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Space Exploration Lesson Ideas

There are many different space-based teachable moments that will happen in 2011.  Space events for this year so far include a solar eclipse, meteor shower, the super moon, and four planets can be seen with the naked eye.  Still to come this year are a lunar eclipse, meteor showers, and  the last shuttle launch in the United State by Endeavor.  These teachable moments can capture students’ attention to learn about science topics based on real life.  Teachers can find the dates and time period for these events in a Space.com’s article about the space watching season.

space

There are some great online resources to learn about space, the moon, the sun, the planets, and the United States involvement in the space program.

Space.com

Space.com is an article and video based website that covers and reports on the top space, space travel, and sky watching happenings.  This is a great website for middle and high school students to use for research projects based on space.  Topics range from how to clean up space junk, the shuttle launch rescheduled for May 16th, photos of space, photos of earth from space to videos about various space science events.

I found the article about the launch on May 16th to be informative and interesting.  I can see middle school students reading and responding to this article in a journal entry, which would combine science and writing.  I loved that  the article touched on why the shuttle did not launch on the 29th, the experiments that will be happening on this last trip, the importance of the crew, and what will happen to the shuttle after it returns.

NASA

NASA has a very extensive website about space exploration with videos, articles, and mission information.  There is a specific section for teachers and another section for students.

The teacher section provides resources for teachers to use to create lessons, units, and projects for students to learn about space exploration in conjunction with the NASA website.   There are resources to learn about the different events that will happen this year in space like the super moon, the solar eclipse, and the planets aligning in the sky this month.

The student section includes videos, pictures, articles, games, and experiments based on grade level.  I especially enjoyed the interactive story about the shuttle.  This online interactive book includes historical facts about the shuttle, the missions, how it works, how it launches, bios on astronauts, and a comments section for students to read and post comments about the activity.  This is a great resource to explore further to incorporate in your classroom lessons on space.

Other Great Websites about Space:

  1. National Geographic  – Space
  2. Hubble – Pictures of Space
  3. Kids Astronomy
  4. About.com Space Tour

Article By Laura Ketcham

Picture By Jram23

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