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Sedna - California Institute of Technology

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6 to 12
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Tap into the latest astronomical news and learn about the coldest, most distant object in our solar system - Sedna. Astronomers from Caltech, Gemini Observatory, and Yale University...more
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Tap into the latest astronomical news and learn about the coldest, most distant object in our solar system - Sedna. Astronomers from Caltech, Gemini Observatory, and Yale University officially announced Sedna's discovery on March 12, 2004. Read the actual scientific documents describing the discovery; learn about its size, location and composition; and view images of this distant planetoid, named for the Inuit goddess who rules over the seas!

tag(s): dna (69), planets (123), solar system (119)

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Heavens Above - Art and Actuality - New York Public Library

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7 to 12
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Think about creating a curriculum link between art and science using this site as a foundation. Original sketches and chromolithographs of celestial events created by French-born artist...more
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Think about creating a curriculum link between art and science using this site as a foundation. Original sketches and chromolithographs of celestial events created by French-born artist and amateur astronomer E.L. Trouvelot are contrasted with contemporary photographic images from NASA.

tag(s): stars (61)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of the galaxy and the star in our immediate proximity - the sun. Display the pictures for students via interactive whiteboard/projector during a discussion of topics like sun spots, solar flares, lunar eclipses, etc.

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Nine Planets - a Multimedia Tour of the Solar System

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5 to 12
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This site presents the history, mythology, and current scientific knowledge of the planets and moons within our solar system. Take an express tour or select the specific section of...more
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This site presents the history, mythology, and current scientific knowledge of the planets and moons within our solar system. Take an express tour or select the specific section of the solar system you wish to investigate. The site contains an astounding amount of information that is well organized and ranges from the basic to the complex. Text images, movies, and audio clips make this an entertaining as well instructive site. Use as a teacher refresher or as a comprehensive source for student research. Because of the sheer volume of information, make sure you design a basic Web hunt to guide younger students.

tag(s): planets (123), solar system (119), sun (71)

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Bad Astronomy - Sonoma State University

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6 to 12
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This site, filled with explanations related to popular myths and misconceptions about astronomy, is as entertaining as it is educational. No stone is left unturned as movies, television,...more
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This site, filled with explanations related to popular myths and misconceptions about astronomy, is as entertaining as it is educational. No stone is left unturned as movies, television, and news programs are examined for evidence of bad astronomy. Challenge students to debunk popular but weird ideas about space and our solar system.

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Once in a Blue Moon - PBS

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5 to 8
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Delve into a fascinating problem-solving activity with your middle school students. Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus were all in alignment in 1988. When, if ever, will this happen...more
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Delve into a fascinating problem-solving activity with your middle school students. Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus were all in alignment in 1988. When, if ever, will this happen again? Students create a human solar system and incorporate reasoning and math skills as they uncover the answer to this investigative question.

tag(s): planets (123), solar system (119)

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Space - BBC

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4 to 12
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Take an interactive 3-D tour of the solar system or the International Space Station, investigate the latest images from Mars, or use amazing images of auroras, galaxies, meteor showers,...more
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Take an interactive 3-D tour of the solar system or the International Space Station, investigate the latest images from Mars, or use amazing images of auroras, galaxies, meteor showers, and other phenomena to enrich an astronomy unit. This highly animated site explores a wealth of space-related topic from the past, present, and future. Games and quizzes for fun and learning are also provided. Created by the BBC. (Shockwave and Real Player required. Get the tools from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): solar system (119), space (205)

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Terra the EOS Flagship - NASA

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6 to 12
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Terra is an Earth Observing System designed by NASA to monitor, measure, and protect the Earth's environment and climate system. This site contains breathtaking, up-to-date satellite...more
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Terra is an Earth Observing System designed by NASA to monitor, measure, and protect the Earth's environment and climate system. This site contains breathtaking, up-to-date satellite images of our planet, and interactive experiments that can be done in the classroom to illustrate how NASA uses Terra's remote sensing to understand how and why the Earth changes. Comprehensive and extensive information on the earth's atmosphere, oceans, land, life, heat and energy is provided. Because the site is updated daily, it can serve as a continually evolving visual aid for earth science classes.

tag(s): maps (287)

In the Classroom

Use this site in a cooperative learning activity, having students research a specific aspect of the site. Have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here, displaying what they have learned. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Virtual Planisphere - Open University

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6 to 12
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Britain's Open University offers this very nice interactive astronomy tool that shows the night sky in the northern hemisphere on whatever date the user chooses. From there, users can...more
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Britain's Open University offers this very nice interactive astronomy tool that shows the night sky in the northern hemisphere on whatever date the user chooses. From there, users can zoom in to view details on stars, planets, galaxies, and other celestial objects, all with printed annotations. It's a star-gazing tool with lots of possibilities.

tag(s): planets (123), solar system (119), stars (61)

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Mission to Mars - Tools to Teach - Cornell University

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1 to 12
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Cornell University's Mars "Spirit" offerings for educators include some surprisingly detailed lesson plans, including a number of K-2 offerings that let students discover the planets...more
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Cornell University's Mars "Spirit" offerings for educators include some surprisingly detailed lesson plans, including a number of K-2 offerings that let students discover the planets at their own level. The site also includes lots of information and images on the rover's many international science experiments and their role in helping increase our understanding of the history of Mars. Science teachers will want to spend some time with this one.

tag(s): mars (41), planets (123), solar system (119)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities on this site! They would all be really great on a unit concerning modern Space Exploration.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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NASA Spirit Mars Rover - NASA

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4 to 12
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The home page for the Sprit rover mission offers a variety of up-to-date mission reporting, background material for all user levels, and a collection of current images. If NASA is ...more
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The home page for the Sprit rover mission offers a variety of up-to-date mission reporting, background material for all user levels, and a collection of current images. If NASA is true to form, additional sections will appear as the mission progresses.

tag(s): mars (41), planets (123), solar system (119)

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Astrobiology - The Search for Life - Exploratorium

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6 to 12
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The Exploratorium does it again. Their site about the search for life beyond earth does a stellar job of profiling the science, scientists, and surprisingly diverse methods being used...more
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The Exploratorium does it again. Their site about the search for life beyond earth does a stellar job of profiling the science, scientists, and surprisingly diverse methods being used to expand our search for life forms elsewhere in the universe. The site includes plenty of links for further exploration.

