Game-changing Ideas for a Sports Demo Podcast

In the DIY Podcast Sports Demo topic module, astronaut Clayton Anderson samples several sports and demonstrates how different it would be to play them in the microgravity of the space station. Imagine expanding sports beyond the space station to an Earth-orbiting stadium where athletes could play the summer Olympic games or to the moon where gravity is one-sixth of Earth’s gravity. Game rules would change and new sports would be invented.

These are just a few thoughts and ideas you might encourage students to use as a springboard to develop their script for a podcast episode on the science of sports in space. Students could generate new versions of games they like to play or create new games as they consider multiple factors that affect playing sports in space. Students could record their game demonstrations and mix their video with Anderson’s sports demonstration video clips. Be sure to include narration or on-camera interviews with students or subject matter experts explaining the game rules and the science that would require them to be different in space.

In the Comments section below, share your students’ ideas for new or modified games. It might be fun to experiment with the new sports and games that other classrooms develop.

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DIY Podcast: Sports Demo Video Clips

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Resource for Spacesuits Production

One of the DIY Podcast topic modules is Spacesuits. Along with NASA video, audio and images, the topic module includes an overview of spacesuits. Educators who want their students to dig a little deeper and research some of the details about spacesuits may be interested in the NASA Education Spacesuits and Spacewalks Web site.

The site features an interactive spacesuit experience. Students can mouse over parts of a clickable spacesuit and find out why each piece is important. The site has information about a couple of science teachers turned spacewalkers, a collection of activities to help students learn about and design spacesuits, career profiles of spacesuit designers, technicians and engineers who teach astronauts how to work in a spacesuit, and video and images of past and future spacesuits.

The materials on the Spacesuits and Spacewalks site could enhance your students’ script and the overall production they create using the DIY Podcast Spacesuits topic module.

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Please Note:
If you leave a comment, please do not include a link to your blog or other Web sites.  We typically won’t be able to approve your comment if you add a URL.

How to Preview and Download Video Clips

The DIY Podcast Video Clips pages allow you to preview video clips quickly. Scroll through the clip descriptions in the Flash player. As you find clips that interest you, click on the “Play” link, the clip number or the image beside the description to watch the clip. If you want to use the clip in your project, click on the download icon in the Flash player control bar or the “Download” link under the clip description. A compressed ZIP file will download to your computer.

Each ZIP file contains video clips and timed-text transcript files in multiple formats to accommodate Windows and Mac users. Formats of the five files in each clip’s ZIP package are:

•    MPEG-4 video (.mp4)
•    Windows Media Video (.wmv)
•    Text (.txt)
•    Distribution Format Exchange Profile caption (.dfxp.xml)
•    SubRip caption (.srt)

The time-stamped text files make it easier to create a captioned product if you choose to do so. Once you decompress the ZIP files, move the video clips into your video editing software and build your project.

We want to make this activity as simple as possible for you and welcome your comments to let us know if these are the formats you need.

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Rubrics for DIY Podcast Assignments

You may want to consider developing a rubric for your DIY Podcast project. A rubric helps you grade the podcast more objectively and helps students understand exactly what is expected of them on the project.

You could create your rubric from scratch or search the Internet for a variety of sample rubrics associated with digital audio or video projects and then customize a rubric for your classroom project. Start by identifying the podcast requirements. Do you expect outside research? Is there a minimum or maximum length?

After determining the required elements of the podcast project, establish the scoring levels for each criterion. For example, if content is one of the criteria, a strong message with complete, in-depth information would receive an exemplary score of four. A message that includes essential information on the topic and communicates clearly would receive three points. A message that vaguely communicates some essential information would score two points, and an unclear message that is sparse on facts and essential information would receive one point.

Here are a few criteria to consider for your rubric:

•    Planning and research
•    Introduction
•    Script
•    Discussion of relevant scientific topic
•    Science demonstration
•    Use of images or music
•    Presentation/delivery
•    Technical production
•    Teamwork

It’s preferable for students to receive a copy of the rubric at the beginning of a DIY Podcast project assignment. This information allows students to focus their time and attention on the elements most important to the project.

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Resources to Put Newton's Laws in Motion

Creating a podcast about Newton’s Laws of Motion gives students an opportunity to show off their understanding of the subject. Students can demonstrate their knowledge while having fun. It’s a good opportunity for them to dust off their old toys and discover how Newton’s laws apply to them. NASA’s Toys in Space educator guides contain activities that will ignite students’ imaginations.

•    International Toys in Space Video Resource Guide

•    Toys in Space II Video Resource Guide

Students can even see how toys operate in microgravity by watching the Toys in Space videos on the Buzz Lightyear Mission Game 5.

•    Buzz Lightyear Toys in Space Activity

Newton’s laws apply to many of the experiments and missions that NASA conducts, like sending rockets into space. Students can use rocket science to demonstrate Newton’s laws. Launching rockets is a great way for participants to demonstrate that they truly understand them.

