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A TEACHER'S GUIDE TO PLASMA SCIENCE RESOURCES

Introduction | Basic Information | Plasmas in Nature | 
Man-Made Plasmas | Resources for Students | 
Resources for Teachers | Plasma Outreach Near You 

RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS (lesson plans and demonstrations)

ABC's of Nuclear Science: This site explains an excellent nuclear wall chart. It provides details of the nucleus and nuclear changes/reactions, definitions & diagrams. There is a page on how to build a cosmic ray detector.Produced by the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory Nuclear Science Division.

Activities to Explore - Stanford Solar Center: Part of the Stanford Solar Center site. Provides hands-on activities and lesson plans for students, showing how to conduct actual observations by building spectroscopes and other instruments.

American Physical Society: Education and Outreach: This site has many wonderful facets. It contains a great timeline called "A Century of Physics," with plasma citations. It lists multiple teacher workshops, student workshops, links to other sites, scholarship and intern opportunities, and as well as career information.

ASPIRE: Excellent site with lots of interactive lessons, created by teachers for teachers. While there is no specific mention of plasma, there are related topics, including wave basics and star life cycle.

Best Education Sites: This site targets a variety of fundamental Astronomy and Space education websites, some of which are specifically evaluated in this CPS guide. The linked sites vary in quality and quantity of information from being strictly bulleted information bites with photos to very expansive sources of information, interactive activities, tools and sources. The links are mostly excellent and up to date, though the original project began in 2011.

CINDI - Coupled Ion Neutral Dynamics Investigation (at UT Dallas): You need to click on the education bar to get to the education section. On this site you will find a collection of teaching and education resources for grades 6-9 about the CINDI project, the Earth's atmosphere, space weather, the scale in the Earth-Moon system, satellites and rockets and more.

Department of Energy - For Educators: Excellent resource for energy education. However, "plasma" is not included. A search resulted in one mention of plasma in an article.

Discovering the Sun: A great inquiry activity for middle/high school students that primes students to discover plasma and other aspects of the sun as they work in teams on "a mission." Part of a broader site, The Lesson Plans Page, which provides over 3500 lessons plans for K-College. Many of the activities could be somewhat relevant to understanding plasma physics.

Discovery Education School Resources: Three lesson plans are offered. Each teaches plasma related topics through inquiry. Two relate to space/physical science and one relates to magnetism. Students investigate the suns energy and nuclear reactions (9-12); Students debate the exploration and exploitation of the solar system within reach (6-8); Students produce detailed scientific explanations for magnetism and its use (9-12).

Down-to-Earth Science: This outreach page of the Space Telescope Science Institute site is a gateway into educational activities for students, teachers and the general public. Go to "Amazing Space" for K-12 lesson plans, including black holes, stars, etc. Detailed plans and activities are available, evaluated against national science standards. Instead of using the word "plasma" the site refers to "ionized particles" or simply "gases." The site is most noteworthy for it's breathtaking images of space plasmas from the Hubble telescope.

European Space Agency – Space for Educators: The purpose of this site it to "inform the public about the latest advances and discoveries in the space field, and to develop programs that will inspire young people to pursue careers in science and technology." A number of research pdf documents related to plasma fusion are available. The site is a great resource for information, but does not provide classroom activities that would be useful for most classroom teachers unless they have some very high-level students interested in international opportunities. There is a link to ESA Kids, which does provide news and lab activities.

Fermilab Education Office: Excellent; many links, lessons, major nuclear topics, projects, pages for student and teacher.

FusEdWeb: Fusion Energy Education: Provides many links to informative sites including the CPEP Online Fusion Course, student/teacher resources, very few classroom activities, and other fusion plasma sites. Also includes the plasma dictionary, which allows users to submit new terms, search for specific terms or browse alphabetic listings. Most suitable for high school/college.

Genesis: Search for Origins: This site provides a cluster of K-12 science modules for teachers, using Genesis Mission as a real world link to capture student interest. Some modules are plasma-related. A NASA site.

IMAGE Science Center P.O.E.T.R.Y web site: Hands-on lessons for students and teachers, sorted by content, grade level, and web-based. The activities highlight the plasma in nature and show science as a human endeavor.

Intel Education: Help Wanted: Physicist! A unit designed for high school (11-12) students to study current topics of physics research, including plasma physics, and consider potential social and economic implications. The unit is multidisciplinary and provides clear instructional procedures, differentiated instruction, and assessment processes.

