What could be better than having someone read a story to you? How about having that someone be an astronaut who reads a story to you FROM SPACE?! Enter Story Time From Space.
Story Time From Space is a project of the Global Space Education Foundation, and contains over a dozen different videos of astronauts aboard the International Space Station reading space-themed children’s books. Each video starts out with a quick introduction to a part of the International Space Station, such as the all important airlock door and the cupola “window observatory” module. Then, as the story begins the videos cut back and forth between the astronaut reader and the book illustrations with a little animation thrown in for fun.
Each video comes with the following information:
Scrolling down the page will provide you with a written synopsis of the story. There is also room for multiple Activity Guides that are “coming soon!” Finally, almost all of the Story Time videos include links to purchase the books from a variety of vendors.
In addition, the foundation is in the process of putting together a playlist of “Science Time Videos.” These will introduce basic scientific concepts that are connected to some of the science experiments that the astronauts have conducted about the International Space Station, so stay tuned!
Ever since I started using the quiz feature in Google Forms to conduct assessments I have been on the lookout for high-quality videos like these. I will insert them into the “Add feedback” panel of a Form question so that students can use them to help “brush up” on the material and as a study tool if a re-assessment is needed.
Google Maps recently expanded its services to include “The Man in the Moon” and the “Red Planet” in its toolbox. Both celestial maps contain labels of important landmarks and natural formations which can by directly linked to. On the Moon, for example, you can find the Sea of Tranquility as well as where Neil Armstrong put man’s first steps onto the lunar surface. On Mars, you can share the link to Olympus Mons (the second tallest mountain in our solar system) or to the Gale Crater where the Mars rover Curiosity landed in 2012.
NOTE: The Google Maps interface for Earth, Moon, and Mars work best within the Google Chrome web browser. If you are using a different browser then you may need to install the Google Earth plug-in.
24/7 Science – The best projects and activities whenever you want!
From the Lawrence Hall of Science, this website is chalk full of interactive games and activities covering a wide variety of science topics. The first collection of activities are designed to be hands-on with titles like Sticky Situations and How Old is Your Penny? The second collection of activities are designed to be interactive games and challenges, organized into categories such as Arcade Games, Earth & Space, nanoZone, and Quizzes. I tried my hand at the Alien Juice Bar, where I had to serve a clientele that only consume acids, bases, or neutral drinks. The site is still under development and notes that an educational resources section is forthcoming.
Here is another example of a website who can suggest ideas and activities to integrate into your lessons without having to re-invent the wheel.
The interactive games section can act as both an introduction to a topic of study or a wrap-up activity to help students prepare for a final assessment.
From the History Channel series with the same name, The Universe has an impressive interactive library along with video clips from the TV series for students to explore. Make sure you check out the Interactive Universe applet that contains descriptions and beautiful images of 12 celestial bodies and 8 other space phenomena. Below that you will find a small collection of videos and links to specific pages on the planets of the solar system. In the menu bar on the left-hand side there is a link to subscribe to the site’s media feed via iTunes.
NOTE: There are some minor ads displayed on the site and at the beginning of the video clips.
If you do an astronomy unit then this is a site that should definitely be in your toolbox.
Students can explore independently or as a class on an interactive whiteboard.
Some of the text in the planetary bios is pretty heavy, so this is a good place to teach students about skimming the literature and using the “Find” command to seek out keywords. (Windows: Ctrl+F | Mac: Command+F)
A NASA project, EPM asks students to investigate the conditions necessary for a planet like Earth to exist in another solar system. Use the tools at the bottom of the window to adjust several planetary variables including its distance from star and the size, age and type of star that the planet orbits. Click the Planet Gallery link in the top-right corner to see other planets in our solar system and nearby systems too.
Ask students to come up with other celestial planets from books, movies and other media and try to recreate them using this tool.