Space... the final frontier... and also an amazingly cool topic to engage kids in science, at any level! Early May is usually when Space Day is celebrated. Schools, museums, and educational organizations around the country will be participating by doing space-related projects and hosting events. I've gathered a playlist of universe and space-themed videos and resources for you to host your own Space Day -- what else will you do to explore the vast reaches of the universe from within your classroom walls?
Video Playlist: Exploring the Universe and Space
Watch the player below to see the whole playlist, or view it on YouTube.
- The Beginning of the Universe, For Beginners (03:41)
- Why Do We Go to Space? -- It's Okay to Be Smart (03:09)
Joe Hanson from PBS Digital Studios' It's Okay to Be Smart gives us the history of space travel in three minutes. From cold war competition to innovation and discovery, we've come a long way.
- Space Oddity (05:31)
No space-themed playlist would be complete without this brilliant rendition of David Bowie's song Space Oddity, performed by astronaut Chris Hadfield. The video was filmed while Hadfield was living aboard the International Space Station. See more excellent videos from Commander Hadfield.
- SHRINE Grade School: Nine Planet Journey (08:57)
This adorable paper-cut animation won the second-graders at Shrine Catholic School the best of show prize a few years ago at the Michigan Student Film and Video Festival. It's on the slow side -- but pays off with planet facts and cutie-pie kids. Fun project idea!
- Stephen Hawking's Big Ideas... Made Simple (02:44)
I wouldn't have thought you could explain the ideas of brilliant theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in less than three minutes, but here it is -- black holes, singularities, and more.
- Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Preview (02:33)
The new Neil deGrasse Tyson version of COSMOS has attracted its share of controversy, but on the whole, it's a brilliantly conceived and executed series, though perhaps too complex for younger kids. There are PDF study guides for every episode available online.
- "Blue & Beautiful" -- Neil Armstrong Tribute (01:52)
I've featured the incredible auto-tuned Symphony of Science remixes of John D. Boswell in a film fest before, but this one is really lovely. Watch the full 1970 BBC interview with Neil Armstrong here.
- What if You Were Born in Space? (13:23)
You've got crazy questions, and Michael from Vsauce has the answers. In this fascinating (if long) video, he delves into what it takes to live and potentially reproduce in outer space.
More Resources to Learn About the Universe and Space
If you're starry-eyed and ready to start exploring the outer reaches now, there are tons of resources online. Lots of space-themed teaching resources look pretty old-school, but they've got good materials if you dig a bit. I hope these links and videos inspire you to take your kids on an intergalactic journey!
- Amazing Space from the Space Telescope Science Institute
- Education Resources from the Space Foundation
- WorldWide Telescope
- "A Collection of 'The Best...' Lists on Space" from Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day
- "8 Wonderful iPad Apps to Teach Kids About Astronomy and Outer Space" from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning
- Lesson Plan: Understanding the Universe from Discovery Education
- Teacher's Guide to the Universe from Princeton's Department of Astrophysical Sciences
- Windows To The Universe from National Earth Science Teachers Association
- Education Resources from NASA
- Educator's Resources from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum