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!)

http://www.planetary.org/

 

Authentic Project Idea – The Smart Watch

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With all the fancy Fitbit, Garmin, Google, Amazon, etc., smart watches out there, I thought it might be a cool authentic project for students to design their own devices.

This idea came to me on an airline flight when my husband was obsessing over the fact that his Garmin watch was calculating altitude by air pressure rather than GPS.  As the plane was pressurized (this is a good thing), his watch was reporting altitude by air pressure inside the plane, rather than the altitude the plane was at.  I am sure there are many further examples like this that older students could research, learn about, and maybe even figure out a “fix.”  They could also design their own devices with all the capabilities that they would like.

For younger students this could be more of a fun “imagineering” (thanks Disney for that word) project where they design watches with all of the capabilities that they would want.  They could also research what is available, what they could like to add, and create their dream smart watch. This could also include some authentic practice in telling time.  (Listen for the opportunity and work that skill in.)

*I would like mine to be able to, with the press of a button, bring down the temperature of any room to a lovely 69 degrees!  Oh, and instantly connect to Amazon for shopping. And give me “step” credits for said shopping.  And how about a map directing me to where my favorite television star is hiding (hint – he is Scottish and gorgeous).  And…gosh I may have to do some research and complete this project myself!

NASA – Fantastic Authentic Project Resource

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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!

National Wildlife Federation Resource Site – Becoming an Eco-School

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This site looks like a super resource for anyone thinking about starting an authentic project about going “green.”  Plus they use the word “journey” in their description, and I am all about the journey!

From the National Wildlife Federation:  How Do You Become an Eco-School?

http://www.nwf.org/Eco-Schools-USA/Become-an-Eco-School.aspx

“Through school-based action teams of students, administrators, educators and community volunteers, Eco-Schools combines effective ‘green’ management of the school grounds, facilities and the curriculum.  Our new Eco-Schools USA Handbook is designed to provide a streamlined resource for those schools just starting their sustainability journey and for those who are looking for a refresher or answers to specific questions.”