Project Discovery

For current Project Discovery activities, follow Project Discovery teachers Ashley Hollander and Laurie Sullivan on X @KWBHollander and @LSullivan

Ashley Hollander

Dr. Sullivan Discovery Lab US State Department Profile Photo

Project Discovery is an Arlington Public Schools Exemplary Project.

To learn about the Project Discovery teachers Ashley Hollander and Laurie Sullivan, visit the Barrett Staff Directory

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 and engineering.

NASA Explorer School

FutureAstronaut.jpgBarrett 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_Reduced_Gravity_Jet.jpg Barrett began implementing the NASA Explorer School 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 activities related to one of the $10,000 Toyota TAPESTRY grant we’ve been awarded. 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

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
Students display items from the Rainforest Exhibit on loan from the Virginia Living Museum

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

Archived entries from Project Discovery may be viewed at