to send teams of teachers to NASA centers to work with space program educators to look at what’s available from NASA to “jazz up” their science and math programs. He says the teachers are taken to facilities like Kennedy Space Center in Florida to get psyched up about space technology, then they’re sent home to energize their students. They’ve just taken two teachers from Dubuque and two from Des Moines to Kennedy where Staker says they got a great introduction to NASA. Next month, four more teachers, two each from Pella and Audubon, will be going to Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Staker says the trip to Florida last week was a thrill. He and the Iowa teachers got to stand right under the shuttle Discovery as it’s being refitted for a return to flight in a few months. Staker called it “exhilarating” and it allowed the teachers to get excited and to feel a sense of history — and the future. For more information, surf to “www.ia.spacegrant.org”.LOCAL: Schools involved are: Jefferson Elementary in Pella, St. Joseph in Des Moines, Jefferson Junior High in Dubuque and Audubon High.