Astro-Venture  NASA

Career Use

On this page, you will find suggestions on how to use Astro-Venture for whatever logistical situation you have at your school or organization. These include information and suggestions on:

Using Astro-Venture as a Career-Guidance Tool   Module Sequence
How can I use Astro-Venture for:   What sequence do you suggest for:
     
Grade Levels   Using the Lessons
How can I use Astro-Venture, if I teach:   How do you suggest that I use the:
     
Number of Computers   Required Time
How can I use Astro-Venture, if I have:   How long does Astro-Venture take to teach, if I want my students to:

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Using Astro-Venture as a Career Guidance Tool

Teaching careers and occupations

If you teach careers to students, you can:

  • teach the Occupation Lessons and have students visit the Astro-Venture Training and Mission Modules to use the interactive multimedia modules to role-play occupations;

or

  • teach the Module Lessons, which include the Occupation Lessons, and have students visit the Astro-Venture Training and Mission Modules to use the interactive multimedia modules to role-play occupations.

Advising students on careers and occupations

If you advise students on careers, you can:

  • refer them to Astro-Venture and give them the URL.
  • download and print out the Astro-Venture Career Fact Sheets that are on Astro-Venture for students to review.

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Grade Level

4th Grade

Occupation Lessons and Astro-Venture Career Fact Sheets are recommended for all students, as it is important for students to become aware of science, math and technology occupations early enough to take relevant classes in middle school and high school.

The Astro-Venture interactive modules were tested with 4th graders, but it was observed that 4th graders had difficulty using it on their own. Typically, their attention span was too short to complete an entire module. Fourth graders who are in Talented and Gifted programs may have more success with Astro-Venture. Teachers of 4th grade students might have more success if:

  • prerequisite lessons are used first;
  • they walk their students through the module; or
  • they pair younger students with older students.

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5th and 6th Grades

Occupation Lessons and Astro-Venture Career Fact Sheets are recommended for all students, as it is important for students to become aware of science, math and technology occupations early enough to take relevant classes in middle school and high school.

When using the interactive modules, it is highly recommended that in the 5th and 6th grades students work in pairs, as we observed during Beta testing that they were more successful using Astro-Venture in pairs than by themselves. (Astro-Venture has not yet been tested for use with small groups.) We frequently observed that when students were in pairs they would talk to each other about what they were observing and explain why things were happening that way. When students discuss and explain their learning, this results in higher retention and overall better learning. Of course, how students are paired will also have an effect on the quality of this discussion.

We also recommend that teachers use most or all of the prerequisite lessons with 5th and 6th graders prior to their use of the interactive modules. Beta testing was conducted without these lessons, and more than 80 percent improved on the posttest. Thus, learning does take place even without these lessons. However, students will have a much better understanding of the "whys" behind their observations if they have the prerequisite knowledge and vocabulary before using the modules.

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7th and 8th Grades

Occupation Lessons and Astro-Venture Career Fact Sheets are recommended for all students, as it is important for students to become aware of science, math and technology occupations early enough to take relevant classes in middle school and high school.

Students in 7th and 8th grades are successful using the Astro-Venture interactive modules alone or in pairs. (Astro-Venture has not yet been tested for use with small groups.) We frequently observed that when students were in pairs they would talk to each other about what they were observing and explain why things were happening that way. When students discuss and explain their learning, this results in higher retention and overall better learning. Of course, how students are paired will also have an effect on the quality of this discussion.

7th and 8th grade teachers will likely find that they do not need to use very many of the prerequisite lessons. Teachers should look at the lessons to assess what prerequisite knowledge their students need and decide which lessons to use with them. The vocabulary lessons, Occupation Lessons and Mission Lessons are highly recommended for these grade levels.

9th through 12th Grades

Although the lessons and interactive modules are designed for grades 5 through 8, career guidance counselors may find the Occupation Lessons and Astro-Venture Career Fact Sheets to be relevant and helpful for high school students, too.

