New DIY Podcast Topic Module: Solar Arrays

Most of us can’t imagine living without electricity. On the International Space Station, life simply could not exist without it. In our newest DIY Podcast module, astronaut Bill McArthur discusses how electricity is generated and used on the space station. The new Solar Arrays module posted this week gives you easy access to a collection of downloadable NASA audio, video and images that students can use to build their own podcasts. The Solar Arrays module includes 23 video clips and 18 audio clips that students can mix with original content as they explore topics such as solar energy, electricity, spacecraft solar arrays and space station life support. In addition to clips featuring McArthur, this module includes B-roll with spectacular views of Earth and the space station captured during the STS-119 flyaround. The main page of the Solar Arrays module provides helpful information along with links to additional resources for students who want to conduct more research before writing their podcast script.

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DIY Podcast: Solar Arrays

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Space Station Interactive Reference Guide

If your students create a product using DIY Podcast video or audio featuring astronauts living and working on the International Space Station, they may want to learn more about the orbiting laboratory. International Space Station: An Interactive Reference Guide is a helpful resource that includes a tour of the station and explains how the station works and how the crew lives. The guide also has an extensive list of printable documents about space station modules, missions and systems.

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NASA TV Programs About Fitness

If you’re looking for more NASA-related information to help students create podcasts using the NASA Education DIY Podcast Fitness module, check out NASA TV for educational programming. During the month of June 2009, NASA TV will show programming related to bone and muscle loss in microgravity and the importance of fitness on Earth, as well as in space. Note that programming may be pre-empted by other events.

NASA CONNECT™: Better Health From Space to Earth will be shown on June 12 and 18 at 8 a.m. EDT and between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m. and 8 and 10 p.m. EDT. In this episode, students will learn about the importance of good nutrition and exercise. They will investigate what we can learn in space about our bodies here on Earth. Students will see how researchers and scientists apply the mathematics concepts of measurement and estimation to study the loss of calcium in bones and the loss of muscle mass while astronauts are living and working in space.

Another NASA CONNECT™ episode, Good Stress: Building Better Muscles and Bones, runs June 17 between 4 and 6 p.m. and 8 and 10 p.m. EDT. It’s also scheduled on June 24 at 8 a.m. EDT and between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m. and 8 and 10 p.m. EDT. Students will learn about the importance of building and maintaining better muscles and bones. They will learn that all stress in life is not bad. In fact, the body needs good stress, such as exercise, to be healthy. Students will see how scientists and researchers collect and analyze physiological data to understand how muscle and bones are constantly changing, especially in a microgravity environment.

Visit the NASA TV Education File Schedule for information about NASA educational programming and how to find NASA TV in your area. NASA TV is also available online at

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DIY Podcast: Fitness

New NASA Student Homework Helper on Microgravity

NASA Education has published a new Homework Topics article about microgravity that might be helpful when your students are using the DIY Podcast to write scripts for their production. “What is Microgravity?” will give students a better understanding of why a little gravity is a big deal. The article also points to a new gallery of microgravity images that students can use in their podcasts.

The effect of microgravity is a common theme in DIY Podcast topic modules that feature astronauts demonstrating activities on the space shuttle and the International Space Station. In the Sports Demo module, for example, astronaut Clayton Anderson discusses how microgravity would affect games such as baseball, basketball and football. In the Newton’s Laws module, astronaut Dan Tani demonstrates how motion is different in a microgravity environment.

What Is Microgravity? Grades 5-8
Fun in Microgravity Picture Gallery
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Getting Started With the DIY Podcast

One of the questions we receive about the DIY Podcast is, “What’s the best way to get started?”

Go to DIY Podcast Home. Select a topic on the right side of the page. Peruse the information to get ideas about the direction you’d like your students to go with their podcast scripts. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see a list of additional resources with more information about the topic. Click through some of the links or come back to this page for ideas throughout the podcast development process.

If you’re creating an audio podcast, select “Audio Clips” on your right. Select “Listen” to hear each clip and jot down ID numbers of clips you think you might want to use, such as 2-a, 5-a, etc. Of course, you’ll refine this list as your audio project comes together. After sampling a few clips, you may want to click on “Text version” and quickly read through the transcript of the clips to help decide which clips you want to include and if you prefer to trim away part of a clip after you download the file for editing. Download the audio clips you plan to use by right-clicking your mouse on the “Listen” link to “Save Link As” or by selecting the down arrow on the audio player to save a file.

If you’re creating a video podcast, select “Video Clips” on your right. A short description with each clip will help you decide if you want to preview the clip. You can select the image, the clip number or “Play” to preview a clip. Use the scroll bar on the right side of the clip descriptions to navigate through the playlist. Jot down ID numbers of clips you might use, such as 6-v, 30-v, etc. When you’re ready to save video files to your computer, select “Download” in the playlist or select the download icon in the Flash player control bar while previewing the clips you want to use.

Each DIY Podcast topic module includes links to images. Creative students often enjoy adding high-resolution still images to a video production. NASA images can also be used for podcast artwork or an enhanced podcast. Select “Images” on the right and browse to select the ones you want. Clicking on text or images will send you to a page where you can download the image.

We want to make it easy for you to use the DIY Podcast activity. Please post a comment with your questions or suggestions. Most links can’t be approved for posting, so we ask that you not include them in your comments.

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