TeachersFirst's Universe and Space - Science Resources

This collection of resources will help you research information about the universe and space. Read the descriptions to find out whether a site sounds right for what you want to know. Some sites may be more challenging reading, while others may offer solid basic information. Be sure to try several sources. Read through the content sites and find lesson ideas and interactives.   

If you cannot find what you need here, you may want to try searching on TeachersFirst for specific keywords.

If you want to explore even more information, peruse this tagged list of resources related to the universe and space

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Nova Education - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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Nova Education provides STEM activities and lessons based on the popular PBS series Nova. Information on the site includes articles, videos, and links to external websites. Scroll down...more
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Nova Education provides STEM activities and lessons based on the popular PBS series Nova. Information on the site includes articles, videos, and links to external websites. Scroll down to find filters to sort the content by media types, categories, and newer or older additions. The media types category allows users to find lesson plans, collections, teacher guides, and more. Each lesson plan includes detailed instructions, student handouts, and correlation to Next Generation Science Standards.

tag(s): archeology (25), engineering (120), environment (237), forensics (13), paleontology (28), space (214)

In the Classroom

Enjoy the interactives, videos, and text on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use selected activities as a center (station). Share the included articles and videos with students to supplement your STEM curriculum. If articles are too difficult for students, use a text leveler tool like the one available at Brisk, reviewed here to match student reading abilities.
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Saturday Morning Astrophysics - Purdue University Dept of Physics & Astronomy

Grades
7 to 12
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Saturday Morning Astrophysics (SMAP) is a monthly program offered to middle and high school students to delve into current topics in astro research, historical background and discovery,...more
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Saturday Morning Astrophysics (SMAP) is a monthly program offered to middle and high school students to delve into current topics in astro research, historical background and discovery, and fundamental principles related to physics and astronomy. Sign up to receive updated information and links to Zoom sessions. During each session, participants have the opportunity to participate in activities. Some require using commonly found objects such as Play-Doh; this is indicated in the activity description. Upcoming topics include Life Cycles of Stars and Searching for Exoplanets; the SMAP program lists upcoming topics at the beginning of each school year. Visit the SMAP YouTube Channel link to find recordings of previous sessions. Sign up as an educator to receive notification of upcoming activities, access lessons and materials, and learn about upcoming professional development activities.

tag(s): light (51), planets (112), solar system (109), space (214), stars (68), sun (70)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the many free materials offered by SMAP to find lessons and activities to engage students in learning about astronomy research. Share the monthly SMAP schedule with students and invite them to share their learning with peers upon completing the monthly activity by creating a website using Canva for Education, reviewed here using one of the many shared templates. Ask students to include interactive elements found within Canva, such as infographics and quizzes, to engage their audience.
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The Wonder of Science - Paul Andersen

Grades
K to 12
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Built to support the next generation of science leaders, The Wonder of Science shares many excellent free resources for science teachers of all grades. Information includes linked lessons...more
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Built to support the next generation of science leaders, The Wonder of Science shares many excellent free resources for science teachers of all grades. Information includes linked lessons offered by grade level, standards, and type of activity. Select the resources link to find printable activities, mini-lessons, assessments, planning, implementation, etc. From the home page, select videos to find videos linked by Next Generation Science Standards. A helpful video walkthrough of the site is available on the home page, and it provides a quick look at what is included and how to find resources. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable.

tag(s): biodiversity (31), chemicals (39), climate (81), earth (184), ecology (100), ecosystems (73), energy (130), environment (237), forces (37), genetics (76), life cycles (22), light (51), matter (46), molecules (42), motion (49), oceans (150), planets (112), sound (73), space (214), stars (68), weather (165)

In the Classroom

This site is a must-have for all science teachers to use to find high-quality lessons and teaching materials. Be sure to visit the Phenomena section to find the Master List of Phenomenon Google Document sharing suggestions for observable science events or find phenomena by grade level. Engage students in learning by sharing videos on this site, then use Edpuzzle, reviewed here to add questions and focus comments to the videos to support student learning. Use the ideas and resources on this site to create flipped and blended learning lessons or to create playlists to encourage student choice of learning activities. Learn more about playlists by viewing the archive of OK2Ask: Playlists to Personalize Learning, reviewed here and learn about choice boards at the OK2Ask archive: Choice Boards for Differentiation Part 1, reviewed here.
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Solar System Exploration - NASA

