Spaced Out: A Cosmic Scene tackles these questions in a humorous and entertaining fashion while conveying insights into the study of astronomy and the physics of waves. Spaced Out: A Cosmic Scene is a website containing eight student and eight teacher multimedia streaming on-demand modules that target physics and astronomy standards for grades 8 through 10. Each student module focuses on specific key concepts: waves carry energy; waves transfer energy; size of the cosmos; measuring distances in space; scale modeling of the solar system; predictable motion of the earth and moon; stellar finger print; brief history of astronomy; and, the formation of all the elements.
By presenting content with humor and real world applications, the student modules are designed to stimulate and inculcate higher order thinking skills, innate curiosity, and inquiry-based learning. Intended to be utilized both independently by students with teacher oversight, and as a teaching-learning experience for an entire class, Spaced Out: A Cosmic Scene will entice and motivate even the most reluctant students to dig into astronomy, physics and mathematics content with enthusiasm.
The accompanying teacher modules for each episode of Spaced Out: A Cosmic Scene illustrate how the concepts may be taught; expand on the materials in the student video, pointing out subtle points that might be missed or are not brought out in the student video; provide suggestions on how to incorporate the student video into daily classroom instruction; and, make connections to mathematics applications. Another key feature of the teacher modules is the link to curriculum resources. Numerous curriculum links identify multiple web-based resources, which provide educators with further background information on the key concepts and student lessons suggestions for the classroom. Additional features of the teacher modules are the listing of key learning concepts, connections to the standards, and assessment strategies. Spaced Out: A Cosmic Scene builds on the notion that we learn science by doing science!
As one teacher who participated in the development of the project noted, "When I was a new teacher I struggled to find good, interactive resources to share with my students. This project has a wealth of information for teachers to share with their students and it includes assessments to evaluate their learning progress."