Helping youth explore the science of space

Explore the science of space; final article in a series of three for helping youth explore the science of space.

The study of space is a great way to get children interested in scientific exploration and discovery. It is also a great topic for incorporating scientific inquiry within the learning process. Children will have their own questions about space, facilitate an exploration of these questions and have an ongoing discovery process. In the previous two articles, we focused on stargazing, planet exploration and rocketry activities. This final article provides resources on how space affects our everyday lives. Global Positioning System (GPS), Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies and their connection to space are also included.

Space exploration has led to many discoveries both in space and on Earth. A NASA representative puts it this way, “What we do in space is much more than just science. We really do inspire people and change lives, and create new technology that goes beyond the boundaries of just pure science.” From NASA inspired communications satellites to monitors that track hurricanes, wildfires and volcanoes, space science affects our lives. Ongoing space research is working on making it safer to fly in a plane or drive on the interstates. Other scientists have invented medical devices that help with hearing. Check out an interactive NASA at Home and City website to explore different discoveries and inventions at use right in your home and city due to space science. Visit NASA’s The Space Place for many online space explorations!

Lead children in a use of space technology through GPS and/or GIS activities. The National 4-H organization focused on incorporating these programs within state and county 4-H programs. Check out the Michigan 4-H Youth Development Science and Technology website that highlights these National 4-H programs. Cornell University Cooperative Extension also has a number of educational resources available at their 4-H Geospatial Science website. K State’s 4-H Youth Development has a number of resources on geospatial science as well. Within Michigan State University Extension, you can take advantage of the MI 4-H Foundation’s Kettunen Center, which has a GPS course and educational programs and resources designed around this technology.

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