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Educators Incorporate New Pluto Photos into Lessons

Educators Incorporate New Pluto Photos into Lessons

Education Week is reporting on how two educators are integrating the photographs from NASA's New Horizons space probe of Pluto into their classroom instruction.

Two educators have come up with a couple of ways to use the photos to "introduce concepts of technology, science, and even real-world human indecisiveness to their students," EdWeek said.

"Mike Mangiaracina, a 1st through 5th grade teacher at Brent Elementary School in the nation's capital is planning to use the new photos in lessons that demonstrate the changing nature of technology, including a slideshow detailing the progression of Pluto images from the 1930s to today. He's also using the photos to exemplify the changing ways in which scientists gather information and learn about the universe."

Mangiaracina also wants his students to know the importance of Pluto's re-classification, saying it's crucial dents to understand that sometimes scientists have change their decisions.

In Donna Cole's class, she's having her students be the scientists and use the images to formulate questions about Pluto that scientists might ask. "Those questions include why ice flows on Pluto despite its distance from the sun, why it has a thin atmosphere, and what parallels there might be between Pluto's tail of atmospheric ions and the ions studied during the class's unit on the sun," the article said.

Cole said once the class finishes formulating their questions, they're going to have Pluto conference where they discuss what is known about Pluto now versus what was known before, a similar method of understanding the changing nature of science.

"For teachers looking for space curriculum inspiration, Cole recommends programs like the Huntsville, Ala.-based Space Academy for Educators, which provides 45 hours of education credit and gives teachers access to a website that has lesson plans and tips on bringing space instruction into the school."

Read the full article here and comment with your thoughts below.

Note: Education Week is available through a tiered subscription model.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/31/2015

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