TeachersFirst's Universe and Space - Science Resources

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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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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 videos. 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. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as ClipGrab, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): aircraft (25), animals (319), australia (36), dictionaries (58), earth (224), inventors and inventions (88), nutrition (159), planets (131), space (226), sports (98), stars (69)

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, ask them to annotate an image using ThingLink, reviewed here. ThingLink allows you to add links including text, video, and more to images. Broaden your students' knowledge by setting up a Skype chat, 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

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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 (24), space (226), stars (69), 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 Easel.ly, 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 (123), earth (224), earth day (104), environment (321), planets (131)

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. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings for their projects using Easel.ly, reviewed here, or 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 interactive from BBC. Scroll down to move 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 interactive from BBC. Scroll down to move 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 (131), rockets (18), solar system (121), space (226)

In the Classroom

Use this interactive 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 interactive is excellent for enrichment. Include it on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here, or Venngage, reviewed here.

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Space Weather Center - Space Science Institute

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4 to 12
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Explore the powerful forces of space weather through articles, pictures, and interactives at Space Weather Center. Choose from the topics of Amazing Plasmas, Living with a Star, Protective...more
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Explore the powerful forces of space weather through articles, pictures, and interactives at Space Weather Center. Choose from the topics of Amazing Plasmas, Living with a Star, Protective Shield, and Storm Alert. Each topic begins with a short overview, some interactives, and a list of links to extended information. The Education section offers Curricular Guides, PowerPoint Presentations, and more for easy download in PDF format. You can even send a "spacy weather" ecard!

tag(s): earth (224), magnetism (39), matter (61), space (226), stars (69), sun (69), weather (205)

In the Classroom

Use information at Space Weather Center with any study of the universe, stars, or weather. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare weather in outer space to weather on earth. Have students create a word cloud (sorry about the pun) of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Share this site on your class website or blog for students to explore at home or during computer time at school. Include a link to games and activities on classroom computers.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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100,000 Stars - Google

Grades
6 to 12
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100,000 Stars is an amazing, interactive visualization of the universe from Google. It can only be viewed in the Chrome browser. It will start to open in other browsers, but ...more
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100,000 Stars is an amazing, interactive visualization of the universe from Google. It can only be viewed in the Chrome browser. It will start to open in other browsers, but doesn't function properly. Choose the "Take a Tour" option at the top-left side of your screen to view a tour beginning with the sun. Begin to find stars closest to our solar system. Use the slider bar on the right side of the page to travel to the end of the Milky Way. Explore on your own using your computer mouse. Click and zoom to explore the universe or click on any star name to find information about named stars.

tag(s): planets (131), space (226), stars (69), sun (69)

In the Classroom

If you do not have Chrome on you classroom computer, it is worth installing it or asking your tech folks to do so. Explore this site as a class on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to explore on their own on classroom computers. Create a scavenger hunt for stars to find and have students locate them on the site. Have students give a guided star tour on the interactive whiteboard.

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Nova Science Now Education - WGBH Educational Foundation

Grades
3 to 12
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Discover a reorganized, teacher-packaged collection of Nova resources for bringing science, technology, and engineering to the classroom. Find standards based, classroom resources based...more
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Discover a reorganized, teacher-packaged collection of Nova resources for bringing science, technology, and engineering to the classroom. Find standards based, classroom resources based on programs from Nova and other PBS programs. There are teacher guides, teacher interactives, and teacher videos. Topics include anthropology, archaeology, earth science, engineering, environmental science, forensic science, geography, health science, history, life science, math, paleontology, physical science, science and society, space science, and technology. At the time of this review, the website is still in BETA version and is not all inclusive in each subject. Find a TV programming schedule to help planning and resource gathering.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): archeology (31), engineering (132), environment (321), forensics (26), paleontology (40), space (226)

