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Earth and Space Science

NASA: Links, Lessons, Media, Seminars. Part II

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Alyce Dalzell Alyce Dalzell 64075 Points

Hi Space Friends,
I was looking for a thread to post an upcoming NSTA/NASA WebSeminar announcement and located over 6 thread discussions that pertained to NASA and all of their free teacher support resources.

Hopefully, NASA: Links, Lessons, Media, Seminars. Part II will begin streamlining all of our NASA conversations so those of us that are lovers of space will not miss any of the ideas, tips, or announcements that are shared by our current thread readers and posters.

I know that I've been frustrated when I discover a discussion thread with amazing images, launch announcements, or technological discoveries AFTER the event happens!

One item I'd like to share with all of you is the upcoming NSTA/NASA WebSeminar Engineering Design Challenge: Thermal Protection System During the web seminar we will learn about the science of heat transfer and heat dissipation by watching videos that show how NASA thermally protects instruments on satellites and how heat was dissipated on Apollo and Space Shuttle missions during atmospheric reentry. The Engineering Design Process will also be explained in relationship setting up a student experiment to design and build rockets. I especially appreciate time during the seminar to collaborate with other participants on possible modifications for various grade levels!

I'm attaching a NASA Lesson that I 'fine tuned' for my alternative middle school students that addresses the conduction of heat in astronaut suits!

Please share your ideas, whenever I have the opportunity, I love to weave space studies into other science disciplines.

Enjoy your week!

James Arimond James Arimond 22395 Points

I, too, find NASA to be an outstanding source for educational materials and an inspirational example of what can be accomplished with Math and Science.

Alyce Dalzell Alyce Dalzell 64075 Points

Hi James,
I see that you teach in an alternative type of setting, similar to mine. Are your classes separated by grade levels? What types of space projects do your students complete in order to prepare for state testing? NASA has so many exciting space engineering projects, but our state standards are either extremely specific (Compare and contrast an asteroid and meteor) or extremely broad (List from smallest in size to greatest). Can be frustrating at times.

Enjoy your week, Alyce

Alyce Dalzell Alyce Dalzell 64075 Points

The Atlantic online magazine has published an Advent calendar of the most elegant images NASA's Hubble has sent back to us during the past year! You may tune in daily - or view all 25 in one class period! Enjoy - I know my students who be oohing and aahing!

Visit the 2011 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar and enjoy your gift from NASA!


James Arimond James Arimond 22395 Points

Hi, Alyce. Yes, I teach one section of 7th Grade Science, two sections of 8th Grade Science, one section of high school Physical Science, and two sections of high school Biology. Yes, state standards and administration focus on high-stakes testing both consume a great deal of time, attention, effort, and energy. I am working to find space related lessons that align with state standards. I believe that using NASA as a resource and an example can teach students what Science is and what it does, as well as how interesting and exciting it can be.

Alyce Dalzell Alyce Dalzell 64075 Points

One of NASA's most successful and engaging activities that I have completed with students from preschool through ninth grade is the Lunar Plant Growth Chamber!
This activity brings together numerous scientific lessons and explorations that include: botany, plant genetics, water and carbon cycles, models, ecosystem, producer, population.

On February 29, 2012 NASA is sponsoring a NSTA WebSeminar - Engineering Design Challenge: Lunar Plant Growth Chamber.

I approach this activity utilizing 'junk materials' rather than the purchased kits. This allows my middle school students to expand on their creativity. I've also utilized the Lunar Plant Growth model activity as part of a Lunar or Mars Base. Student groups include a power station, water filtration system, space rover, and living quarters.

Lorrie Armfield Lorrie Armfield 51438 Points

Alyce, Thanks so very much for the plethora of resources. As we begin our astronomy unit and the study of Earth in Space, I am looking forward to engaging my scholars in lively discussions and interactive tasks that promote inquiry skills. Your suggestions, ideas, and the materials (links) that you've provided will go a long way with helping my scholars to transfer the knowledge their gaining in our classroom to real world situations. LA

Alyce Dalzell Alyce Dalzell 64075 Points

Hello Space Lovers,
I just discovered a great video on 'Blick's Picks', a link in the NSTA Website. The video clip is an example of Newton's Laws, unbalanced forces and acceleration!

Space Station Reboost (12/12/11) demonstrates that when the rockets on our ISS begin firing, there is a net unbalanced force on the space station, but not on Astronaut Jeff. The station starts to accelerate, but until he comes in contact with the wall, he does not.

Hope all of you are enjoying a much deserved Winter Break!

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

Alyce, Thanks for the link to "Blick's Picks". It is a great resource of videos for teachers to use with students.

John Leck John Leck 1010 Points

Flight Testing Newton's Laws, is a good way to use NASA engineering topics to incorporate physics into your classes. (Or, to support a physics/physical sciences class.) or

Alyce Dalzell Alyce Dalzell 64075 Points

Hi John and Betty,
I am so glad you have joined our NASA Forum! John,I had seen the Newton link you posted before, but was never able to relocate the page when I wanted to use their resources. This is an excellent source for teacher background knowledge, a mini-poster for the kids or your classroom, and motivating student activities that allow students to explore physics in upper elementary and middle school settings.