Grades
3 to 12
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Take a journey deep into the solar system with this engaging site from the Planetary Science Communications team at NASA. Choose a destination within the solar system to explore facts,...more
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Take a journey deep into the solar system with this engaging site from the Planetary Science Communications team at NASA. Choose a destination within the solar system to explore facts, information, and images or scroll down the home page to read about the latest news about the solar system. Dig deeper into the site to learn about careers in space, space missions, and much more. Some portions of the site also feature a downloadable app for 3D exploration of planets, moons, asteroids, and more. Stay up to date with the monthly skywatching tips.

tag(s): explorers (66), moon (71), planets (112), solar system (109), sun (70)

In the Classroom

Use this site to offer students the opportunity to explore our solar system through interactives, facts, and informative articles. Introduce the site on your interactive whiteboard then allow students to explore on their own. Because the site is dense with content, you might want to provide students specific areas and content for exploration. As students learn about different pieces of the solar system, ask them to share information using Pinup, reviewed here a labeling tool; have students use an image and create notes about information learned. For example, find a free image to use of the sun and add notes with interesting facts, including distance from the earth, the temperature on the sun, and more. Use Pinup to create an image for each planet either together as a class, or have students create their own. Use the information learned to create a lively learning game using Baamboozle, reviewed here. Baamboozle is a quick and easy two-team quiz creation game that keeps track of the score as you play. Have older students create their own quiz game for classmates to play based on the material they learned from this site and others. Enhance student learning a step further and modify classroom technology use by asking them to create books about the solar system using Book Creator, reviewed here. Book Creator includes features for students to easily create digital books using their own text, videos, and images. Use BookCreator for a variety of assignments in any classroom that is integrating technology as an enhancement, modification, or transformation. Be sure to include your students' books on your class website as part of your digital library for students and parents!

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kidcyber - Shirley Sydenham and Ron Thomas

Grades
K to 6
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kidcyber contains a collection of text resources targeted explicitly to K-6 students for research and inquiry into science content. View collections of material under eight different...more
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kidcyber contains a collection of text resources targeted explicitly to K-6 students for research and inquiry into science content. View collections of material under eight different content headings. In addition to age-appropriate text, this site also includes images and some ebooks. The diverse range of topics includes sports, technology and inventions, space, and more. The site was created in Australia, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from those in American English.

tag(s): aircraft (16), animals (284), australia (27), dictionaries (48), earth (184), inventors and inventions (71), nutrition (135), planets (112), space (214), sports (78), stars (68)

In the Classroom

Include this resource with other content when teaching science concepts. Include a link to specific sections of the site for use as non-fiction reading content. Instead of having students draw a poster to share information about animals or plants, enhance learning by asking them to annotate an image using Google Drawings, reviewed here. Google Drawings allows you to annotate an image with links to videos, text, websites, and more. Not familiar with Google Drawings? Watch an archived OK2Ask session to learn how to use OK2Ask Google Drawings, here. Extend your students' knowledge by setting up a Global Virtual Classroom, reviewed here with a classroom in a different part of the world to compare and contrast your environments.

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Galaxy Zoo - Zooniverse

Grades
8 to 12
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Help Hubble Scientists classify hundreds of thousands of images at Galaxy Zoo. Choose Classify to identify characteristics of galaxies, including shape, smoothness, and irregularities....more
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Help Hubble Scientists classify hundreds of thousands of images at Galaxy Zoo. Choose Classify to identify characteristics of galaxies, including shape, smoothness, and irregularities. Click on the Examples link for helpful illustrations when categorizing images. Create a Zooniverse account to enter the Navigator, offering additional tools for gathering and comparing data about galaxies.

tag(s): classification (21), space (214), stars (68), telescopes (10)

In the Classroom

Display Galaxy Zoo on an interactive whiteboard or projector and work together to compare and classify different images of galaxies. Be sure to create a Zooniverse account and save your classification choices. Use the data provided in the Navigator to further explore the data supplied. Have students create a simple infographic displaying different characteristics of galaxies using Canva Infographic Maker, reviewed here. Even if you aren't studying galaxies, this site provides many opportunities for teaching how to classify and compare information.

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Above the Clouds - Plus 360 Degrees

Grades
6 to 12
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Above the Clouds is an interactive experience celebrating the Earth. Follow the adventure set to text written by Carl Sagan in his book Pale Blue Dot. While watching this interactive,...more
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Above the Clouds is an interactive experience celebrating the Earth. Follow the adventure set to text written by Carl Sagan in his book Pale Blue Dot. While watching this interactive, move your mouse to explore different views. Use icons at the bottom of the screen to toggle sound and captions on or off.

tag(s): conservation (85), earth (184), earth day (60), environment (237), planets (112)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard. Use as a starting point for a unit on planets, the universe, or conservation. Be sure to include a link on your class website for students to explore at home. Introduce this site when you assign individual or group projects about environmental or global issues. Enhance learning and modify technology use by having students create a simple infographic sharing their findings for their projects using Venngage, reviewed here.

