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Space Systems
Solar System Simulator

Solar System Simulator

The Solar System Simulator is a graphical engine which will produce simulated views of any body in the solar system from any point in space. Students can explore the night sky as they chose their target, travel back in time to view it, and adjust the field of view to get a full understanding of compositional elements, distance, and movements of stellar objects.
Helios Game

Helios Game

Combine protons and neutrons in just the right way to make helium and release energy. It’s called fusion, and it’s what makes the sun burn so hot for so long! This video game teaches students about the fundamental process of fusion and it’s importance.
What Fuels the Sun?

VIDEO: What Fuels the Sun?

This educational video titled “What Fuels the Sun?” comes from the University of Waikato, in partnership with “Curious Minds”, a program from the New Zealand government. This video goes into detail about the reactions that take place within our own Sun and other stars – specifically how nuclear fusion combines lighter elements into heavier ones to produces tons of energy. A transcript of the video is also provided – great for students, especially ELL’s!
Planetary Mysteries

Planetary Mysteries

This fascinating learning tool called “Planetary Mysteries” comes from Ology, a program from the American Natural History Museum. This site does a great job at piquing students’ interest in our Solar System. Why have we only found life on Earth? Why does Saturn have rings, and why are they so much more noticeable than all the other gas planets’ rings? (Did you know Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune all have rings?!?) Students can explore all these big questions using this learning tool!
Gravity and Objects

PhET: Gravity and Objects

This simulation comes to us from PhET, a program out of Colorado University at Boulder. “Gravity and Objects” allows students to manipulate the mass of orbiting objects (Earth around the Sun, the Moon around Earth, and even satellites around Earth). The manipulation for greater or smaller masses shows the effect on the gravitational pull in orbits. It’s also a great tool to visualize the directions of velocity, gravitational force, and the orbital path. HTML 5 required.
Stellar Spectroscopy

Stellar Spectroscopy

“Stellar Spectroscopy” comes from the eBook edition of “Astronomy: Journey to the Cosmic Frontier” by John D. Fix. It can be hard for some student to grasp how scientists can learn so much about a cosmic body by the light it produces. The light that stars produce give clear, unambiguous clues to their temperatures and atmospheric compositions, among other things. This Interactive shows you how it works! By breaking the light produced into individual bands of colors and looking at the “absorption lines” it is possible to tell what elements are present in the planet and its atmosphere. Flash required – make sure to also check out the other interactives at this site!
My Solar System

My Solar System

Generating and testing hypotheses is an important skill for young scientists. The name of this elegant and useful learning tool is called My Solar System, and is developed by the amazing PhET group from University of Colorado at Boulder. Build your own system of heavenly bodies and watch the gravitational ballet. With this orbit simulator, you can set initial positions, velocities, and masses of 2, 3, or 4 bodies, meaning you can create different scenarios with “planets”, “suns”, “planets”, and even comets! This simulation shows how different masses and initial velocities affect the gravity of each body!
Lunar Phases Interactive

Lunar Phases Interactive

“Lunar Phases Interactive” comes from the eBook edition of “Astronomy: Journey to the Cosmic Frontier” by John D Fix. Moon phases can be a hard concept for students to grasp – showing them a visual simulation of the moon’s orbit compared to a fixed point on Earth is a great way to get this concept to “click”. This interactive, as well as the other interactives from this eBook come with an Analysis Tool (interactive model), a Tutorial describing its function, Content describing its principle themes, related Exercises, and Solutions to the exercises. Make sure to check out the other great interactives! Flash required for this interactive.
100,000 Stars

100,000 Stars

The Data Arts Team at Google created this beautiful, interactive, 3D visualization of the stellar neighborhood, including over 100,000 nearby stars. It was created using HTML5 so it can be played on tablets, internet browsers, and other media. It is a powerful tool for students to take a tour of the universe or toggle the spectral index yourself
Kepler's Second Law

Kepler's Second Law

This interactive shows you Kepler’s Second Law in action! Students investigate exercises like estimating the speed of planets, compare orbits, and find simple relationships between distance and movement.
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KEY CONCEPTS

The Universe and Its Stars (ESS1.A)

  • The star called the sun is changing and will burn out over a lifespan of approximately 10 billion years. (HS-ESS1-1)
  • The study of stars’ light spectra and brightness is used to identify compositional elements of stars, their movements, and their distances from Earth. (HS-ESS1-2),(HS-ESS1-3)
  • The Big Bang theory is supported by observations of distant galaxies receding from our own, of the measured composition of stars and non-stellar gases, and of the maps of spectra of the primordial radiation (cosmic microwave background) that still fills the universe. (HS-ESS1-2)
  • Other than the hydrogen and helium formed at the time of the Big Bang, nuclear fusion within stars produces all atomic nuclei lighter than and including iron, and the process releases electromagnetic energy. Heavier elements are produced when certain massive stars achieve a supernova stage and explode. (HS-ESS1-2),(HS-ESS1-3)

Earth and the Solar System (ESS1.B)

  • Kepler’s laws describe common features of the motions of orbiting objects, including their elliptical paths around the sun. Orbits may change due to the gravitational effects from, or collisions with, other objects in the solar system. (HS-ESS1-4)

About NGSS

Next Generation Science Standards is a multi-state effort to create new education standards that are “rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education.”

ABOUT US

Our team from Temple University has developed this resource for all K-12 students and teachers of science. These vetted learning tools align to the NGSS. Find one we should include? Just fill out the form.

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TECH HELP

 

Many of these science resources require Java and Flash. Click below to download.

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