In the Classroom

Enjoy the interactives, videos, and text together on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use selected activities as a center (station). Include as resources for your curriculum. Use as a model to make a wiki for your current topic of study for a group project or classroom project. Not familiar with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Use this format to spice up your classroom blog.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 three different versions of the download. All 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 (224), light (54), solar system (121), stars (69), sun (69)

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.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (281), space (226), 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 Quicklyst (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.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Universe - A & E Television Network

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7 to 12
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Watch episodes from "The Universe." Be sure to check out the section of featured videos, photos, and interactives. Click the "Facts about the Universe" link to find fascinating information....more
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Watch episodes from "The Universe." Be sure to check out the section of featured videos, photos, and interactives. Click the "Facts about the Universe" link to find fascinating information. Scroll down to the bottom to click on one of the planet icons to view more information. Be sure to click the link to download the series to iTunes.

tag(s): earth (224), mars (41), solar system (121), space (226), sun (69)

In the Classroom

Use this resource as part of an astronomy unit or to discuss how technology allows us to understand more about the science of the universe around us. Show whole or portions of the videos in the classroom or on stand alone computers as part of a learning center. Share portions of this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge cooperative learning groups to investigate a specific topic at this website and share parts of this web page, images, recipes, passages of text, and more using a site such as Simplybox (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Chromoscope - Cardiff University

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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 (54), space (226), waves (22)

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 diagrammr 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

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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." This site has excellent visuals and numerous topics, and several educational interactives (under "Games"). Don't miss it!

tag(s): geology (77), planets (131)

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 Lucidpress, reviewed here to share what they learn.
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Star Search - Josh Goldblum

Grades
3 to 10
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Identify constellations throughout the seasons. Choose a season and then your constellation. The night sky appears, and you can find the specific stars in that constellation. Once you...more
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Identify constellations throughout the seasons. Choose a season and then your constellation. The night sky appears, and you can find the specific stars in that constellation. Once you find the alpha star, more information about the constellation appears. You can also click to print.

tag(s): stars (69)

In the Classroom

Use this interesting resource (ideal for your interactive whiteboard or projector) to identify the positions of the constellations in the night sky which is the toughest part of astronomy. Gain perspective of our position in the sky by viewing constellations during the various seasons. Encourage students to find other constellations in the night sky view but not identified in this resource. Encourage them to create a similar information page about the alpha star and the constellation that would appear on the site if that constellation were included.
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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 "Weekly Tips," "Sky Almanac," "Constellation Guide,"...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 "Weekly Tips," "Sky Almanac," "Constellation Guide," "Moon Phases," "Beginner's Guide," and more. Under the "Teacher's" tab use resources such as "Lesson Plans," "Classroom Activities," "StarDate in the Classroom," or "Teacher Workshops." Materials in the teacher section provide activity directions, materials needed, as well. as documents in Adobe pdf format. There are lessons from K-12. In the "Resources" 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. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): planets (131), solar system (121), space (226)

In the Classroom

Use the activities in the Teacher's 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.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Kids Astronomy - kidsknowitnetwork

Grades
2 to 10
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This interactive site provides answers to many questions about the solar system, including information about planets, constellations, deep space, space exploration, and the universe....more
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This interactive 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. The teacher's site contains worksheets and a link to the online astronomy learning academy. The "academy" is a source for free in-depth lessons called courses, each with reading, assignments, and a completion certificate. There are numerous educational games at this site, including one to teach you how to identify constellations. There is some advertising on this site. To fully enjoy this site, you must have Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): planets (131), solar system (121), space (226)

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. Some activities require FLASH. If you see a blank screen, download the Flash plugin from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): space (226), stars (69)

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 is scheduled to return to earth on January 15, 2006. It will be carrying dust samples ...more
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After seven years and nearly three billion miles of space travel, NASA's Stardust spacecraft is scheduled to return to earth on January 15, 2006. It will be carrying dust samples from a comet. The samples will be 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.

tag(s): nasa (38), space (226)

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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 (75), planets (131), solar system (121)

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