space science

NASA's Earth Minute series on global climate change

Did you know NASA has studied Earth more than any other planet in our solar system? It's one of NASA's most important missions and its unique capabilities in space give us a global view of our changing planet. Subscribe in YouTube to this bi-weekly animated series as NASA looks at earth science topics and explains why climate change is a big deal in 90 seconds or less.

Glaciers on Pluto - from NASA

Pluto is cold; the average surface temperature is just forty degrees Celsius above absolute zero. So how is there glacial activity on the distant body?

On Earth, glaciers form when enough snow builds up year after year to become ice. The compression of accumulated snow forces it to re-crystallize, forming larger grains. These grains grow larger, crushing out air pockets and the whole structure becomes more dense. Over the course of years, this snow will eventually become glacier ice.

Minute Physics: Why is the Solar System Flat?

Many of the Minute Physics videos are good, but I like this one in particular because it is the best resource I have found for this challenging concept.  They show an excellent computer simulation of a cloud of gas that represents the Solar Nebula collapsing to form a proto-planetary disk.  This is a concept illustrated in just about every introductory astronomy textbook, but it is almost impossible to get the details right in an illustration.

Is There Poop on the Moon? (Minute Physics)

As science teachers, one of our primary goals is to create ideal conditions for students to grow their content knowledge and skills in science.  But often students come into our classrooms with misconceptions that get in the way.  Sometimes we need to bust the false knowlege our students have acquired before we can really get them to reach deep levels of understanding of important scientific concepts.

Pale Blue Dot - By Carl Sagan

This one pretty much speaks for itself.  I had the honor of listening to Carl speak in person once, during a Planetary Society event following the impact of Shoemaker-Levey-9 into Jupiter.  He was every bit the science star I belived him to be.  He helped ignight my love of science with his Cosmos book and series.  This audio clip from his book "Pale Blue Dot" is read by Carl himself, and is shown to my students every Earth Day.

I ask my students to see how many epic movie clips they recognize.  The answer gets smaller every year!