Reach For the Stars: A Collection of Solar System Videos for Your Class
January can be a challenging time for educators. Despite returning to school from a long break with a fresh perspective and goals for the year, teachers and students alike may begin to experience the cabin fever that often comes in hand with cold, dark winter days. Sometimes the best remedy for the wintertime blues is take students out of the classroom altogether — even if just with their minds — and take a visit to outer space.
To guide teachers on this metaphorical galactic journey, we have collected a series of Solar System videos for you to share with your class. While these videos were published previously to coincide with astronomical events that have already occurred, each contains a variety of fun facts that your students will find engaging, insightful, and timeless. We encourage you to integrate these videos into your normal lesson planning, and to look out for the next installment in our series, Mars Rover 2020, coming later this spring!
Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors: What’s the Difference?
Do you know the difference between an asteroid and a comet? What about the subtle discrepancies between meteors, meteorites, and meteoroids? In this video, explore this space terminology and more. Learn what causes meteor showers, what happens when they reach Earth, and the largest meteorite to ever reach Earth’s surface, through the perspective of dynamic characters.
Watch: Teaching Students about the 2020 Quadrantids Meteor Shower
Engaging resources for your classroom!
What Happens When a Planet Transits Across the Sun?
You’ve heard all about solar eclipses and meteor showers, about the first ever photos of black holes and whether or not there is a life on Mars. But what about our other celestial neighbors — the ones that quietly orbit the sun alongside us, but never get time in the spotlight? In this video, learn about Mercury — the smallest planet in our solar system — and its transit across the face of the sun, which is only observable 14 times a century.
Watch and Learn: The 2019 Transit of Mercury
Fun resources for teachers, parents, and students!
Why are Total Solar Eclipses so Rare?
In August 2017, North America witnessed a few moments of daytime darkness when the moon passed between the sun and the earth, causing a total solar eclipse. This rare celestial event dazzled the world, and one of its kind won’t occur again until 2024. In this video, you’ll see how moon’s shadow on the Earth affects eclipse potential, and why only some parts of the world can see a solar eclipse, when other parts can’t.
Watch: Teaching Students About the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
An Animation for Science Teachers, Parents, and Kids!
Why Is Pollution Harmful to Earth?
Humans use a lot of plastic, and a lot of that plastic ends up in the world’s oceans. In fact, by the year 2050, scientists estimate that the oceans will contain more weight in plastic than in fish. In this video, learn about what you can do to keep the oceans — and Earth as a whole — clean and healthy through sustainable practices.