This week we celebrated the Winter Solistice, the “shortest day of the year”, when the earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun. In the southern hemisphere, this is June 20th or 21st, when the sun rises later and sets earlier than any other day of the year.Check out “Astronomy Connections” for an interactive explanation of the seasons.
Next term, Year 6 and 7 students will be starting a unit of work on our solar system. This 6 minute YouTube video from the Hayden Planetarium and American Museum includes every satellite, moon, planet, star and galaxy in the Known Universe. Anyone with an iPod Touch can install the following applications to help them to learn about our Solar System (Thanks Jenny Ashby for your comment!)
- 8Planets – animations, information and quiz about our solar system
- Planets by Q continium – A 3D guide to the solar system for aspiring astronomers.
- Grand Tour 3D – Space travel on a budget
- planetFacts – size and distance scale and dictionary
- NASA app including images, videos, information about launches, when you can sight, orbit trackers and countdown clocks.
- Stars by Nelix displaying 88 constellations – does not use network.
- Star Walk ($2.99) 5 stars astronomy guide
- Space Images by NASA – You can rate, email and save images.
- Star map ($11.99) Planetarium in your hand with 350,000 stars!
- ABC TV has a free vodcast “Voyage to the Planets” that you can download or subscribe to.
- Don’t forget Stellarium on your netbooks
- Celestia (space simulation) is another free (Open Source) download for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
Students will have a choice of activities including:
- Write a postcard “Back to Earth” about the conditions on one of the planets around our sun.
- Write a brochure for tourists about space travel.
- Use “Voicethread” , “Powerpoint” or “Photostory” to describe our solar system to aliens from ‘outer space’.
- A 60-second science video advertising one of the planets as a tourist destination
- Create a digital story about the planet you would most like to visit and how you would survive there.
- Use “Blabberise” to record an alien invader’s report back to his home planet about the Earth’s solar system.