Educator Web Links
Oct 2011: Agent Exoplanet—Astronomers at Las Cumbres Observatory are investigating exoplanets and you can too. Through Agent Exoplanet you use images taken by Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT), measure the brightness of a star while a planet moves between it and our viewpoint (exoplanet transit event), and contribute to understanding the properties of each exoplanet.
Things to put on your computer to stay up-to-date on exoplanet discoveries:
Spacemath@NASA introduces students to the use of mathematics in relation to scientific discoveries announced in NASA press releases and other articles, Created and maintained by Dr. Sten Odenwald, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Example pertinent to planet-finding:
Problem 391: Investigating the atmosphere of Super-Earth GJ-1214b Students investigate a simple model for the interior of an exoplanet to estimate the thickness of its atmosphere given the mass size and density of the planet. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: graphing functions; evaluating functions for given values; volume of a sphere; mass = densityxvolume]
NASA Space Science Education Resource Directory - NASA space science products for use in classrooms, science museums, planetariums, and other settings.
Practical Uses of Math and Science (PUMAS) is a collection of brief examples showing how math and science topics taught in K-12 classes can be used in interesting settings, including every day life. The examples are written primarily by scientists, engineers, and other content experts having practical experience with the material.
NASA Quest - Internet in the Classroom - online K-12 Educational Resources at NASA Ames Research Center
Science @ NASA - Website of the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) that engages the Nation’s science community, sponsors scientific research, and develops and deploys satellites and probes in collaboration with NASA’s partners around the world to answer fundamental questions requiring the view from and into space. SMD seeks to understand the origins, evolution, and destiny of the universe and to understand the nature of the strange phenomena that shape it. Areas of interest include:
- the nature of life in the universe and what kinds of life may exist beyond Earth;
- the solar system, both scientifically and in preparation for human exploration; and
- the Sun and Earth, changes in the Earth-Sun system, and the consequences of the Earth-Sun relationship for life on Earth.
NASA's Education Program - NASA's Internet portal to educational program resources
SETI Educational Programs - The SETI Institute's Education and Public Outreach (EPO) programs share the excitement of searching for life in the universe with people of all ages. The website features a podcast radio show, Voyages Through Time high school science curriculum, Astrobiology Summer Science Experience for Teachers (ASSET) program, and Astrobiology Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).
Kepler's Discovery website www.keplersdiscovery.com/ is an educational adventure into the concepts, thought processes and consequences of Kepler's discoveries. It provides an excellent supplement to secondary school and college classes on astronomy, mathematics and the history of science.
KQED-TV PBS San Francisco Quest science program has posted educational information on its Web site about the hunt for exoplanets:
An educational program to involve 3,000 schools (1,000 in the USA) in the tracking and exploration of the Kepler telescope data to discover earth-size planets in the close Milky Way proximity.
Planets Around Other Stars - this is part of a larger website on astronomy, "Our Place in Space." The site offers an inward swoop of perspectives, from the intergalactic void through the Milky Way down to Earth. The main axis is a series of astronomical perspectives that range outward from infinity and inward to our home planet. This website has extensive content on extrasolar planetary systems. The site is aimed at the science-interested public. Suitable for high school reading level and above.