I've never used NASA's core catalog. I am anxious to add that to my search links. Do the two of you currently receive NASA's weekly 'Education Express' message? If not, this is an excellent way to stay current on NASA's free offerings. Grants, professional development opportunities and links that support you in the classroom are shared with space loving educators! Visit the site and sign-up for their weekly free emails - this is one item in the 'Inbox' that you will look forward to opening!

Enjoy your week, Alyce

Shanae Hatchell Shanae Hatchell 5820 Points

I have also found that NASA is great resource for teachers of science and math. I am a math teacher and I have used many of the resources provided by Nasa to increase interest in math and its real world applications. My favorite resource provided by NASA has been Space Math. I learned about this by attending a NCTM conference last year. Teachers who want to integrate Science and Math should check it out. It provides teachers with math problems that have to do with past and current space data. The problems come with an answer key and background information. In addition the problems are organized by grade level or course type and then by concept. The website is and you must register to have access to full site.

Nichole Montague Nichole Montague 4675 Points

Hi Alyce, I really enjoyed reading your post. I am a 6th grade science teacher who has never taught Space Science until this year. It is not one of our benchmarks so I always left the topic out. Many of my students would always ask if they get to learn about space and my reply was always no, that is not one of our benchmarks. I actually integrated space science content with my unit on Electromagnetic Waves this year and the kids loved it. I did too - it was really interesting learning in the context of outer space. Thank you for your idea of learning about the science of heat transfer using your space suit project. I am excited to read about it and see if I can implement it in our curriculum. You inspired me to continue to integrate space science into my lessons.

Alyce Dalzell Alyce Dalzell 64075 Points

Hi Space Friends,
Nichole - I'm so glad you and your students are having such an engaging time with your space studies. I understand completely about gearing and covering so many other science areas due to state testing expectations! I'm always on the lookout for how Space Education can be woven into all of the science disciplines.

Last week we completed a dichotomous key and we will be starting a unit of study on earth's climate and weather system. I will tie-in Space Science during our atmosphere/climate/weather unit and have students explore the atmosphere of a planet, and compose a dichotomous key that would produce an 'alien' that could exist in those specific conditions. This activity is always a hit - pure giggles with the 6-8th graders.

Enjoy your week, Alyce

Shanae Hatchell Shanae Hatchell 5820 Points

Thank you to everyone who has shared resources from NASA! I am loving all of the links and lesson plans. As posted before, I love the connection between math and science! NASA's resources have helped me to integrate the two subjects like never before. At the NCTM conference last year, I learned about NASA's "Pi in the SKY," which is a booklet that provides hands on activities to teach about proportions, degrees and radians using space concepts. The activities that I have tried helped me to better understand what a "radian" was conceptually. As a high school math teacher, while I could perform calculations using radians, the idea of what a radian actually was was quite vague. The booklet with the activities can be found at the link below:

Alyce Dalzell Alyce Dalzell 64075 Points

Hello Space Friends,
Two of my favorite NSTA/NASA Web Seminars are scheduled to be conducted during the next two weeks!
Engineering Design Challenge: Lunar Plant Growth Chamber (perfect to conduct during the spring and a Life Science plant study) and Engineering Design Challenge: Water Filtration (outstanding coverage of concepts tied to physics, scientific method, pollution and health lessons).

Shanae, a free web seminar titled Vector Addition: Math and Science @ Work - Lunar Surface scheduled for March7. This WebSeminar appears to be one that could be adapted to fit your high school math courses. Let us know if you attend and what you thought of the shared strategies and lessons.

Enjoy, Alyce

Alyce Dalzell Alyce Dalzell 64075 Points

NASA provides a wealth of information and support for not only space related topics, but also weather, climate, oceans, energy and more!

I recently discovered an excellent article titled, 'Every Cloud has a Filthy Lining.'This reading will fit perfectly into my independent learning Meteorology coursework.

While browsing NASA's Earth Observatory site I located climate imaging that showed real-time data of carbon monoxide and current wildfires.

NASA's'Buzzing About Climate Change,' was an article that quickly caught my interest. NASA provides real time data and a cause/effect chain of how climate change is affecting plants and their pollinators in the timing of gathering and producing honey production.

Along with scientific articles, real time data, and images - NASA provides educators with outstanding lessons and engaging, inquiry based activities. Enjoy browsing NASA's site and share your favorite spots!


Alyce Dalzell Alyce Dalzell 64075 Points

Hi Friends,
Our state testing is completed and Colorado's warm weather has returned - break out the rockets and lessons that support Newton's Laws and head over to NASA's site and download the PDF file Rocket Educator Guide that contains detailed directions for 10+ rockets, many using materials that are in your classroom or easy to purchase/locate.

The free STEM focused NASA Educator Guide contains background information about basic rocket science, lessons & prediction, data collection and problem solving.

Rocketry generates excitement among students as well as providing engaging, inquiry based lessons for authentic hands-on, minds-on experimentation.

I guarantee you riveting lessons - and focused students. Enjoy your week,

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