What’s New at NASA’s Space Place Website
It’s that time again — the beginning of a new school year! Here at the Space Place, we know that it can be a stressful time for educators. That’s why we think it’s a great idea to remind you of all the helpful resources we have developed specifically for you. Do you want material presented in visual, written and animated formats for reading exercises in line with the Common Core? Look no further than our new “Space Place in a Snap” series. Do you want a handy way to provide Space Place activities to all your students even if they don’t have a computer? We’ve made all of them available in PDF! Struggling to come up with material relevant to the Next Generation Science Standards, or NGSS? Check out our helpful NGSS search feature in the educators’ section. While you are there, be sure to check out all the other great resources we provide.
What’s New? Jupiter!
From massive planets, long distances and extreme forces, it’s a challenge for educators — let alone students — to fully grasp the sizes and scales behind astronomical and planetary science. The Space Place grapples with just this issue in one of its latest additions — a new article titled “What’s it like inside Jupiter?” Building up from the pressure you might feel at the bottom of a pool all the way to the pressure felt in Jupiter’s core, this article uses midsize sedans as its primary unit of measurement. It comes with a fun animation, too. Check it out at http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/jupiter.
What’s New? Tectonics ‘Snap!’
We’ve got a new release in our popular series “Space Place in a Snap.” This time the combined poster and animation presentation tackles the concepts behind plate tectonics and the shifting nature of Earth’s crust. This is a great resource for any earth science curriculum. Check it out athttp://spaceplace.nasa.gov/tectonics-snap.
Spotlight on Space Place Activities
With the arrival of the new school year, it’s a good time to remember that our popular make-and-do activities are now available to download as easy-to-hand-out, ready-to-print PDF files. Perfect for the classroom or afterschool programs, these activities are a great way to bring the Space Place to all your students even if there are a limited number of computers or Internet connections. Check out popular activities like “Build Your Own Spacecraft,” “Make Oreo Moon Phases” and “Get Your Gummy Greenhouse Gases.” The downloads are sorted by topic and can be found at http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/make-do-pdf/.
For the Classroom
What better way to decorate your classroom than with the Space Place calendar? It’s now available for the 2014-2015 school year! The calendar has beautiful images and a plethora of fascinating NASA facts and trivia. You can download it month by month, or as a complete set, athttp://spaceplace.nasa.gov/calendar.
For Outside the Classroom
Everybody loves a good story. Why not read an educational one? We’ve posted an entertaining new article on the discovery of Uranus. Despite being visible to the naked eye in the night sky, it was discovered thousands of years after the other visible planets of our solar system. Find out the reasons why and learn the story behind this much-delayed discovery at http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/uranus.
Sept. 5: National Cheese Pizza Day.
Make a galactic mobile with the cardboard from your pizza. http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/galactic-mobile
Sept. 13: Positive-Thinking Day
Make your positive ions outnumber your negative ions when you do the “Ions in Action” experiment. http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/ion-balloons
Sept. 16: Collect Rocks Day
Asteroids are big rocks in space. But how are they different from comets? http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/posters/#solarsystem
Sept. 18: Voyager I took first full frame photo of Earth and Moon together, 1977.
Check out other photos of the solar system at the Space Place. http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/gallery-solar-system
Oct. 4: First satellite, Sputnik, launched by Soviet Union, 1957.
Do comets or asteroids do more than explode or kill off dinosaurs? http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/comet-ocean/en/.
Oct. 14: Dessert Day.
Make yummy El Niño Pudding for dessert today. http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/el-nino
Oct. 29: Internet Day.
Celebrate by downloading some Space Place wallpaper for your computer desktop.http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/wallpaper
Want some help spreading the word about NASA’s Space Place? We’ve got a page with ready-to-use website descriptions, logos and links to all our social media. Check out http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/share.
Please let us know your ideas about ways to use The Space Place in your teaching. Send firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nathan Smith is Director of Technology for the College of Education and Human Services at Utah State University. In that role, he also directs The Adele & Dale Young Education Technology Center (The YETC) located in room 170 of the Education Building on Utah State University's Logan campus. The YETC is a combination student openaccess computer facility, a K12 curriculum materials library, a NASA Educator Resource Center for Utah, and a technology training center.
Nathan served eight years (20042012) on the Board of Directors for the Utah Coalition for Education Technology (UCET) He was reelected in 2014 to serve another two year term on the board.
A former elementary school teacher, Nathan has taught students every age from young children to senior citizens. He has had the opportunity beginning in 2011 to train international high school teachers from all over the world about technology in education, through the U.S. State