11.07.2009

Space: The Final Frontier

I watched a lot of Star Trek as a kid, because it was my dad's favorite show. I found all the futuristic trappings (warp-speed travel, funny-looking but human-like creatures from other galaxies, the virtual reality holodeck, Geordi's vision-granting visor) exciting, but I never thought much about the science behind the fiction.

To learn about where human's have been boldy going, check out this space round-up.
Start by exploring the Evolution of the Solar System pictorial timeline. This beautiful graphic by the Lunar and Planetary Institute gives learners an idea of the way our solar system came to be. Then visit Kids Astronomy's Solar System article to find out more about how scientists think stars and planets form.
Learn the history of space exploration with NASA's PlanetQuest animated timeline depicting major events in the study of other worlds as well as spacey pop-culture milestones like the debut of Star Trek.
Students can play the Astroventure Design a Planet game to understand what qualities an inabitable planet would require. After playing the game, find out about conditions on the other planets in our solar system at Planet X-treme Weather.

Visit NASA's interactive lunar outpost to learn about lunar habitats and equipment that will be necessary for humans to visit and spend time on the moon. Visit the Planet Quest New Worlds Atlas to learn about the 403 planets that have been discovered beyond our galaxy.
Then read NASA's Exoplanet House of Horrors article to learn about some of the terrifyingly uninhabitable planets that have been discovered.

After exploring the varied planets of our universe, learn about the stars that sustain them. Learn about constellations at NASA's Space Place.Then print and fold the star-finder for this month so students can explore the stars on their own. Students can also make film-canister constellation viewers by poking these constellation patterns through one end of the plastic containers.
Teach students the fate of the universe's largest stars with HubbleSite's Black Holes video.
Then let students travel through space to one of Earth's nearest black holes. This interactive voyage gives learners a sense of how vast the distances between objects are in space.

Also check out Crayola's moon phase foldable.

Images from Lunar and Planetary Institute, PlanetQuest, Astroventure, NASA, NASA's Space Place, and HubbleSite.

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