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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Interactive 3-D Views of Space Station

All of the DIY Podcast topic modules posted to date feature astronauts on the International Space Station. If you want your students to learn more about the space station while they’re developing their podcast scripts, check out NASA’s new interactive, 3-D photographic collection of internal and external views of the station. NASA and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth team developed the online experience with hundreds of photographs and Microsoft’s photo imaging technology, called “Photosynth.” Using a click-and-drag interface, you can zoom in to see details of the space station’s modules and solar arrays or zoom out for a more global view of the orbiting complex.

While roaming through different components of the station, you and your students can join in a scavenger hunt. NASA has a list of items that can be found in the Photosynth collection. These items include a station crew patch, a spacesuit and a bell that is traditionally used to announce the arrival of a visiting spacecraft. Clues to help in the hunt will be posted on NASA’s Facebook page and @NASA on Twitter, which you’ll find on NASA’s Collaborate page.

NASA’s Photosynth collection

NASA’s Collaborate Page

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NASA Resources for Fitness

For some of the same reasons that it’s important to exercise on Earth, it’s even more important to exercise in a microgravity environment. As students build their own podcasts about fitness, they can compare the purposes and benefits of exercising in both environments.

The NASA SCI Files™ The Case of the Physical Fitness Challenge educator guide includes lesson plans and activities that support national education standards to help students understand that a healthy lifestyle includes proper nutrition and daily physical activity.
The Case of the Physical Fitness Challenge 

The National Space Biomedical Research Institute, or NSBRI, works to prevent or solve health problems related to long-duration space travel and prolonged exposure to microgravity. The institute, established through NASA, has materials to supplement science, health and fitness education.
NSBRI Educational Materials

Learn what NASA has done and is doing to keep astronauts healthy and strong.

Fit for Space Fact Sheets

Glenn’s Human Research Program Ensures Astronaut Health and Safety

Exercise Countermeasures Project

NASA has more resources that explain the importance of exercise and fitness.

Why do Workouts Work?

How Long Does It Take to Rebuild Bone Lost During Space Flight?

Space Bones

Space Biology FAQ

To Keep Fit in Space, Train Like an Athlete 

The Body’s Muscles and Bones Video

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DIY Podcast: Fitness

NASA Student Group on Facebook

If you’re looking for ways to help your students engage in science and technology, you might suggest they join the NASA Students @ group on Facebook. The Facebook page for students highlights contests, learning opportunities, internships, podcasts, new features and more. It includes information on new or upcoming events, along with reminders of approaching deadlines. The NASA Students page also promotes other efforts within NASA that might be of interest to students, such as new NASA Web content, multimedia, and interactive features that cover a wide range of topics. The Facebook page is updated once a day except on weekends. It’s a great way for students to learn about new opportunities, keep up with NASA activities and connect with other students who share these common interests.

NASA Students @

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Fitness Topic Module Offers Opportunity for Integrated Curricula

Science + technology + physical education + health = well-rounded students.

How often do science, health, physical education and technology teachers have a genuine opportunity to integrate their curricula? The DIY Podcast Fitness module offers that opportunity. Students’ podcasts could include a discussion of the effects of microgravity on the human body from a scientific point of view. For health class, students could discuss the importance of physical exercise on Earth. A physical education teacher could assist students with proper form as they demonstrate basic physical exercises. And a technology teacher could give instruction on audio and video production techniques for the final product.

The concepts students learn while researching, writing and producing a fitness podcast are reinforced in four subject areas. This reinforcement promotes greater understanding of the concepts. Producing a fitness podcast could help students make connections that otherwise might not have clicked for them.

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DIY Podcast: Fitness

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New DIY Podcast Topic Module: Fitness

Astronaut Sunita Williams actually ran the Boston Marathon in space. And in our latest DIY Podcast topic module, she and astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria demonstrate and explain how astronauts exercise in space and why it’s so important. We posted the new Fitness module this week to give you easy access to downloadable NASA audio, video and images that students can use to build their own podcasts about fitness and exercise. The Fitness module includes 13 video clips and 12 audio clips that students can mix with original content as they examine fitness in space and on Earth. You’ll find helpful information about fitness along with links to additional resources for students who want to research the topic before writing their script.

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DIY Podcast: Fitness

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NASA Student Resources

One component of NASA Education DIY Podcast topic modules is a list of resources related to a specific topic, such as Newton’s laws or spacesuits. On the main page of each topic module, you’ll find helpful information for writing a podcast script on that topic, followed by links to related resources. As you might expect, the lists of links just skim the surface of NASA resources available to students when they’re conducting research for classroom projects.

Homework Topics pages are a good place for students to do research for their DIY podcast. New topics are added at the K-4 and 5-8 reading levels.

Homework Topics Grades K-4: Search by Topic
Homework Topics Grades 5-8: Search by Topic

Here are additional research tools you may want to share with your students:
NASA Student Pages by Subject
NASA Student Sites Listed by Alphabet

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Educator Resources for the Science of Sports in Space

The action of sports and the thrill of space exploration are great motivators for even the most reluctant learner. From Newton’s Laws of Motion to the conservation of angular momentum, there’s a lot of science to consider when contemplating sports in space. You’ll find several resource links on the
DIY Podcast: Sports Demo page. A recent DIY Podcast Blog post, “Resources to Put Newton’s Laws in Motion,” features a long list of useful links, including the Buzz Lightyear Mission Game 5 that shows students how toys behave in microgravity.

Here are a few more resources that might come in handy if your class develops a podcast episode about the science of sports in space:

•    NASA — What is Microgravity?
•    Out-of-This-World Olympics
•    The Effects of Space Flight on the Human Vestibular System

The last link, covering the human vestibular system, points you to instructions to demonstrate Newton’s laws and the conservation of angular momentum using a rolling office chair. Your class could videotape a student in a rolling chair to make it easier to understand some of the scientific principles that would likely be discussed in your podcast on the science of sports in space.

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DIY Podcast Adds Sports Demonstration Topic Module

We added a new topic module to the DIY Podcast activity today. It’s called “Sports Demo,” and encourages students to create their own podcast demonstrating the science of sports in space. This latest topic module includes video and audio clips of NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson discussing scientific laws and how they apply to sports in space. He uses basketball, football, baseball, soccer and gymnastics to demonstrate Newton’s laws, the conservation of angular momentum and the effects of microgravity. Anderson demonstrates how much easier it is to dunk a basketball or do gymnastics in microgravity.

Students may choose from 16 video clips to create a video podcast that blends their own original content and NASA astronaut footage. Students also have the option of creating an audio podcast that mixes their own narration with any of 11 audio clips of Anderson explaining the science of sports in space. This DIY Podcast topic module, which also includes images, helpful information and sports and microgravity links, gives students a fun way to compare sports on Earth and in space and get a better understanding of scientific laws and principles.

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DIY Podcast: Sports Demo

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