Khan Academy: Numerous, excellent utube teaching videos in lecture format with explanations mostly in terms of math & chemistry. There is only one brief reference to plasma. It is found in “States of Matter Follow-up” (in the Chemistry section).

MIT Haystack Observatory Lesson Plans: A list of space-oriented lesson plans for teachers. The sidebar can direct you to Research Experiences for Teachers, Pre-College resources and Public Outreach Activities.

MIT Open Course Ware – high school, Highlights for High School: Includes introductory MIT courses best for high school students, video demonstrations to help teachers explain concepts and students understand them, helps for studying for Physics exams.

NASA Education: The NASA Education page is a gateway to all their educational websites. You'll also find News, Learning Resources, Internet Resources, Multimedia Resources, Contacts for Educators, Professional Development and Student Opportunities. It's a great site to explore.

NASA Internet Resources for Educators: Provides major links to NASA internet sources for educators.

NASA Spacelink: A good site to go to when looking for a wealth of multimedia resources from on-line slide shows to videotapes and software.

Newton's Apple - Aurora Borealis: This Teacher's Guide, designed to support a segment on auroras from the PBS series "Newton's Apple," provides a good basic description, along with one classroom experiment, a glossary, resources, and a link to the video.

Open Ed: This award-winning site provides multi-level, multi-media resources keyed to national standards (NGSS): video, games, lesson plans, homework and assessments.

Plasma 101 - Daily Lesson Plan: A pen and paper activity from the New York Times Learning Network requiring research skills and critical thinking. Students elicit information about the definition of plasma from selected examples then create "How It Works" posters about particular forms of plasma, and reflect on the importance of funding for plasma research.

Plasma Sphere: This site contains everything you wanted to know about plasma spheres from constructing your own to purchasing one already made. Includes experiments and other activities useful for classroom demonstrations.

Plasma Wars: From the sidebar on this site, teachers can download teaching modules for themselves and activities for their students (under Plasma Wars). In the module Cosmic Chemistry: Planetary Diversity, students investigate planetary diversity in the shape, size, and strength of the planetary magnetospheres, and in the types and sources of the high-energy charged particles that occupy them.

Science of NFL Football: NBC has created a series of engaging videos that use the game of football to science lessons on everyting from the Pythagorean Theorem to Newton’s First Law of Motion.

Solar Maximum Resources for Educators: Live data, exciting graphics and interesting lesson plans should be helpful to teachers interested in teaching students about the solar/sunspot cycle and solar maximum. Also provides lists of sites that provide the latest data and educational images. Part of the larger Mission to Geospace Site.

Space Science Education Resource Directory (NASA): A convenient way to find NASA space science products for use in the classroom. There are hundreds of resources here, searchable by grade and topic.

Space Weather Center Classroom Resources: Curriculum materials for 4-8 grades; offers teacher workshops.

Stanford Solar Center: This site is a collection of multi-disciplinary, interactive exercises and activities based on the Sun and solar science, most geared to grades 4-12. Most of these have been aligned to science standards and approved by the NASA Product Review process. From the home page you can find your way to exercises for both students and teachers.

Sun-Centered Physics: Teacher Linda Knisely's page provides lesson plans (Grades 11-12) on four sun-centered topics, including the electromagnetic spectrum. She provides focused links to specific NASA websites. Excellent higher-level detail. Explains many of the physical phenomena that occur on the Earth as a direct result of the Sun-Earth interaction.

Teacher Link – NASA Regional Educator Resource Center: This excellent site, provided by Utah State University College of Education, provides a multitude of resources, including educator curriculum guides, print resources, online resources, NASA videos and multimedia, and daily blogs providing the most current links to apps and other resources.

The Exploration of the Earth's Magnetosphere: The materials are directed toward the high school level. However, the information and explanations are a wonderful resource for a teacher at any level. There are no activity plans for teaching students.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research & the UCAR Office of Programs: NCAR's student & teacher friendly site with topics of Astronomy and the Universe Physics about atoms, particles, plasma, Sun, etc. Levels: Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced Lessons/activities.

Van de Graaf Electrostatic Generator Page: This site provides everything you will need to purchase or construct and operate a Van de Graaf Electrostatic Generator, as well as links to other related sites.

University of Virginia Physical Science SOL (Standards of Learning) Activities: Teachers are provided with a host of physical science activities for their classrooms under Alphabetical List of Activities, including Heat of Fusion, Investigating Magnetic Fields, Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Fusion, Nuclear Reactions, and more plasma-related science.

 

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