Category Archives: Links to Other Resources

Sun-Earth Day Celebration – March 20, 2009

Join NASA in celebrating Sun-Earth Day on March 20, 2009.

Sun-Earth Day is comprised of a series of programs and events that occur throughout the year culminating with a celebration on or near the Spring Equinox. For Sun-Earth Day 2009, NASA will engage a worldwide audience in the celebration of the International Year of Astronomy, with an emphasis on daytime astronomy. Tremendous strides have been made as satellites and ground-based observatories attentively monitor the sun to understand the processes that govern the sun’s influence on the solar system. NASA will offer a series of coordinated events to promote and highlight the sun and its connection to Earth and other planets. The events will support the spirit of international collaboration.

Over the past eight years, the NASA Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum has sponsored and coordinated education and public outreach events to highlight NASA Sun-Earth Connection research and discoveries. The Forum’s strategy involves using celestial events, such as total solar eclipses and the Transit of Venus, as well as Sun-Earth Day during the March equinox, to engage K-12 schools and the public in space science activities, demonstrations, and interactions with space scientists.

Students in upper-elementary, middle and high school are also invited to participate in Solar Week taking place March 9-13, 2009. Solar Week provides a week of series of Web-based educational classroom activities and games that focus on the Sun-Earth connection. Solar Week is ideal for students studying the solar system, the stars and astronomy in general. An interactive message board is available where classrooms can pose questions of leading solar scientists.

On March 20, 2009, at 1:00 p.m. EST, join a panel of scientists for a live Sun-Earth Day Webcast. During the webcast, scientists Eric Christian, Nicky Fox, Terry Kucera and Sten Odenwald will share discoveries about the sun, while students monitor the sun and prepare their own space weather forecast. Students from Houston will demonstrate their own sundials. New and exciting images and visualizations will be shared during the program.

For more information and educational resources, including posters, fliers, postcards and an educator kit, visit the Sun-Earth Day Web site at

Link to 200 Free College Courses Available Online

In an article posted in January of 2008 Jessica Hupp, a writer for the Online Education Database, offered links to 200 free online courses from some excellent universities. The article, titled 200 Free Online Classes to Learn Anything, lists a wide range of subject material in the sciences, arts, and humanities. Students and educators alike are free to study at their leisure using the same quality course materials provided to university students.

Enhance your current skills or learn about a new subject today. Visit the OEDb website to view the entire article and explore the links of interest to you.


Link to 100 Free Educational Podcasts – Video and Audio Course Content

Back in January of 2008, Online Education Database writer Heather Johnson posted an excellent article listing 100 sources for free online education podcasts.  The article, titled Skip the Tuition: 100 Free Podcasts from the Best Colleges in the World, includes audio and video course content from such schools as Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Yale, and UCLA. 

Whether you just want to brush up on an old subject or expand your knowlege base, these podcasts provide a free and flexible alternative to traditional courses.  All you need is an MP3 player and an internet connection for downloading the content.

Check out Heather’s post at the following URL:

Book Swapping Websites Offer Access to Low Cost Teaching Resources

If you like many teachers out there, are in need of low cost materials for either your classroom or your own professional development, you may want to consider online book trading. Book swap websites such at Zunafish, Paperback Swap, Book Mooch, and Frugal Reader offer members the ability to swap books with others.

Most of these websites work on a point system. Readers receive points by offering their books for trade. The points are used to find new books they really need. Most programs will allow readers to find new and relevant material for the low cost of postage.

Book Mooch is a great place to start your investigation into book swapping. Register your library or school as a non-profit and you’ll be eligible for donated credits! That means you won’t even need to offer your own book for trade.

Each of these websites also features an expansive reader community where teachers, students, and many others engage in lively discussions of the books, the ideas, and ways to use the literature in the classroom.

You may want to start your search for low cost books at the following websites.

