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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

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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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Website: NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day

grandprom_stereoNASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day Website is a helpful resource originated, written, coordinated, and edited since 1995 by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell. The APOD archive contains the largest collection of annotated astronomical images on the internet.

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Website: Smithsonian’s Astronomy for Kids

m81_featureEyes on the Sky, Feet on the Ground is a Website supported by the Smithsonian Institution’s Astrophysical Observatory that offers online astronomy activities for students in grades 2-6. Included are six online “chapters” that use astronomy as a classroom tool for learning how to theorize, experiment, and analyze data. The illustrated activities contain detailed, step-by-step instructions, as well as suggested discussion topics.

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Resource: The Universe from Smithsonian

Smithsonian - The Universe An IntroductionThe Universe: An Introduction from Smithsonian Education provides astronomy lesson plans, class activities, and a profile on astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger, who is in the burgeoning business of “planet hunting.” As part of the activities, an online interactive game is available.

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Resource: Naval Astronomical Information Center

Carina Nebula from HubbleThe Naval Oceanography Portal website maintains an Astronomical Information Center that contains a variety of informative resources. The directory features a glossary of terms, important definitions, fun facts, in-depth articles, data sets, lists, mathematical equations, and links to outside resources. Some topics include phenomena of the sun and moon, time, calendars and events, computing astronomical data, celestial navigation, and more.

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Website: Physlinks.com

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PhysLink.com is a “physics and astronomy online education, research, and reference website” that provides news, articles, glossaries, and extensive number of links, , as well as an “As the Experts” section, science jokes and games, and a list of physics departments in colleges and universities throughout the world.

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Event: Mars Day at the Smithsonian. July 16, Washington DC

mars_amazonisCome discover what all of the hype and interest lately has been about the planet Mars. Delve deep into the mysteries of our close neighbor with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s popular, educational and interactive summer event, “Mars Day!” on Friday, July 16 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, on the National Mall in Washington, DC. No new info on a 2011 event.

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