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Future: Space Race - How Big is Our Own Solar System? - BBC

Grades
5 to 12
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Journey to the farthest regions of space with this infographic from BBC. Scroll down to see the rocket from Earth's closest cloud layer and continue to the outer edges of ...more
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Journey to the farthest regions of space with this infographic from BBC. Scroll down to see the rocket from Earth's closest cloud layer and continue to the outer edges of our solar system 46 billion light- years away. Notes at the bottom of the page change to tell the distance in kilometers, travel time at warp 1 speed, and miles represented per pixel.

tag(s): planets (112), rockets (11), solar system (109), space (214)

In the Classroom

Use this infographic as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard about our solar system. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. This infographic is excellent for enrichment. Include it on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Extend learning by having students investigate on of the planets or topics on this infographic. Then, enhance learning and modify classroom technology use by having students create an infographic sharing their findings using Venngage, reviewed here.

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Digital Universe Atlas - Hayden Planterarium

Grades
6 to 12
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The Hayden Planetarium has created a free download of their atlas of the universe. The video, which does a great job of showing the scale of what we as humans ...more
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The Hayden Planetarium has created a free download of their atlas of the universe. The video, which does a great job of showing the scale of what we as humans can see in the universe, can be viewed directly from the website. There are two different versions of the download. Both are free. Be patient with the download, it takes a little while, however the atlas, educator activities, and simulations are well worth the time it takes. One of the hardest concepts for middle to high school level earth and space science learners to understand is size and scale of the universe. Their misconceptions of color and size stem from both brain development and images that they are exposed to of the solar system from young school ages on to middle school. This video and activity set help to clarify this misconception, and provide your learners with a better understanding of their size within the universe.

tag(s): earth (184), light (51), solar system (109), stars (68), sun (70)

In the Classroom

Try showing the video (on your interactive whiteboard or projector) at the beginning of a chapter or unit on universes and galaxies. Have students discuss what they think is correct or even incorrect about the video. As you work through your unit, use the teacher activities in addition to your traditional curriculum materials. Revisit the video at least twice throughout the unit to "check-in" on your student's understanding and to assess whether their misconceptions are being cleared. Another idea, is to show the video as a writing prompt for science. Pose a question such as, "How big are you? Explain in terms of the universe." Then, have students view the video and write about their ideas generated by the video.
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Sloan Digital Sky Survey - The University of Chicago Library

Grades
8 to 12
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Looking for an excellent astronomy resource? Sloan Digital Sky Survey or SkyServer offers a wide-ranging telescope view and digital images. View stunning images or click, sit back,...more
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Looking for an excellent astronomy resource? Sloan Digital Sky Survey or SkyServer offers a wide-ranging telescope view and digital images. View stunning images or click, sit back, and enjoy the scrolling sky view. It really is out of this world. With tools such as navigate which allows you to zoom, and quick look which allows you to easily find specific objects in outer space, this is a time efficient site for the astronomically inclined. However, this site is more than just look and see. There are hands-on projects here, too.

tag(s): images (256), space (214), telescopes (10)

In the Classroom

Use this in basic astronomy courses or introductions to show students different galaxies. A great idea to start students thinking beyond the confines of Earth would be to show an image of another galaxy and have students discuss what a galaxy is. Ask what galaxy is Earth in. Have students save the link and explore as homework, and assign them to come up with two questions that the site provoked. Refer to and discuss questions as you are teaching your astronomy unit, and maybe even use some (or all) of the questions on the exam for that unit.

You may want to select one of the projects that are labeled basic, advanced, challenge, etc. Each level has several topics. Group students and assign them one of the project's topics to explore. Or, to differentiate for your students you can have small groups investigate an entire project at one level, including all topics. Have groups keep any objects they make and take notes about what they learned using a tool such as Simplenote, reviewed here. Once finished, have them share their part of the project using your interactive whiteboard and projector. Post student notes as links on your teacher website, so all students can benefit from them. Once created, the notes can be used as a study aid for tests and quizzes.
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Chromoscope - Cardiff University

