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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Go On an Alien Safari and Plan an Interstellar Trip

Last summer I wrote about NASA's Planet Quest website. At the time I was focused on the interactive timeline of space exploration that they were featuring. This evening I took another look at the site and tried out a couple of the other interactive features that are now available on Planet Quest.

Alien Safari is a small interactive map that students can click on to discover the homes of the "most extreme" organisms on our planet. Students will discover organisms that live at the coldest temperatures, hottest temperatures, deepest depths, and highest elevations. There is a short audio lesson about each of the organisms.

The Interstellar Trip Planner is a simple interactive module in which students learn how long it would take to arrive at destination inside and outside of our solar system. Students can choose to travel by plane, car, or rocket.

Applications for Education
I mentioned just a few of the excellent resources that Planet Quest offers to teachers and students. Visit the educators' page on Planet Quest for a full list of activities.

One thing that you could do to extend the Interstellar Trip Planner activity is ask students to choose other destinations to travel to in the solar system. Then have them calculate on their own how long it would take to reach those destinations by plane, train, or automobile.

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