Project Discovery

For current Project Discovery activities, please click on PROJECT DISCOVERY BLOG on the left of this page.


Project Discovery is funded by Arlington Public Schools and provides for one full time Discovery Lab teacher, Dr. Laurie Sullivan

Since the program’s inception in 1990, Project Discovery has become woven into the tapestry of education at Barrett Elementary School. The program is an integral part of the school’s motto, “Discovering the Gifts of Every Child”.  A major objective of the program is to positively impact students’ attitudes toward science.

NASA Explorer School


Barrett Elementary was the first elementary school in Virginia to be selected for the NASA Explorer School (NES) program. The NASA Explorer School program invests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics educators to inspire and engage future scientists, engineers and technicians. NES gives educators of grades 4-12 access to NASA’s people, missions, research, facilities and free classroom materials to support teaching of STEM concepts. At Barrett we involve all students K – 5 in the NASA Explorer School program.

donovan Barrett began implementing the NES program K – 5 in 2005 – 2006. Some highlights include the Lunar Plant Chamber Design Challenge, the Liquid Waste Recycling Design Challenge and the Spaced Out Sports Challenge, focused on Newton’s Laws of Motion. As a result of earning top honors in these challenges, students presented their research at Kennedy Space Center and had a project implemented on the International Space Station. In addition, students designed experiments that their teachers carried out in reduced gravity on the “vomit comet” aircraft. Teachers attended robotics training at JPL and started an after school robotics program. The NES program provided the funds for many Barrett teachers to attend Mathematics, Science & Technology conferences. Students benefit from the hands-on lessons, intriguing online videos and meeting astronauts, engineers and other NASA personnel in person and via videoconferences.


Click Wildlife Refuges and Nature Project on the upper left side of this page to view current activities related to our most recent $10,000 Toyota TAPESTRY grant. Note – We’ve been fortunate to have received four grants from Toyota over the years to enhance our exemplary projects.

To watch our student-created science video podcasts, please visit Check out our blog dedicated our Toyota grant project Flight for Survival: Kindergarteners’ Journey with the Whooping Cranes

Barrett Partners with Lockheed Martin
Project Discovery cultivated the Barrett partnership with Lockheed Martin.
Pictured are Barrett teachers Allyson Green & Laurie Sullivan, Retired Barrett Principal Terry Bratt, and the
Vice President and Program Manager for Lockheed Martin Space Operations, retired astronaut Ken Reightler
Rainforest Exhibit
Students display items in the Discovery Lab from the Rainforest Exhibit on loan from the Virginia Living Museum

Project Discovery initiated the Barrett partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Poster

Archived entries from Project Discovery may be viewed at