The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 DVD-ROM

A Collection of Activities and Resources for Teaching Astronomy (on a DVD-ROM)

Featured in the ASP's April 2017 edition of Universe in the Classroom


Edited by Andrew Fraknoi
Published by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

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This DVD-ROM is the most comprehensive resource and activity guide for teaching basic concepts and activities in space science ever published. It includes:

  • 133 field-tested hands-on activities, from programs and projects around the US,
  • 17 topical guides to to the best sources of information in print and on the web,
  • 52 background articles on astronomy and education,
  • 12 short videos with instructions for doing some of the most often-used activities, and
  • 10 recommended sequences of activities to help students learn some of the topics most often found in the K-12 curriculum.

Here are just a few of the interesting activities included on the disk:

  • Exploring the Phases of the Moon (with Everyday Materials)
  • Modeling the Expanding Universe
  • Picking the Top Tourist Sights in the Solar System
  • Sensing the Invisible: Waves our Eyes Can't See but Simple Experiments Can Reveal
  • Counting to a Billion
  • Mars Opposition Dance: Using Movement to Teach about Orbits
  • Fun with the Sun
  • Transit Tracks: How we Find Planets around Other Stars
  • Make a Model Comet in Your Own Classroom
  • The Toilet-paper Solar System Model
  • Should Pluto be Considered a Planet?
  • Bike Years Versus Light Years
  • Black Hole Math

The disk is, in a sense, the "greatest hits" of astronomy education, designed to help teachers, curriculum specialists, museum educators, and astronomers who work with them find the most effective way of teaching about our understanding of the universe.

The activities, which range from brief (less than 15-minute) discussions to sequences that extend over several hours, cover a host of topics that are the staple of national and state science frameworks and standards. Each activity comes with full instructions, student (or audience) handouts, and connections to key ideas on science learning and teaching. Many can be used in informal settings as well as in the classroom.

Themes and topics include:

  • The Moon and Its Phases
  • The Sun in the Sky and the Seasons
  • The Planets and Moons in our Solar System
  • The Scale of the Solar System
  • Comets, Asteroids, and Meteors
  • Star Finding and Constellations
  • The Sun and the Stars
  • Galaxies and the Universe
  • Space Exploration and the Search for Life
  • Tools of the Astronomer (Telescopes and Light)
  • Examining Pseudo-science and Skeptical Thinking
  • Astronomy in Different Cultures
  • Across the Curriculum: Astronomy and Other Subjects

The print version of this notebook has been used by thousands of schools, colleges, planetariums, museums, youth groups, park rangers and astronomy volunteers around the world. This updated, greatly expanded -- and much easier to carry -- disk is expected to become an even more important national resource for those who teach (or work with teachers of) astronomy.

Click here for the full table of contents (pdf file)