NASA has plenty of resources to assist you with teaching Newton’s laws:

•    Fundamental Aeronautics Program — Newton’s Laws for Students

•    Dynamic Design: Launch and Propulsion Science Module

•    Beginner’s Guide to Rockets: Newton’s Laws of Motion

•    Sounding Rockets Program: Newton’s Laws of Motion

•    Beginner’s Guide to Aeronautics: Newton’s Laws of Motion

•    Rockets Educator Guide

•    Lunar Nautics: Designing a Mission to Live and Work on the Moon Educator Guide

•    Adventures in Rocket Science Educator Guide

•    Using Math and Science to Plan for the Next Generation of Spacecraft video

•    How do shuttles blast off? (Fun example of a demonstration that students can videotape)

•    Why can’t an airplane just fly into space? Why do we need rockets? 

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The Science of Spacesuits

How does the study of spacesuits fit into the curriculum? If you’re pondering that question, here are a few pointers that might help you integrate the science of spacesuits into your lesson plans.

Earth Science Topics

  • Atmosphere: Contrast the atmosphere of Earth to the vacuum of space.

  • Air and atmospheric pressure: Discuss the need for pressure.

Physical Science Topics

  • Vacuum: Discuss what happens to objects in a vacuum.

  • Radiation: Identify what type of radiation is present in space.

  • Temperature: Explain what causes the extreme differences in temperature.

  • High-speed micrometeoroids: Discuss the effect of an impact of energy.

Life Science Topics

  • How would the human body react to the space environment without a spacesuit?
    •    Effects of radiation.
    •    Effects of no oxygen.
    •    Effects of low atmospheric pressure.  

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Lab Safety in Schools and in Orbit

The lab safety topic module gives you and your students a lot of room for original content. You can create products demonstrating that lab safety is just as important in the school environment as it is in the dazzling environment of space.

While the NASA audio and video clips talk about safety in the world’s largest orbiting science laboratory, you can create your own audio and video discussing and demonstrating safety rules that apply to your specific experiments. Students who might otherwise get bored with a discussion of lab safety may be fascinated to build a multimedia product that compares similar safety rules on Earth and in space. And for the students with hands-on involvement in the podcasting project, it’s extra reinforcement of your school’s lab safety rules.

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Scriptwriting Ideas for Spacesuits Production

A variety of clips are available so that students have the option of focusing on a single aspect of spacesuits. For example, one student team might create a production about the layers and systems required to make a spacesuit work, while another might compare U.S. and Russian spacesuits or highlight ways to control pressure and temperature inside a spacesuit. Here are a few basic script suggestions to help generate ideas for your project:

General Overview of Spacesuits

Narrator: Hello. I’m Emily Jones, and today we’re talking about out-of-this-world clothing — with a little help from NASA.

Astronaut: NASA clip 1-v

Narrator: Spacesuits look cool, but their design isn’t about making a fashion statement. Astronauts depend on the spacesuits for survival when they venture outside their spaceship.

Astronaut: NASA clip 12-v

Narrator: Spacesuits protect astronauts from the harsh environment of space.

Astronaut: NASA clip 3-v

Narrator: The inside of a spacesuit has several layers to hold pressure and systems to get rid of heat that builds up during spacewalks. NASA is developing new spacesuits for moon walkers and Mars travelers. To learn more about spacesuits, go to

Comparison of U.S. and Russian Spacesuits

Students could research what the two suits have in common and what their differences are. Clips to insert might include 1-v, 2-v, 7-v, 8-v, 12-v, 13-v and 14-v.

Checking Out the Inside of a Spacesuit

Students could discuss the layers and systems required to make a spacesuit work. Clips to insert might include 4-v, 5-v, 6-v, 9-v, 10-v, 11-v and 12-v.

Share your scriptwriting ideas and questions in the Comments section below.

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NASA Education Introduces DIY Podcast

We’re excited to introduce the Do-It-Yourself Podcast activity in the For Educators section of We’ll provide audio and video clips of astronauts performing work in space and on the ground. Your students can preview and download the clips to build their own podcast or similar audio/video project.

Learning modules on the DIY Podcast page will be categorized by topic to assist students with creating projects about a subject of interest. Each subject module includes video and audio clips, images, helpful information and links to related resources. A variety of audio and video clips will be provided to enhance flexibility and creativity. Students can create video or audio projects using free or inexpensive software on Windows or Macintosh computers. You and your students are encouraged to distribute your NASA projects through podcasts, social networks, Web sites, CDs, DVDs or any channels that you choose.

Today’s digital environments give students the tools to actively create and share content, not just passively consume it. Researchers say students who create and evaluate media are deriving a sense of competence, autonomy, self-determination and connectedness. A Pew Internet & American Life Project study finds the majority of American youth using the Internet are involved in some kind of content-creating activity, such as blogging, making profiles, sharing photos and videos, creating Web sites and remixing content. NASA Education’s DIY Podcast activity is designed to actively engage students in science, technology, engineering and math.

The Do-It-Yourself Podcast Blog will give you updates on our progress. We’ll let you know when additional topic modules are available and offer tips and suggestions for incorporating the DIY Podcast into your classroom. We hope you’ll use the Comments feature of the blog to share your ideas and experiences with teachers and students. Let us know how you’re using the DIY Podcast material and what we can do to make it better.

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