Resources for Educators - NASA

Nov 10, 2015

NASA offers many exciting ideas to engage and inspire students. Compiled below are sites we hope you will find useful.

Some general sites to get you started:

NASA Lesson Plans
links to lots of ideas and complete lesson plans to use in your classroom utilizing space and aerospace themes to inspire and teach on topics from science and math to geography and art.

NASA Office of Education
A good place to start. This is NASA's main education clearinghouse. The information is divided by age group:

- K-4 educators
- 5-8 educators
- 9-12 educators
- Post Secondary educators
- Informal educators

Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Learning Center
Here you'll find data and information about global environmental change within the Global Change Master Directory (GCMD). The GCMD is an online catalog covering just about every scientific area of global change research.

NIEHS, Our Moon's Lunar Phases
Brought to you by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, this site provides details and diagrams explaining our moon's lunar phases.

Science Mission Directorate Education Page
an opportunity for educators to access NASA materials in Earth-Sun system science, solar system research, universe exploration, and the development of new technologies.

Space Weather
Find news and information about the Sun-Earth environment, including current conditions on the Sun, a photo gallery of the aurora borealis and current near-Earth asteroid information.

The Space Science Education Resource Directory
A convenient way to find NASA space science products for use in classrooms, science museums, planetariums, and other settings (with searchable database)


Visual resources:

Lunar and/or Meteorite sample disks
Teachers can borrow educational disks of genuine lunar and meteorite samples to use in the classroom.

NASA's downloadable educational materials
Including bookmarks, posters, lithographs, classroom activities, educator guides, and program brochures.

Planetary Photojournal
The Jet Propulsion Labs brings you a comprehensive directory of online planetary images. Just pick a planet!

Space Weather
Find news and information about the Sun-Earth environment, including current conditions on the Sun, a photo gallery of the aurora borealis and current near-Earth asteroid information.

Windows to the Universe
A rich array of documents, including images, movies, animations, and data sets, that explore the Earth and Space sciences and the historical and cultural ties between science, exploration, and the human experience.


Finding resources in your area:

Education Resource Center Network
Click on your state for local resources.

NASA Space Grant
Here is a clickable map to guide you to your state's Space Grant website.


Educational Resources from NASA Centers and affiliates:

Glenn Research Center (grades K-12)
Classroom support and teacher training programs in the areas of math, science, technology and geography, including free educational software.

Kennedy Space Center (grades K-12)
A general overview of several educational programs and resources provided by KSC.

Jet Propulsion Labs (grades K-16)
Offers K-12, higher education, minority education and informal education programs.

Marshall Space Flight Center (grades K-12)
Links to numerous sites that aim to support K-12 teachers and engage students.

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (grades K-16)
Provides a wealth of interactive resources for exploring the solar system, as well as info on educator field trips and workshops.

The Challenger Center for Space Science Education (grades K-12)
Organization founded by the families of the astronauts from the Challenger Space Shuttle mission offers a network of Learning Centers, classroom programming, community outreach programs and teacher training workshops.


NASA opportunities for schools and classrooms:

After School Astronomy Clubs
Encourage students to take a different view of astronomy when outside the classroom, plus, this website offers activities for all grade levels and information on a range of astronomical topics.

Astro-Venture (grades 5-8)
An interactive and fun environment for middle school students to learn about what NASA researchers and employees do in the areas of astronomy, geology, biology, and atmospheric science.

Engineering Design Challenge (grades 8-12)
Teacher guides and lesson plans deal with a variety of engineering topics. Middle and high school students design, build, test, re-design, and re-build models that meet specified design criteria.

Imagine Mars (grades 4-8)
This is a national arts, sciences and technology education initiative in which students explore their own community and decide which arts, scientific and cultural elements will be important on Mars.

International Space Station -

  • ISS Downlink (grades 5-12) - A NASA sponsored program in which students have the opportunity to speak directly to astronauts on board the ISS through live video conference. The link leads to a a great site created by Central Park Middle School in NY which discussed their experience and has links to more information.
  • ISS EarthKAM (grades 5-8) - A NASA sponsored program that provides stunning, high quality photographs of our planet taken from the Space Shuttle and International Space Station for use in the classroom.

NASA Aerospace EducationService -

  • NASA Explorer Schools (grades 4-9) - Schools from across the country are eligible to apply online for an opportunity to partner with NASA in a program designed to bring engaging mathematics, science, and technology learning to educators, students, and families
  • Urban and Rural Community Enrichment Program (grades 5-8) - This three-day program is planned, coordinated, and implemented in participating schools by the URCEP team. Using simple demonstrations and scale models of aeronautical and space hardware, the URCEP specialists explain how basic scientific principles are applied in the exploration of aeronautics and space.

NASA Kids Science News Network (grades K-5)
NASA's KSNN is a standards-based program that uses the Web, animation, and video to introduce science, technology, engineering, math, and NASA concepts. Difference sections are geared toward grades K-2 and 3-5.

NASA SciFiles (grades 5-8)
A program that enables middle school students to have a unique opportunity to view Earth from space.

Request a NASA speaker (grades K-12)
The NASA Speakers Bureau can provide knowledgeable speakers, including astronauts, to attend your event and tell you about the United States space program.

Robotics Education Project (grades K-12)
This site is a clearinghouse of robotics education information, including info on educational robotics competitions and events and robotics curriculum enhancements at all educational levels.

Traveling Exhibits (grades K-12)
Bring everything from moon rocks to space flight accessories to your school - for free!


Some more specific ideas:

4D climate model (grades 10-16)
This joint NASA-NSF project has created software which allows teachers and students to run a 4-D climate model on desktop computers.

Mars for Educators (grades K-12)
Provides links to several Mars-related programs, including educator workshops and the Mars Student Imaging Project, which allows students to use a camera on the Odyssey orbiter to take their own images of the red planet.

Sun-Earth Day (grades K-12)
This is a great opportunity for your classroom to explore our relationship with the Sun from both a scientific and cultural perspective. Many of the resources are also available in Spanish.

The Cassini Mission to Saturn Education and Outreach page (grades K-12)
What's new on Saturn? The Cassini mission website has loads of fun activities and up to date information about this exciting mission.

The Space Telescope Institute's outreach website (grades K-12)
Hubble Telescope related images and activities to get your students excited about the universe.

Wings over Mars (grades K-8)
This site uses animations and other multimedia methods to explore such questions as: How do Earth and Mars differ? What are some of the challenges to designing an airplane for flight on Mars?


NASA Workshops and Summer Programs for Teachers:

Airspace Systems Education Cohort
This program unites a nationwide network of motivated and creative teacher-mentors. The program hosts workshops across the country to train mentors that can work within the K-12 community to train other educators in the use of NASA's multimedia products that support math, science, and technology education.

Center for Astronomy Education
Website dedicated to the professional development of introductory astronomy instructors. Workshop and networking opportunities, plus classroom ideas and strategies.

NASA Summer Faculty Research Opportunities (NSFRO)
The intent of this program is to provide faculty who have limited NASA research experience an opportunity to engage in research at one of the participating NASA Centers.

Pre-service Teacher Institute
The NASA/Oakwood College Pre-Service Teacher Institute (PSTI) is a two-week residential institute for college students who are preparing to teach in an elementary or middle school. The program is designed to increase students’ skills in teaching mathematics and science while incorporating technology in the curriculum. They have also compiled their own list of useful websites for new teachers

Summer workshops with the NASA Astrobiology Institute
Field trips and workshops for elementary and high school teachers.