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PBS LearningMedia Resources Reinforce Science Concepts

February 19, 2016 - Posted in Education by Bette Jamison
PBS LearningMedia - NOVA

Grab your helmets and follow us into space! This week’s PBS LearningMedia resources support the on-air premiere of PBS KIDS’ newest program, “Ready, Jet, Go!” and reinforce key concepts in science.

Life Beyond the Solar System

Astrobiology presents young thinkers with intriguing questions about the universe, like, is there life beyond Earth? To date, there is no definitive proof that life does—or has ever—existed beyond Earth, but astrobiologists continue to investigate. Recent discoveries about life forms in extreme environments and about our solar system have renewed scientists' interest in looking for life elsewhere.

In this NOVA video, students learn how life develops in space, and how the Hubble Space Telescope is being used to find dense disks of dust and gas particles forming around new stars like the Sun. These gas and dust particles may one day collide and clump together to form new planets and moons in a process similar to how the planets in our solar system could have formed. The activities in the accompanying Education Collection help students explore topics related to the search for extraterrestrial life using some of the same strategies that astrobiologists use. WATCH:

How Big is the Solar System?

The moon is 385 thousand kilometers away, but distances are sometimes difficult to grasp. You could probably picture the distance between your house to the street corner, but the human brain just can’t fathom how massive things like the solar system are. So how can we envision how big the solar system truly is?

In this PBS Digital episode of “It's Okay to be Smart,” students take a trip to one of Austin, Texas’s famous moontowers to get a sense of the enormity of our solar system. With the help of a grapefruit and a lot of walking, your class develops an understanding of just how tiny everything is in the vastness of space. WATCH:

Supported by ETV, PBS LearningMedia offers teachers more than 100,000 videos, images, interactives, lesson plans and articles drawn from critically acclaimed PBS programs and from expert content contributors like The National Archives and NASA. Educators in South Carolina are invited to sign up at



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