South Tahoe teacher brings space to classroom

Laney Griffo
Lynn Norling


SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — One South Lake Tahoe teacher is trying to bring space closer to home for her students and thanks to several grants, she may succeed.

Lynn Norling has been teaching math and science for 19 years, the last three of which have been at South Tahoe Middle School. She’s been working diligently to bring the Mission to Moon program to STMS for her eighth grade science students.

Prior to becoming a teacher, Norling spent six years in the U.S. Air Force as an acquisition manager and scientist, then spent eight years in the USAF Reserves as a liaison officer for the Air Force Academy, where she reached the rank of major. She always dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but an eye injury in her 20s prevented her from pursuing that dream.

“I’m a total space nerd, so this program felt like a good fit,” Norling said.

Mission to Moon is a program run through Vivify STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) which aims to bring interactive STEM programs to schools. This specific program was designed by a team of engineers and educators, including NASA experts.

Students will compete in teams with schools from around the country to build space suits, rovers and an apparatus to grow plants in space. Along with the competitions, the students will be able to meet virtually with NASA experts to receive career advice.

Norling received grants from Vivify STEM as well as the South Lake Tahoe Police Association and Lake Tahoe Education Fund. The money will be used for training for her and another teacher, entry for all of the students and the materials for the projects.

The students at STMS have a physical science period so this will be part of their curriculum in the spring semester.

Norling is excited to bring this program to her students.

“They are so smart and they have great ideas but they don’t know how to apply them,” Norling said.

The program kicks off on Feb. 16. Because the kids will be on break during that time, they will watch the virtual kick-off when they get back. The first competition will start the following week and the program will run through May.

“I hope it brings the kids a lot of joy,” Norling said.

If successful, Norling hopes to bring the program back in the fall.

To learn more about the program, visit

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