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Number of Computers

Only one computer

If you are using Astro-Venture on only one computer, you can:

  • walk the class through the modules together if you have the capability of projecting from your computer to a screen or on a TV. A lesson accompanies each module to help teachers with this kind of a walk-through.
  • divide students into small groups of four and have them take turns using the computer. (You may want to set up other learning stations for other groups to use and rotate through each day.)

A few computers

If you have two to ten computers in the class, you can:

  • divide students into small groups of four and have them take turns using the computer. (You may want to set up other learning stations for other groups to use and rotate through each day.)
  • have students work in pairs and have them take turns using the computer.

A computer lab

If you have access to a computer lab with 15 to 35 computers, you can:

  • have students work in pairs and have them take turns using the computer;
  • have students work individually on their own computers.

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Required Time

Occupations lessons only

Estimate about six to eight 45 to 50-minute class periods to complete the Occupation Lessons

Interactive modules only

  • Grades 4 and 5 took an average of 50 minutes per module.
  • Grades 6, 7 and 8 took an average of 30 minutes per module.

Interactive Modules and Module Lessons

  • If you do most or all of the Module Lessons (recommended for grades 4, 5 and 6), you should estimate six weeks per module, where 45 to 50 minutes is used each day.
  • If you do only a few of the Module Lessons (recommended for grades 7 and 8), you should estimate two weeks per module, where 45 to 50 minutes is used each day.

A Web chat or Webcast

  • A Web chat or Webcast alone takes 30 to 50 minutes.
  • A Web chat or Webcast used with a lesson that includes preparation and follow-up activities takes two to three 45-minute class periods.

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Module Sequence

Training and mission modules

Each research area contains two modules: training and mission. Students must complete the training module before embarking on their mission, as the training modules tell them what they will be looking for in the missions. Students are given a password at the end of the training modules that allow them into their missions.

Using only one research area

The research areas are designed to stand alone so that students can complete only one research area (i.e. astronomy, geology, atmospheric sciences or biology) if the teacher or parent only wants to emphasize that area. If you choose to do this, please make sure that students understand that they are only learning about a portion of the requirements necessary for a planet to be habitable to humans. The features learned in one research area are not sufficient for habitability.

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Using two or more research areas

If you want to use two or more research areas, no particular sequence is necessary except that each training module must be completed before the related mission, and the Build a Planet module cannot be done until all of the other research areas are completed.

The suggested sequence:

1. Astronomy
2. Geology
3. Atmospheric Sciences
4. Biology
5. Build a Planet

Using Build a Planet

Build a Planet is an assessment of students' learning of all four research areas. Therefore, it should not be completed until students have completed all four research areas.

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Using the Lessons

Prerequisite Lessons

These lessons accompany each of the Training Modules so that you can teach students any prerequisite concepts they may lack. Beta testing was conducted without these lessons, and more than 80 percent improved on the posttest. Therefore, learning does take place even without these lessons. However, students will have a much better understanding of the "whys" behind their observations, if they have the prerequisite knowledge and vocabulary before using the modules.

Teachers should read through the prerequisite lessons and decide which concepts their students need. The vocabulary lessons are highly recommended.

The Occupation Lessons and Astro-Venture Career Fact Sheets are also highly recommended, as it is important for students to become aware of science, math and technology occupations early enough to take relevant classes in middle school and high school.

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Occupation Lessons

The Occupation Lessons are highly recommended, as one of the main goals of Astro-Venture is to increase student interest and awareness of science, math and technology occupations that our youth are not pursuing and for which there is a growing demand. We have integrated occupations into the teaching of science content, as we realize that most teachers do not have time to teach a unit just on careers.

Be sure to visit the Career Guidance Use section to learn more about the Occupation Lessons and access the Astro-Venture Career Fact Sheets.

Extension Lessons

These lessons accompany each of the Mission Modules so that you can extend their learning or, in some cases, to review some concepts with which some students may have had difficulty within the module.

Teachers should look at the lessons to decide which concepts students had difficulty with in the module or which concepts they would like to emphasize for students.

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