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Earth and Moon Viewers

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4 to 12
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This one's far better than first appearances might indicate. Click one of the many links to see surprisingly detailed, documented images of earth and the moon, complete with full data...more
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This one's far better than first appearances might indicate. Click one of the many links to see surprisingly detailed, documented images of earth and the moon, complete with full data on location and time. Many of the images include zoom capabilities and other nifty features.

tag(s): latitude (13), longitude (13), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Geography teachers will find lots of possibilities in this one.

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Stonehenge Project

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6 to 12
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While designed to keep Britons informed about current efforts to preserve Stonehenge, this site offers a detailed history of the mysterious monument begun in about 3000 BC. American...more
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While designed to keep Britons informed about current efforts to preserve Stonehenge, this site offers a detailed history of the mysterious monument begun in about 3000 BC. American audiences will likely want to know more about the people who did the building and the purpose of this huge project. Archaeologists still puzzle over how the construction was accomplished.

tag(s): calendars (44)

In the Classroom

Teachers may want to try this one as an adjunct to an astronomy unit, or as part of a study of ancient civilizations.
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Water and Life on Mars? - Denver Museum of Natural History

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6 to 12
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This companion site to the Denver Museum of Natural History's exhibit on mars includes more than is typical of such efforts, including a nice animated timeline of mars exploration....more
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This companion site to the Denver Museum of Natural History's exhibit on mars includes more than is typical of such efforts, including a nice animated timeline of mars exploration. The user is left to his or her own conclusions about whether water or life ever existed on the red planet.

tag(s): mars (41)

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Big and Small - Powers of Ten - Florida State University

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6 to 12
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How big is big? How small is small? Using a remarkable series of images, this site lets students begin a tour far outside our galaxy and finish up looking at ...more
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How big is big? How small is small? Using a remarkable series of images, this site lets students begin a tour far outside our galaxy and finish up looking at things infinitesimally small. It's all done with "powers of ten."

tag(s): exponents (42)

In the Classroom

Try using this one to help students visualize size, distance, and time.

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Imagine Mars - NASA

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4 to 8
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Here's a site both about going to mars and mars itself. Students must examine their own communities and determine which elements would be important to creating a permanent settlement...more
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Here's a site both about going to mars and mars itself. Students must examine their own communities and determine which elements would be important to creating a permanent settlement on the red planet. While there is lots to learn about mars here, the underlying lesson is one about the relationships in our own communities.

tag(s): communities (35), mars (41), space (205)

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Cool Cosmos - Cal Tech

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6 to 12
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Turn a unit on space into something unforgettable with this amazing site that explores infrared astronomy and brings it back to earth. Start by learning how to navigate within the ...more
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Turn a unit on space into something unforgettable with this amazing site that explores infrared astronomy and brings it back to earth. Start by learning how to navigate within the site by clicking on the "help" tool. (It's quite useful for first-time visitors!) Then start exploring the offerings that include cosmic games, galleries of outstanding infrared educational videos and images, classroom activities, and an "ask an astronomer" link. An infrared tutorial provides excellent background information about infrared waves. Students can visit the Infrared Zoo to literally "see" the difference between warm and cold-blooded animals, find out if people glow in the dark, participate in a variety of interactive on-line activities, and learn about the connection between infrared waves and astronomy.

In the Classroom

Turn the Gears! The real guts of this site aren't apparent until the user realizes that access to the various sections is available only by dragging up and down with the mouse to turn that big gear on the right side of that barrel-shaped gizmo on the left side of the page.
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ISS EarthKam - NASA

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4 to 12
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Geography and earth science teachers will drool over NASA's collection of earth images made from the International Space Station. Use them to illustrate topographic formations and features,...more
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Geography and earth science teachers will drool over NASA's collection of earth images made from the International Space Station. Use them to illustrate topographic formations and features, then move on to special sets that cover more specific areas. You'll need to make your own connections, but there's plenty of raw material in this one.

tag(s): biomes (116), earth (228), images (266), landforms (45)

In the Classroom

Elementary students will likely need some guidance in using this site.
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Cosmic Distance Scales - NASA

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6 to 12
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Nothing fancy about this site, which offers a surprisingly digestible set of comparisons of the distances from here to there in the cosmos. The author abandons scientific notation in...more
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Nothing fancy about this site, which offers a surprisingly digestible set of comparisons of the distances from here to there in the cosmos. The author abandons scientific notation in favor of long strings of zeros in the numbers, and it has the intended effect. The images, of course, are of the sort that NASA does best.

tag(s): moon (72), planets (123), solar system (119), sun (71)

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Astronomy Daily

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6 to 12
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Here's a well-executed astronomy tool that tailors its offerings to your location on the globe. A free registration (it captures no personal information) determines your location, and...more
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Here's a well-executed astronomy tool that tailors its offerings to your location on the globe. A free registration (it captures no personal information) determines your location, and then the system offers up astronomical observations, almanac data, and the like that match what you can see out your window. This one's truly slick!

tag(s): moon (72), planets (123), solar system (119), stars (61), sun (71)

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