Grades
7 to 12
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Use chromoscope to identify what types of materials (stars, etc) are visible at various wavelengths. View the universe through a range of wavelengths from gamma rays to radio waves....more
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Use chromoscope to identify what types of materials (stars, etc) are visible at various wavelengths. View the universe through a range of wavelengths from gamma rays to radio waves. Move the slider in the upper right to change between the different wavelengths. Use the help feature in the lower part of the screen or the quick video tour before you start. Double click on an area of space to zoom in further. Move around the map by using the mouse. Use the "L" key to turn labels on and off. Turning on labels in the Visible spectrum causes a labeling of constellations. View what is visible at each wavelength. Chromoscope uses public domain data sets to create the interface. Chromoscope can be downloaded to your computer and run without being connected to the Internet.

tag(s): light (51), space (214), waves (15)

In the Classroom

Use chromoscope to help students understand more about the science of space and light. Have students determine what they know about the different types of wavelengths presented. Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If individual computers are available, have students explore independently. Brainstorm this information and create a mind map using Whimsical Mind Maps, reviewed here, of the information and how they are related to one another. Identify the level of energy and length of the wavelength through these discussions. Many students have some knowledge of each of these wavelengths and can really learn more when they see it pulled together.

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Windows to the Universe - National Earth Science Teachers Association

Grades
4 to 12
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Though Windows to the Universe is basically a science site, it has many links that will connect science with language arts, history, and math. Find an abundance of information and ...more
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Though Windows to the Universe is basically a science site, it has many links that will connect science with language arts, history, and math. Find an abundance of information and activities for your classroom. There are numerous science categories, and within each category you can choose "Beginner," "Intermediate," or "Advanced." You can also see the site in Spanish. This site has excellent visuals and numerous topics, and several educational interactives (under "Games"). Don't miss it! The audio has been updated to MP3, however, the Interactives and Videos require Flash or QuickTime, regardless, there is so much more to do and learn at this site that it is worth a visit.

tag(s): climate (81), geology (64), planets (112), pollution (51), solar system (109), sun (70)

In the Classroom

You will want to preview the categories and levels your students are to explore. Investigate categories with your students, using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have small groups of students choose a subcategory to further explore. Have your students create an interactive online poster using Marq (formerly Lucidpress), reviewed here to share what they learn.

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StarDate Online - McDonald Observatory

Grades
K to 12
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Use this comprehensive site to learn about the planets of the solar system as well as other objects. Use the "Stargazing" tab to view "Constellation Guide," "Moon Phases," "Eclipeses,"...more
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Use this comprehensive site to learn about the planets of the solar system as well as other objects. Use the "Stargazing" tab to view "Constellation Guide," "Moon Phases," "Eclipeses," and more. Under the "Classroom" tab find resources such as "Lesson Plans," and "Classroom Activities," There are lessons from K-12. In the "Astro Guide" section, you will find a wealth of information and pictures about the Sun, inner planets, outer planets, and minor bodies. View past and future planned space missions. Links to keywords allow for a greater understanding of the material. Activities in the "Resources" section are listed along the side with appropriate ages. Ask Merlin provides questions and their answers. A tab to the "Gift Shop" is available, so students should be cautioned. Some of the classroom activities require Adobe Reader.

tag(s): moon (71), planets (112), solar system (109), space (214)

In the Classroom

Use the activities in the Classroom resource section to provide background material for understanding Astronomy. Many activities may already be known to the teacher, but these are thoroughly explained. Students could even teach the concepts to their classmates and use these activities as a demonstration.
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Earth & Space Science Resources - Kids Astronomy - kidsknowitnetwork

Grades
2 to 10
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This site provides answers to many questions about the solar system, including information about planets, constellations, deep space, space exploration, and the universe. Click on any...more
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This site provides answers to many questions about the solar system, including information about planets, constellations, deep space, space exploration, and the universe. Click on any category to begin an in-depth explanation that goes several levels deeper. The site also includes an astronomy dictionary and links to news about space related topics.

tag(s): earth (184), planets (112), solar system (109), space (214)

In the Classroom

This site contains in-depth portions on planets and space exploration. Refer students to this when natural events like eclipses and comets are occurring. Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects or as a major resource for your astronomy unit. Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to create an anticipatory set for a new lesson. Once this site is introduced, set up a science learning station for students to explore assigned areas of the site on individual computers.

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Cosmos4Kids - Andrew Rader Studios

Grades
3 to 6
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The Cosmos4Kids site is all about astronomy. This informational site provides pictures, information, interactive quizzes and slideshows! This is an excellent introduction to space...more
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The Cosmos4Kids site is all about astronomy. This informational site provides pictures, information, interactive quizzes and slideshows! This is an excellent introduction to space for elementary students. Specific topics include stars, systems, universe, galaxies, solar systems, planets, exploration and more! Some portions require good reading skills, so partner your students to help.

tag(s): solar system (109), space (214), stars (68)

In the Classroom

Get an interactive whiteboard and choose which research and activities are appropriate for your classroom. You can assign students to report on differenet portions of the site, find something they did not know, or even plan a "trip" to a planet. Be sure to list the link on your teacher web page for students to revisit at home.

