Online resource round-up: space

By Rachel Hayward | 07 July 2009
Showing NASA astronauts walking across the road

(Above) Walk this way... to some out of this world events and resources to celebrate the first Moon Landings and International Year of Astronomy 2009. Joshua Ellis leads the NASA team of Shuttle STS-119 across the road into MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry). Picture © MOSI.

2009 is the International Year of Astronomy and also the 40th anniversary since the first Moon landing (July 20 1969).

Before the round-up of online resources though, here's a quick plug for all the amazing opportunities for hands-on learning about space at science museums and centres round the UK:

Armagh Planetarium Northern Ireland
w5 (Whowhatwherewhenwhy) Northern Ireland
Thinktank Birmingham
At-Bristol Bristol
Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences Cambridge
Techniquest Cardiff
South Downs Planetarium and Science Centre Chichester
Sensation Science Centre Dundee
The Observatory Science Centre East Sussex
INTECH - Science Centre and Planetarium Hampshire
National Space Science Centre Leicester
The Science Museum London
Life Science Centre Newcastle
Inspire Norwich
Green's Mill & Science Centre Nottingham
Magna Science Adventure Centre Rotherham
Glasgow Science Centre Scotland
Star Centre West Yorkshire
Catalyst Science Discovery Centre Widnes

And now for our favourite online space resources, such as interactives and games, from UK science museums and centres. We've also sneaked in a couple of extra recommendations from science websites too.

Screenshot showing interactive space games

Screenshot (above) of Glasgow Science Centre's space interactives.

There are lots of free pupil-friendly astronomy resources about space, stars and the planets on Glasgow Science Centre's website.

Included are: factfiles, worksheets, activities and teaching resources suitable for both primary and secondary level. Many of the resources would make great starter activities on the interactive whiteboard or could be used for topic research.

There are fun, interactive concept cartoons and games for pupils to play, and they can find out more about space via the fact files (which can double up as posters), make a constellation viewer, use star maps to navigate their way around the stars and make their own moon chart.

Screenshot showing astronauts and space images

Screenshot (above) of the Science Museum's online space section.

For older pupils and confident readers, try the Science Museum’s Space sections. There is lots of helpful and detailed background information and source material including video footage and slide shows.

Screenshot showing an animation of the solar system

Screenshot (above) of the Planet 10 interactive of the solar system from Planet Science.

Planet Science is also well worth a mention. It's a NESTA funded website packed full of free resources for kids and teachers.

Planet 10 on the Planet Science website is a virtual model of the solar system. There are two interactives where pupils can explore the solar system and create their own perfect world.

You can also find a focus on Mars and one on Venus with animations and info.

Screenshot showing a rocket and lots of other science images

Screenshot (above) from the Culture24 kids' site Show Me.

For some more space resources try our kids' site Show Me, which has a dedicated Teacher section on Science and Technology.

There's also a Science and Technology Topic Page for kids, which could be good for homework. Show Me is a government funded website to promote UK museums, galleries, science centres and heritage sites to kids.

There are also some online links that you might find useful on the National Space Centre website.

Here are some more cosmic space games from science museums and centres round the UK.

Screenshot showing the Asteroid Defence game with a zooming red rocket and the Moon

Screenshot (above) of the Asteroid Defence game on Glasgow Science Centre's website.

If you didn't spot Glasgow Science Centre's games in the earlier link, how about Asteroid Defence? Learning basic space vocabulary may be one outcome of this interactive.

Can pupils hold their nerve and blast those asteroids before they hit their space ship?

Screenshot showing Science Museum game with a scientist character negotiating a hot maze and looking for samples to collect

Screenshot (above) from the game, Martin's Maze on the Science Museum website.

The Science Museum has a great game called Martin’s Maze.

Pupils can help Martin get ready to explore different planets and collect samples along the way.

Screenshot showing the Blast Off game with a colourful orange sky and a space pod and hills

Screenshot (above) of the Blast Off! game on the Eureka website.

For younger pupils, there’s Eureka’s Blast Off! game where they can learn about angles as they help the alien, Orby, launch her landing pod over three hills to get to the Eureka centre.

Screenshot showing a space game called Time Twins with a teddy and aliens

Screenshot (above) of the Time Twins, Einstein Year game on the physics.org website.

Pupils can go into virtual battle with some pesky aliens in the game Time Twins on the physics.org website.

Screenshot showing a colourful website home page for children all about space

Screenshot (above) of the NASA Kids' Club site.

Try NASA’s Space Place for kids for more fun and games. There are also lots of games to play on NASA Kids’ Club.

Watch this space! We will update this feature as we discover more resources for you.

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