Yesterday I hoped to inspire a few people, or perhaps just myself, by simply posting an image of a sun rise as seen from space. It worked!
Andy, from Alaska, left some excellent comments about a session he was excited about at his state’s ed tech conference:
“I got to listen to a real astronaut today, as part of the ASTE (Alaska Society for Technology Educators)(aste.org) Conference in Anchorage…
Readdy mentioned one of the jobs of the flight captain is make sure everybody sleeps when they should. “It’s all so beautiful, there stuff going on all the time…..there’s a sunrise or sunset every 20 minutes…
We might argue over whether we’ve got the money to spend, but the truth is, space exploration is one thing this country does that’s hard to throw a stick at. It’s something we do for all mankind…..and it would be even if it were just Americans in USA-only hardware. That it’s not that way, that bunches of nations are in it, just makes it that much more cool.”
It IS cool that despite budget shortfalls NASA still manages to excite and ignite the imagination of adults and children around the globe. In a world that is too often marred by the reality of life, it’s uplifting and encouraging to see many nations from around the world come together to bring us images of distant stars, new discoveries from our heavenly neighbors, and views of our planet that only a privileged few get to see firsthand. Imagine being able to cork that inspiration and wonder in a bottle and sprinkle a little bit on each of your students as they walked in the door.
NASA’s Image of the Day and Visible Earth Galleries may not be the inspiration and creative drive that everyone is looking for, but it does a heck of a job for me! With picture galleries that include images from space, high altitudes, NASA installations from around the globe, and geological surveys there’s a little bit of something for every taste.
There’s a nice collection of Great Images in Nasa, a collection of important historical images like the moon landings, famous aerospace scientists, and famous moments in NASA’s history; great pictures for secondary or elementary science teachers looking for some inspiration or a visual reference to go with a lesson. For the more artistic or creative, there are dozens of fabulous deep space images of multi-colored nebulae and stellar nurseries (where new stars are born). Nothing could be more inspirational for creative writing prompts, or working on metaphorical imagery than trying to describe what the birth place of a star look like. Imagine teaching a painting or drawing class, and projecting huge images of stars and galaxies on the wall for inspiration. Or perhaps you’re just a classroom teacher looking for a way to brighten up the morning routine, or catch the interest of those creative students are are turned off by more concrete instruction. The best part? All of these images are provided copyright free from NASA, with just an aknowledgement of the image source when you use them!
All a teacher would have to do is create a link or a bookmark to the site and bring it up each morning, or class period. If you’re really techno-savvy you can even use the NASA RSS Image Feeds they provide and have each image delivered daily to your own or your students’ rss aggregators (if you’re using them with students). Bringing these kinds of images into the classroom on a daily basis is something that would have been impossible just 15 years ago. If advancements in internet speed, image technology, computer imagery, and the internet itself can bring heavenly inspiration into your classroom right now, imagine what inspiring medium teachers will be able to bring into the classroom in another 15 years.
I just wish that we’d had these resources when I was teaching in the early and mid 1970’s.
Not all students will be scientists. But, all can revel in and marvel at the wonder of science. Suggestions like the one you’ve posted can go a long way in helping to instill the same sense of wonder that you’ve communicated into the minds of children.
With my own grandchildren, I particularly like those images that are presented in a series of ever more magnified sections of the original. In them, they begin to grasp the sheer scale of worlds yet to explore… for, it will be their dollars that will make it possible for future generations to enjoy even greater imagery and discoveries.
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