Scott Hamilton Skates the Universe – Full of Space Facts!


Scott Hamilton Skates the Universe on YouTube

Well someone must have been trying to make me happy – like REALLY happy!

In 2001 the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum created this video with Scott Hamilton, skating his way through great facts about our universe.  Short but packed with information about space, and really fun to watch.

Space Science + Figure Skating = really made for me!

Why am I just finding this now?

The Planetary Society – Another Great Space Resource

IMG_20180808_162929Quilt by Linda Smith

Another great resource for space science and space exploration is The Planetary Society.  While joining does give you greater access to everything on the site – and helps to support their charter of promoting space exploration –  there are plenty of things on this site that can be accessed without joining.  Robert Picardo, of Star Trek Voyager fame, is the host of very informative and engaging videos.  (Kids love him – he has a great sense of humor!)


Tex the Explorer: Journey to Mars in the Classroom


Available on Amazon

A friend asked for ideas on how to use Tex the Explorer: Journey to Mars in her classroom, and I thought this was a great question!

I came up with two ideas.

First of all, I hope it is a great book to use to support the study of the planets in the primary grades.  All of the information in the book about Mars is factual. (I have space scientists in my family and had all my facts triple checked!)  I have heard from folks who bought the book, that it is a great conversation starter for kids about space.

Another use for the book would be that it was written by a teacher and illustrated by her former student.  Neither of us are professionals, and neither of us has done anything like this before.  I hope it would be an authentic inspiration for students to write their own books about what they are passionate about.  You don’t have to  get your book published and sell it on Amazon for it to be a real book.  With technology today, it is fairly simple to produce a book to share with friends.  Holding a “book fair” to showcase student work would be a great way to present final products.

I would also be honored to communicate with students who are working on writing their own books.  I am happy to email, Skype, or visit in person – if you happen to live in Central Pennsylvania, the DC suburbs, or any place I could use as an excuse for a good trip – Venice would definitely be doable!  If you are in the DC area, I could also see if my illustrator is available.  He is pretty busy with college, but I might be able to get him to join me on a visit.  Again, it’s those interactions with real people that have accomplished real things that make the experience authentic.

*If you use Tex the Explorer: Journey to Mars in your classroom, please let me know how!

Tex the Explorer: Journey to Mars Receives 2018 Mom’s Choice Award


Tex the Explorer: Journey to Mars is a

2018 Mom’s Choice Awards® Silver Recipient!

Available on Amazon


NASA – Fantastic Authentic Project Resource


This is a fantastic resource for authentic projects:

NASA Weekly Emails for Teachers

NASA is involved with anything and everything that has to do with flight and space exploration.  They also are involved in many other areas of science and technology that have been offshoots from their research (biology, medicine, ecology, geography…).  When I visited the NASA Glenn Research Center as part of an educator program, I was honestly stunned by the wide and varied research they were doing!  So even if you aren’t planning an authentic project about flight or space, don’t overlook this valuable resource!

Teachers: The Budget


Having students work out and stick to a budget is a great way to teach and reinforce math skills.  It is also a way to show students how to find out what something might cost and to stick to a budget.

For example, for classroom parties, give the students an amount to work with, give them websites they can search to find prices, and let them plan the party.  Giving students ownership of the budget and planning provides an authentic math experience, and also gives the students ownership and pride in their event.