A great way to brush up on the basics of astronomy is Crash Course Astronomy from PBS Learning Media. This series of 10-12 minute videos covers everything from the solar system to galaxies to dark matter.
Ask An Astronomer from Cornell University is a terrific place to explore questions about the universe and space science. You’ll find yourself wanting to spend significant time on this site! You may also want to direct serious students here. This site includes study questions for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners.
Go to the Lunar and Planetary Society to find information for greater understanding of astronomy topics, written for a general audience.
Windows to the Universe is a great resource for both educator preparation and classroom use with students. Find everything you want to know about stars, galaxies, exoplanets, quasars and much more. For a historical overview, check out the Astronomy Timeline.
PBS Learning Media
PBS Learning Media offers the following collections, each full of videos, lessons, interactives and teaching resources:
In Amateur Astronomers, middle school students can learn about telescopes, sky observation and the role of amateur astronomers. The Educator’s Guide includes background material, lesson ideas, and further resources.
Astronomy’s Biggest Stars is a humorous look at the history of astronomy, through a meeting of famous astronomers from Ptolemy to Kepler. This is part of the series Spaced Out: A Cosmic Scene, a series of video modules for middle-school students and teachers that introduces basic principles of physics and astronomy in an entertaining fashion.
Why is Galileo often referred to as the “father of modern astronomy?” He was the first person to study distant objects in the skies through a telescope, forever changing the study of astronomy. Learn about his pioneering discoveries in Galileo’s Telescope and Discovering Jupiter’s Moons.
Astronomy Resources from NASA
NASA has some great websites for kids that you can use in your classroom for both instruction and enrichment. These student sites contain content, games, interactives and activities. The accompanying teacher sites contain lesson plans, alignment with standards, and links to further NASA resources.
NASA eClips is a collection of standards-based short videos specifically for educators to use in the classroom. Educator guides and interactive lessons provide suggestions for using the video segments as instructional tools.
NASA’s Universe of Learning is a new integrated space science program with resources and experiences for youth, families, educators, and lifelong learners.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab offers a wealth of high-quality classroom activities that you can filter for grade level and topic.
NASA has a wonderful collection of space images that will fascinate your students. Don’t miss the Hubble Space Telescope Photo Gallery. For outstanding photos of the solar system, go to JPL’s Planetary Photo Journal.
Inspire your students with Tonight’s Sky, which shows young stargazers what they may see in the sky on any given date.
Constellations are fun for younger students to study. Legends in the Sky is a lesson about constellation tales from around the world.