By Stephanie McCauley
Nothing sparks students’ enthusiasm for science like outer space. But how can teachers bring astronomy to life in the classroom? We’ve gathered a list of resources to help:
- NASA Space Place offers downloadable lessons and how-to activities for the classroom. Topics include designing and building your own spacecraft, detecting gravitational waves, and the latest news in space telescopes and science instruments.
- NASA has also curated a YouTube playlist of videos about space: The Solar System and Beyond: Kids Edition.
- The Martian: Classroom Edition by Andy Weir restructures the bestselling book for use in the classroom, featuring student-accessible language, discussion questions and activities, and an interview with the author.
- Discovery Kids offers short kid-friendly videos, about 1–2 minutes each, to complement larger space topics, including life in zero gravity, black holes, and supernovas. The site also has fun games to get kids interested in the topic.
- Space Dictionary for Kids: The Everything Guide for Kids Who Love Space, a recent release from Prufrock Press, features helpful definitions and illustrations, as well as an astronomy timeline—perfect for home or supplementary classroom use (grades 3–6).
- The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum offers a program called STEM in 30, which features 30-minute live webcasts for middle school students. Students can learn from experts about a variety of topics, including historical aircrafts and Mars rovers. The next webcast, which will consider the effects of long-term space travel on astronauts, takes place on January 25.