Each week, Education World's Great Sites for Teaching About ... page highlights Web sites to help educators work timely themes into their lessons. This week's sites are among the best on the Web for teaching about space.
- 3D Comet Impact Simulations States
This site combines scientific principles, graphic images, and video clips to provide greater understanding of the impact a comet collision would have on Earth. Appropriate for secondary students, the combination of astronomy, physics, and climatology provides an intriguing look at an event that scientists now estimate happens about every 100 million years or so.
- Cosmic Quest
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis presents this interactive site as a Field Guide to the Universe. The site challenges learners through such high-interest topics as Living in Space: Design a Space Station, Expedition to the North Magnetic Pole, and SpaceWatch Webcasts. In the Sky Tonight highlights monthly important dates from the history of science, an convenient supplement for your existing curriculum.
- Eric's Black Sun Eclipse Website
This site is devoted to the phenomenon of solar eclipses, providing notices of upcoming eclipses and lots of information pertaining to sky watching. The sections on the northern and southern sky make the material practical for viewers in both hemispheres, and the Teacher's Lounge offers great ideas to facilitate class discussion on astronomy. Check out the Black Sun Eclipse Newsletter and Astronomy News Links when you visit!
- Exploring Planets in the Classroom
The University of Hawaii offers more than two-dozen classroom activities for studying the solar system. Many include ready-to-use activity sheets you can print for your students. Topics include an Introduction to the Solar System, Planetary Properties, Volcanology, Impact Craters, Gradation, Gravity Forces & Rockets, The Moon, and Mars. Links to national standards as well as additional online resources round out this highly useful site for teachers.
- Mysteries of Deep Space
PBS created this companion Web site to its TV series of the same name. Making use of information gathered by the Hubble Space Telescope, the site offers an interactive timeline of the history of the universe and eight lessons that correspond with the content presented through the program. Trivia Challenge and the Ask the Experts archive are great resources for extending your classroom study of astronomy.
- Observatorium HERE
NASA has made this site its central location for all things to do with sky watching and education. The site has many great initiatives to sift through, including Educator's Resources , which offers a dozen great activities for the classroom. For example, Better Living Through Geospatial Analysis? addresses the ways space research can help humans plan for the future. International Space Station keeps students up-to-date on the progress of this important project.
- Space Weather
Do you and your students want to know what is going on today in space? This site can tell you all you need to know. There are images of the sun, Earth's aurora, space radiation, solar wind, and the condition of the ionosphere, updated daily. Of particular use for background information are sections on the relationship between Earth and the sun, how storms build in space, and how storms display in our atmosphere and the damage they can do to Earth.
- Star Child
This elementary-level site offers a first-rate treatment of the solar system and the universe, with lots of kid-friendly graphics and two levels to differentiate between levels of difficulty. The question of the month is especially useful, offering an explanation of a space-related phenomenon each month and an archive that dates back to 1998. Secondary students can visit the companion site Imagine the Universe!
- Virtual Journey into the Universe
This ThinkQuest entry uses Shockwave Flash technology to create a virtual field trip across the universe. Users can select Planets or Universe and then choose from detailed studies of theories and laws, phenomena, cosmology, and astronomy. The graphics are stunning, and sophisticated concepts are clearly explained. This site is best suited for middle school and high school students.
- Your Weight in Other Worlds
Are you looking for a fun way to apply solar system studies in practical ways? This site allows your students to see how much they (or any Earth-bound object) weigh on other planets. Simply enter in a weight and press the calculate button. The resulting weight equivalents appear under each planet. Users can also discover their weight on different moons of Jupiter and three different kinds of stars!
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