George Lucas Educational Foundation

Astronomy Resources for Teachers

Use these Web sites to help your students reconnect with the night sky.
By Hilary Masell Oswald
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This resource article accompanies the feature "Young Astronomers Study the Night Sky -- and Collaborate with Peers Online."

To support your astronomy curriculum, check out the following Web sites for science project ideas, lesson plans, and more:

GLOBE at Night
Find easy-to-follow instructions for participating in this project at this site, where students can also record their observations of the night sky. Prior to the star-hunting event, students can log on to learn about Orion's role in Greek mythology, star magnitude, and other topics.

International Year of Astronomy 2009
A list of global projects designed to promote awareness of astronomy and dark skies -- and commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei. Some activities are too advanced for elementary school students.

The GLOBE Program
Abundant resources for integrating related lessons about such topics as atmosphere and climate, clouds, and hydrology.

400 Years of the Telescope
Information about a new documentary that follows astronomical discoveries starting from Galileo's first peek through the telescope. The site offers a viewing schedule and "Profiles in Astronomy" that may serve as excellent bases for history lessons.

Hands-On Optics
Six modules for teaching about optics. Lessons range from studies of lasers to magnification and communicating with light.

The International Dark-Sky Association
Lessons about the solar system and the effects of light pollution on wildlife, as well as science, writing, and art projects for students ages 7-12.

National Optomical Astronomy Observatory
Contact Connie Walker at (520) 318-8000 to apply for a Light Pollution Education Tool Kit, which contains instructions, CDs, tips for demonstrations on light pollution, and a sky-quality meter.

Hilary Masell Oswald is a freelance writer in Denver.

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marie's picture
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j santascoy's picture

Here are some great resources for teachers via the Astronomical Society of the Pacific:

Members of the NASA Night Sky Network, which is a community of astronomy clubs, regularly go to classrooms to do hands-on astronomy demos. All you have to do is contact a club, and they'll schedule a visit. Also, many clubs have events at libraries and museums (such as solar observing) that you could work into a school trip. Another idea is to give your students extra credit if they go to a star party. You can also find plenty of fun astronomy activities on the website.

The Universe at Your Fingertips, is a DVD of astronomy activities and resources that has 133 field-tested hands-on activities. Also, sign up for the Universe in the Classroom newsletter.

If you have any questions feel free to contact us at nightskyinfo.

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