If you are a STEM teacher, or if you have STEM kids, you no doubt get a lot of questions about space. Astronomy is always a big hit with students, regardless of age level. Teachers and parents may not be well versed in space even if they have a STEM degree, so one way adults can help educate kids about the cosmos is to be a sponge and absorb some content.
No, not like this sponge, but you get it. I know as a teacher we are already spending a lot of time both consuming and creating content for our classrooms, but I have also found that by capitalizing on something my kids love, I get a lot more participation. So if you know your kids love space (and we all know they are eaten up with it), you don't need to get your degree in aerospace in order to create a mini ISS in your classroom. You can start by joining organizations (which I addressed in a previous blog which you can check out here: (https://www.aerospacehigh.org/post/top-5-aerospace-stem-teacher-organizations-to-join-today . But you can also listen while you learn. That's where podcasts come in--not just for you but for use with your students.
Podcasts can be used by the episode or the series. I personally listen to several podcasts throughout the week much to the annoyance of my children or those around me; however, not only does it help me understand an overall topic a little more, but consuming podcast content also helps me think more deeply about how and what I want my students to think related to a particular unit I may be developing. Once you find a podcast you like yourself, you will be able to curate episodes to share with your students. One caveat here: always preview your content. Podcasts, unless marketed for kids, often have more adult language or themes, so you may want to edit in advance if need be. Podcasts can be accessed from several platforms, but two of the most common are Apple and Spotify.
So, back to space.
When using the subject of space in your classroom, consider these podcasts in no particular order:
Space Nuts : This podcast touts itself as: "All things Space" including episodes on space news, travel, discoveries, the mysteries and more hosted by Astronomer Dr. Fred Watson with Broadcaster/Journalist Andrew Dunkley. If you want to discuss the recent missions of Branson and Bezos, consider episode the episode titled "The Race is On" from July 8th, 2021 .https://open.spotify.com/show/3zSV4WU2cA7iPHGfRkuuHO?si=TLOwnYyXSw6xFg-INaCaRQ&dl_branch=1
2. BBC Space: You can access even more info on this documentary site by visiting the BBC webpage, but this collection includes broadcasts from all around the world related to space. If your kids are excited about Wally Funk and the fact that she is FINALLY getting to go to space, check out this episode: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-first-woman-on-the-moon/id1067344634?i=1000395035418
3. Girl in Space: A bi-monthly fan-fictional account of a girl's exploits in space! The site describes it this way: "just the simple audio diary of a girl in space. Also, there’s this weird and potentially ominous light in the distance that seems to be growing steadily closer. Listen bimonthly for science, guns, trust, anti-matter, truth, beauty, inner turmoil, and delicious cheeses. It’s all here. In space." https://open.spotify.com/show/7aw56mHbTweAWl3KbrxauP?si=5YnRcnquRLmB4HMjDG4Oig&dl_branch=1
4. Ask a Spaceman! Ever had burning space questions you needed answered? This is the podcast for that! For example, consider their advertisement: "What would happen if you fell into a black hole? How big is the universe? Just what the heck is a quasar, anyway?
You've got questions, and astrophysicist Paul Sutter has the answers! Submit questions via Twitter using #AskASpaceman or post to facebook.com/PaulMattSutter. Every week you will come closer to COMPLETE KNOWLEDGE OF TIME AND SPACE! We like the episode 155 on Space Junk from this past July, for instance, but there are so many more! https://open.spotify.com/show/2DSTVJRY3d77rnAN5q35eF?si=36PwQ_ZlSce8VoDQJXs7Ow&dl_branch=1
5. Planetary Radio: From our friends at The Planetary Society, this website "brings you the human adventure across our solar system and beyond weekly. Listen to scientists, engineers, leaders, advocates and astronauts who are taking us across the final frontier. Regular features raise your space IQ while they put a smile on your face. Join host Mat Kaplan and Planetary Society colleagues including Bill Nye the Science Guy, Bruce Betts, and Emily Lakdawalla as they dive deep into the latest space news. The monthly Space Policy Edition takes you inside the DC beltway where the future of the US space program hangs in the balance. In fact, their policy episode from June 4th 2021 discusses NASA's budget for space! https://open.spotify.com/show/73TygG2cEGJPWbOGPB2CZ0?si=IDpaEQPJRIqy97_ltqr_Fw&dl_branch=1
BONUS: Let's Go to Space: BLUESKY Learning". Ok, ok --We here are pretty partial to CubeSats here, and this is our podcast, so OBVS we have to recommend it! Designed for aerospace enthusiasts and parents/students who love the unique space opportunities the Aerospace and Innovation Academy provides as part of their after school program, this podcast includes interviews from aerospace professionals in relation to CubeSats, engineers, and students who have both built cubeSats and even advocated on behalf of space policy! https://open.spotify.com/show/5Lhq6jnc3joxEwILHldQ8z?si=68IbVW6OSnOuiM9d9FRbow&dl_branch=1
And an additional CUBESAT bonus episode recommendation: from 50 Things That Made Modern Economy https://open.spotify.com/episode/20AKNOkD9mp5XjghVNAT0K?si=NNnfQ5u2QtqSXYpelO0wAQ&dl_branch=1 which gives a great background on what CubeSats are and why they are so important!
So go and consume that content, and before you know it, you will be creating out of this world lessons for your little astronauts and engineers of the future!