Free membership and free trades for the cost of postage:  (also offers an upgraded membership for a small fee)

Low per trade fees:  ($1 per trade)

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NASA Revamps Educator Web Portal

It is now even easier to find NASA teaching materials. Apart from the spiffy new appearance of the NASA Education Portal, NASA has added new functionality and organization to the website. Are you looking for grade appropriate science content for your classroom? Just use the checkboxes on the main Educator’s portal to select content relevant to your needs. To find current programs and funding opportunities for both educators and students, please select the “Current Opportunities” links found on the left side of the page within each grade level. Visit the revamped NASA web portal today!

Gotta Have IT – Free Educational Materials

Gotta Have IT is an all-in-one computing resource kit designed with educators’ needs in mind. A select set of high-quality posters, computing and careers information, digital media and more, the resource kit builds awareness and inspires interest in computing. Resources are for all students and are especially inclusive of girls. Resources were compiled by members of the NCWIT K-12 Alliance. Visit the website today to print or download copies of these great resources!

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Seeing in the Dark – New PBS Film Celebrates the Wonders of Stargazing

Seeing in the Dark
PBS film by Timothy Ferris
Premiere scheduled for September 19, 2007 (check local listings for times/channels)

When youngsters are asked for their favorite topics in science, astronomy (along with dinosaurs) is always high on the list. As a “gateway” to science education, astronomy is essential to the curriculum in many states and school districts. But even where astronomy is not required, it can often be a wonderful way to approach required science principles and ideas. Examples from astronomy can make vivid any general discussion of gravity and forces, of nuclear energy, of light and color, and of the nature of scientific hypotheses.

( For a summary of astronomy in the K-8 science standards of the 50 states, see: )

As you explore the Seeing in the Dark website, be sure to take a look at the how-to videos for stargazing, print out a custom star chart of the night sky where you live, read and watch special effects videos of fascinating astronomy topics, and consider requesting an image from our high-powered Internet telescope.

The companion website includes a special section for educators and features a robotic telescope located at a high-altitude site in New Mexico. Students and teachers can request images of the galaxy by registering online and then sending an e-mail specifying the object they would like to image (for free).

The website also has a digital star chart that can be customized for your date and location. You can even set it to get the most suitable results depending on whether you’re observing with the unaided eye, binoculars, or a small telescope.

Visit the companion website at:

Teacher Workshops and Curriculum Related to STS-118 Shuttle Launch

Space Shuttle Endeavour is scheduledd to launch on August 8, 2007 with Barbara Morgan, our first Educator Astronaut, aboard! In conjunction with the STS-118 mission, NASA has developed many educational resources you can find at the following website:

Teacher Opportunity: Interactive Training-STS-118 Curricular Modules
Learn how to engage your students and teach science in the context of the STS-118 shuttle mission with the first Educator Astronaut spaceflight. Using the Internet and a telephone, immerse yourself in two new NASA classroom activities: the Fit Explorer and the Engineering Design Challenge. These and other activities blend rich themes of energy, microgravity and colonization. One-hour sessions are available July 23-Oct. 15, 2007.

Engineering Design Challenge Plant Growth Chamber
During the 2007-2008 school year, join NASA’s Engineering Design Challenge to design, analyze, build and assess plant growth chambers as part of a standards-based activity related to the STS-118 space shuttle mission. Growth chambers, much like the space plant chambers students will design and build, are part of the education payload on STS-118. The first Educator Astronaut, Barbara Morgan, and her fellow crewmates will take up two growth chambers along with 10 million basil seeds. These seeds will be exposed to microgravity and brought back to Earth to be used in classrooms throughout the nation.

Physical Fitness Challenge
NASA’s Fit Explorer project is a scientific and physical approach to human health and fitness on Earth and in space. Students will learn about The Vision for Space Exploration and the physical fitness requirements of living and working in space. The participants will use standards-based classroom science activities related to the STS-118 shuttle mission and future extended exploration missions. Students will perform physical activities, including Base Station Walk-Back, Do a Spacewalk, Jump for the Moon, Crew Strength Training and Mission: Control.

Learn more about the crew of STS-118, including Barbara Morgan, the first Educator Astronaut at the following website:

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