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Return of Stardust - NASA

Grades
6 to 12
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After seven years and nearly three billion miles of space travel, NASA's Stardust spacecraft returned to earth on January 15, 2006. It will be carrying dust samples from a comet. ...more
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After seven years and nearly three billion miles of space travel, NASA's Stardust spacecraft returned to earth on January 15, 2006. It will be carrying dust samples from a comet. The samples are the oldest matter ever collected from space, dating to the origins of the universe. NASA's site offers background and information on the scientific significance of this mission. Though a few features may require Flash, there is still PLENTY of information to learn from or to research.

tag(s): nasa (29), solar system (109), space (214)

In the Classroom

Introduce the Starship findings to your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector by giving a brief summary of each finding. Engage students by allowing them to form small groups based on their interests. Enhance learning by having students create an organizational Padlet, with thier findings and a section for questions they still have. Next have the class complete a Jigsaw activity so everyone gets an overview of all the topics. Have students take notes! If you would like to refresh your memory about what a Jigsaw activity is, see Jigsaw Classroom, reviewed here.

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Astronomy Workshop - University of Maryland

Grades
6 to 12
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Supplement an astronomy unit with the clever tools provided on this site. Students can take advantage of a variety of solar system calculations, watch animations of solar objects' orbits...more
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Supplement an astronomy unit with the clever tools provided on this site. Students can take advantage of a variety of solar system calculations, watch animations of solar objects' orbits and simulations of the seasons, create a virtual solar system model, and much more.

tag(s): moon (71), planets (112), solar system (109)

In the Classroom

Challenge gifted, advanced, and those students with a burning interest in our solar system to research another element of astronomy (or update the material on this site). Ask them to use a tool like Sway, reviewed here, to extend their learning and display their findings. Allow students to choose whether to create an interactive poster, brochure, or newsletter.

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Cassini Saturn Mission - NASA

Grades
4 to 12
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NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which has been observing Saturn, was scheduled to land on Saturn's moon, Titan, on Friday, January 14, 2005. This NASA site provides complete coverage, including...more
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NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which has been observing Saturn, was scheduled to land on Saturn's moon, Titan, on Friday, January 14, 2005. This NASA site provides complete coverage, including images, of this space exploration milestone. The news video resides on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, it may not be viewable.

tag(s): moon (71), nasa (29), planets (112), solar system (109), space (214)

In the Classroom

This is a great site for students interested in space travel and other planets. Ask gifted students who are interested in this topic to create a multi-media project using Sway, reviewed here, where they can create an interactive poster, brochure or newsletter.

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Genesis: Search for Origins - NASA

Grades
5 to 12
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Despite its untimely crash to earth, the Genesis spaceship still managed to bring back tiny samplings of raw material from the sun for eager scientists to analyze. This site provides...more
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Despite its untimely crash to earth, the Genesis spaceship still managed to bring back tiny samplings of raw material from the sun for eager scientists to analyze. This site provides an overview of the entire mission, video clips, photographs, and descriptions of the processes scientists are using to investigate the Genesis canister and its contents. Younger students will enjoy the interactive games and activities related to the mission and follow-up investigation by NASA. Be sure to check out the Creator's Kitchen for teacher resources and suggestions. A few resources on this site require Flash or QuickTime, however, there is so much more here that doesn't that it's worth a look by you and your students

tag(s): nasa (29), solar system (109), space (214), sun (70)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities hosted on this site! Use the simulations to teach students about space, space travel, even elements. Great for science teachers of almost all grades!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Imagine the Universe! - NASA

Grades
4 to 8
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This is an updated version of a site on the stars and galaxies that's been around for a while. The presentation is keyed to applicable national and state standards (primarily ...more
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This is an updated version of a site on the stars and galaxies that's been around for a while. The presentation is keyed to applicable national and state standards (primarily Virginia and Maryland). The presentations include an unusually complete set of lessons in astronomy and mathematics. For younger students, find animated videos and downloadable coloring books.The videos reside on YouTube. If your district blocks Youtube, they may not be viewable.

tag(s): stars (68)

In the Classroom

Introduce the universe and its galaxies with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the detailed astronomy and math lessons for students who have finished assignments and for gifted students.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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