New Teacher Resource to Supplement Rocket Evolution

NASA’s newest educator guide about rockets and rocketry is Ares: Launch and Propulsion. It’s a great resource to supplement lesson planning if your class uses the DIY Podcast Rocket Evolution module to create multimedia projects. This guide focuses on NASA’s Ares launch vehicles and includes the science and history of rockets. The activities call for students to work in teams to investigate one variable at a time in detail by performing tests. By completing these tests, students will learn various aspects involved in launching a rocket. In the assessment, students compete and apply what they have learned about rockets to build a launch vehicle that flies as high as possible.

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DIY Podcast: Rocket Evolution

NASA Educator Resource Centers Offer Freebies for Teachers

Summer is a great time to go “shopping” at a NASA Educator Resource Center. NASA has 69 ERCs across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to provide free NASA curriculum support products for teachers. Many of the ERCs have NASA educator guides, posters and lithographs that will enhance your teaching of subjects related to the DIY Podcast modules. Take time this summer to prepare for an exciting new school year by picking up NASA educational products and becoming acquainted with your ERC. Some ERCs offer professional development opportunities.

Visit the NASA Educator Resource Center Network Web site to find the location of an ERC that serves your area. Your nearest ERC may be in a different state.

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Resources That Shed Light on Solar Arrays and Electricity

The main page of the Solar Arrays module lists resources for students to use if they want to gather more information for their podcast script. Here are a few more NASA educational resources that you may find helpful in teaching about solar arrays and electricity.

NASA’s Student Observation Network includes the Living and Working in Space: Energy module, which promotes inquiry as students answer questions such as “What variables might affect the operation of solar panels?”

Classroom of the Future offers ISS: Electricity and Power in Space, an electricity module with simulations.

The NASA SCI Files’ The Case of the Electrical Mystery educator guide contains activities that will get students “charged up” about electricity.

NASA’s Environmental Control and Life Support Systems Water Filtration Challenge Educator Guide is an engineering design challenge in which students build and test water filtration systems.

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DIY Podcast: Solar Arrays

Apollo 40th Anniversary Audio and Video Available in DIY Podcast Module

This year marks the 40th anniversary of humans’ first steps on the moon. NASA’s theme for the 2009 observance is “Celebrate Apollo: Exploring the Moon, Discovering Earth.” This is an opportune time for you and your students to examine one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century. And NASA Education’s new DIY Podcast module, Rocket Evolution, puts historic multimedia content at your fingertips. The module provides a collection of Apollo audio and video clips that students can download to create their own podcast. Rocket Evolution considers the influence of the Apollo era on present and future rockets. One example is the Constellation Program’s plans to use a derivative of the Apollo J-2 engine as America prepares to go back to the moon and on to Mars.

You’ll find a lot of helpful information and multimedia content about the Apollo Program through the DIY Podcast, but that’s just the beginning. A NASA Web section dedicated to the Apollo 40th Anniversary is loaded with multimedia galleries, a First Footprints toolkit and historical information that will enhance your students’ podcasts.

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DIY Podcast: Rocket Evolution

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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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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