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Carpe Noctem: Dark Sky Movement

NASA image of USA lights from spaceIs light pollution affecting health and the environment? The world’s first academic center dedicated to studying the quality of night skies hopes to find out. Learn about the dark-sky movement and find resources for “seizing the night” – including marking International Dark Sky Week on April 22 – 28, 2017.

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Resource: Classroom on the Moon

GRAILNASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission will launch twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the Moon to measure its gravity in unprecedented detail and create a gravitational map. GRAIL MoonKAM will allow classrooms to request pictures of the lunar surface from cameras on the twin satellites.

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Contest: Scientist for a Day

scientist for a dayNASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently announced the new Fall 2011 Cassini Scientist for a Day essay contest for students in grades 5-12. Winners are invited to a teleconference with Cassini scientists and engineers from the lab. The contest deadline is Oct. 26, 2011.

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As The World Turns

EquinoxSince ancient times, seasons have played a powerful role in shaping human life. They affect what crops we grow, what customs we follow, even our moods. The science behind those changes in the day’s length, however, took centuries to unravel.

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Lesson: Mayan Calendar

800px-Chichen-Itza-Castillo-Seen-From-EastIn this lesson combining math, engineering, and history, students in grades 6-12 learn about the ancient calendar system used by the Maya of Central America. Students construct a simple model of a calendar round, learning about prime numbers and the mechanics of these ancient devices.

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Website: NASA’s Ancient Observatories

gal_010NASA’s Website Ancient Observatories, Timeless Knowledge contains a rich bank of material to help students, educators, and others explore the astronomical activities of pre-modern cultures. With separate sections for students and educators, the site contains lesson plans, web resources and links, interactive games, a timeline, and a photo gallery, as well as a showcase of Native Americans involved with NASA.

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Feature: Out of This World

Brittany HinyardLast year, Brittany Hinyard’s eighth graders became astronomers. Students built models of the solar system, used software to make planets gravitate toward or apart from each other, and sought out information on satellites. Teaching this way, emphasizing inquiry, multiple science disciplines, and team learning, requires an extra commitment. But for Hinyard, there have been rewards in prestige and professional satisfaction.

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Website: Amazing Space

Amazing SpaceAmazing Space is a Website operated by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach, aimed at promoting “the science and majestic beauty of the universe” for use in the classroom by educators and students of all ages. Check out the site’s news stories, online games and activities, “Astronomy Basics,” and a comprehensive set of teaching tools for educators offering information and materials.

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Website: Hubble Telescope and HubbleSite


Learn about the 2010 20th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope on the HubbleSite Website, where you’ll gain access to a remarkable gallery of images, updates on dark energy and other discoveries, detailed information about the Hubble and the planned-for, new Webb telescope, and an educators’ section offering teaching tools, online activities, and information on museum exhibits featuring the Hubble.

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