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NASA partnership aims to inspire next generation of scientists in the Blackfeet Nation

Posted at 10:02 AM, Aug 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-15 12:02:09-04

Students in Browning will be learning virtually this fall, but a NASA partnership means there are still opportunities for hands-on learning.

Members of Montana State University Academic Technology and Outreach passed out 500 NASA space kits to families this week, through a partnership with Blackfeet Community College and a grant from NASA.

Ty Show works in outreach for MSU. He’s been passionate about studying science since he was a teen and helped organize the distribution of the kits.

"It's always been my life's work, to promote my people, my youth, advocate for themselves,” Show said. "The way we do that is where we promote programs like this, where they can find an identity within STEM."

The kits include eight missions, meant to encourage the next generation of astronauts and engineers by getting them excited about space science.
Students might collect rock specimens, use a bug box, or watch the sky for celestial events. The kits also blend western science with Blackfeet science. For example, one mission uses Blackfeet words for geological terms, and another has traditional stories of stars and planets.

“We want to be very beneficial to these students, we wants interventions that actually have results,” Show said. “So that's what this is all about, is really promoting them to go into STEM, creating that pipeline for them to get there, providing that identity for them to advocate for themselves within that field.”

According to Show, they plan to distribute hundreds of kits to the The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes next month.

He also encourages middle schoolers and teens to use opportunities to work with drones and robots and even compete.

If students are interested in competing in robotics and learning more about drones, NASA, and the Mars rover Perseverance, email

Browning students partner with NASA, MSU