Once upon a time I thought I was going to be an astronaut.
All because John Glenn came to our elementary school in San Jose, Ca and spoke to us. However if you are one of those kids that tell people a long list of things you want to grow up and be, they kind of disregard it. I mean, what kind of helpful advice can you give a kid who hasn’t made up their mind? Well, looking back I have done everything I set out to do. Except be an astronaut. Sadly, when John Glenn left our school I heard nothing more about astronauts and the space community. Unless of course something tragic happened.
Today the NASA community is online and available in ways that would have unraveled my 9 year old mind!
You can now follow them on Twitter for updates…
— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) June 23, 2017
…and interact with them in space.
There are so many good accounts to follow, my current favorite is Peggy Whitson!
— Peggy Whitson (@AstroPeggy) June 22, 2017
— Peggy Whitson (@AstroPeggy) May 30, 2017
This year has put space firmly in our minds again.
Our community had a free showing of Hidden Figures earlier this year. Plus our library is great about stocking current and noteworthy books. The one I finished reading and currently love to recommend is this book by Mike Massimino!
This is the next book I’m looking forward to reading!
And later this year Scott Kelly, the man who holds the record for the most consecutive days in space, is expected to release another book-Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery!
These books are great for me. There a few children’s books I am considering, but overall I don’t think I’ve found the right books to inspire the kids yet. Which means I’m on the hunt for something more on their level.
Here are a few tools I think I can use to gauge and engage the children’s interest!
We are trying out Khan Academy this year for most of our core subjects, so why not use their Cosmology & Astronomy lessons?
Next stop for resources is NASA Space Place:
- PDF file of activities
- An impressive list of lessons
- Resources for educators by topic (moved to newly redesigned space at amazingspace.org)
- Fun games to play
- and a sprinkle of Youtube videos aimed at younger kids
Keep in mind that most of the information at NASA Space Place is primarily a K-8 resource. It also looks like it hasn’t been updated since 2012. If you are looking for something a little bit more current for 5th-higher education, head to NASA‘s main education site:
- Kids Club
- Resources for Educators:
- Looking for space camps or other educational programs? NASA has a resource page for that too!
NASA has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to produce a joint educational website with a focus on weather science related topics at SciJinks:
- Comic Adventure
- Classroom activities
- Games for every subject relating to the science of weather
- Youtube videos
I also found that NASA hosts a scheduled TV program on their website!
Now the one question I wish I could go back in time and ask is, “what do I need to learn to become an astronaut?”
I still don’t have the answer but NASA does.
I think the advice that I would give to any kids who want to be astronauts is to make sure that they realize that NASA is looking for people with a whole variety of backgrounds: they are looking for medical doctors, microbiologists, geologists, physicists, electrical engineers. So find something that you really like and then pursue it as far as you can and NASA is apt to be interested in that profession.” –Dr Sally K. Ride
From their career page you can find:
- Career Pathway Programs
- Current Opportunities for students
- Information about the kind of people who work there and the kind of jobs they do
For now I think we are going to take it easy. Expose them to the fun stuff and then expound on what interests them!
What about you?