Saturday, September 09, 2006

Great Stuff From NASA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) offers a wealth of educational materials through the web and through workshops and professional meetings. I know I walked away with a pile of stuff from a session I went to at the MACUL meeting last year. Well, awhile back I stumbled upon a whole repository of NASA educational materials at the Teacher Link on Utah State University's website.

Of particular interest to me are the Units and Lesson Plans. There is some really good stuff here even for teachers who don't teach and astronomy. I've used a few activities out of their Rocket Unit when teaching Newton's Laws of Motion with my 9th grade Physical Science course. This year I may also build a drop tower to simulate micro-gravity in my class room. There are units for life science, chemistry, mathematics, and physics along with astronomy.

You should also check out the other stuff they have:

  • Educational Briefs - These help explain how to use some of the units in your curriculum and how to fit them with the standards.
  • Pictures, Posters, and Lithographs - Here you find exactly what the title implies. These are printable posters. Most (if not all) of these have been produced by NASA and made available to educators free of charge (well, not totally free, that's one of the reasons we pay taxes). Some are still available and some are out of print. These are available through NASA, but I don't believe there is a single repository to find all the free stuff. You just have to hunt around a little. (here's a link to Mars stuff.)
  • Websites - There are really too many good NASA websites to list, but the Utah State site lists some of those that might be most interesting to educators.

All in all, the Utah State site is a great repository of NASA educational resources and well worth a look for any science (or math) teacher.

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