Astro-Venture  NASA

Home Use

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

Using Astro-Venture as a Learning 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 my child is in:   How do you suggest that I use the:
     
Required Time    
How long does Astro-Venture take to teach, if I want my child to:    

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Using Astro-Venture as a learning tool

Home Schooling

If your child is educated at home, you can:

  • download the Module Lessons and do them with your child
  • have your child visit the Astro-Venture Training and Mission Modules to use the interactive multimedia modules to learn about astrobiology and NASA occupations.
  • have your child look through the Astro-Venture Career Fact Sheets to see what careers interest them.
  • have your child participate in a Web chat or Webcast with NASA experts.

Educational Supplement

If your child is using Astro-Venture for fun or to supplement other educational activities, they can:

  • visit the Astro-Venture Training and Mission Modules to use the interactive multimedia modules to learn about astrobiology and NASA occupation.
  • visit the and look through the Astro-Venture Career Fact Sheets to see what careers interest them.
  • participate in a Web chat or Webcast with NASA experts.

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Grade Level

4th Grade

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. 4th graders who are in Talented and Gifted programs may have more success with Astro-Venture. Parents of 4th grade students might have more success, if prerequisite lessons are used first, if they go through the modules with their child, or if the child is paired with an older student.

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.

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5th and 6th Grades

When using the interactive modules, it is recommended that 5th and 6th grades work in pairs or with an adult if possible. We observed during Beta testing that these students were more successful using Astro-Venture in pairs than by themselves. 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.

We also recommend that home schoolers do most or all of the prerequisite lessons prior to their use of the interactive modules. 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.

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.

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7th and 8th Grades

Students in 7th and 8th grades are successful using the Astro-Venture interactive modules alone or in pairs. 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.

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

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.

9th through 12th Grades

Although the lessons and interactive modules are designed for grades 5 through 8, parents 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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Required Time

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.

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

The Occupation Lessons are also 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.

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Occupation Lessons

The Occupation Lessons are also 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.

In addition, be sure to 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.

Parents should look at the lessons to decide which concepts students had difficulty with in the module or which concepts their child is interested in learning more about.

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