Brief Description of the Site:
This is definitely a NASA year and there is a plethora of space sites within the NASA labyrinth of online resources. This site is particularly inviting to children with its focus on "hands on" activities. Puzzles, robots, a Star Finder, a Galactic Mobile, model Saturn decorations, - they're all available for elementary school children (and possibly younger with adult assistance). Quick Time movie clips of the Cassini Spacecraft releasing the Huygens Probe along with the probe's landing are just some of the multimedia features that animate the site and hold a child's attention. Site visitors will need Macromedia's Flash player to see the latest animations. Animated characters explain the various topics in space science in a way that children can understand. Author's books are presented through animation in Space Place Live, and there are links to art and poetry, and even recipes for out of this world "m-m-moon cookies".
How to use the site:
Home, Make, Do, Action, Facts, Share, and Index are the links to navigate this delightful site. Each link expands into many more activities, such as "Amazing Facts" that offer ways games and activities that demonstrate science concepts. The Infrared Photo Album, (requiring the use of the Flash 5 player which is free and available on the site) allows one to see how images appear as infrared radiation. You control the images that appear and choose how to view them, with or without magnification. The NanoSat Flingman is a game that is based on a "Three Little Piggy Satellites" story. Players respond to questions using a Qwerty keyboard as animation and sound play. First one reads the story with illustrations (of spacecraft) and then one plays the game using the information in the story. The game and literature link are irresistible. "Do" activities utilize easily available materials as complex concepts are presented in a child accessible manner that adults can truly appreciate. In the "Why Collide With A Comet" video clip analogies are made with common "Earth" or everyday situations that are easy to comprehend. The Frequently Asked Questions section offers more explanations as to the background of the site's creation and it is there one learns that the site also appears in Spanish translation. Children's ideas of space are presented through art submitted. A quick perusal of the web site might indicate that The Space Place is for young children. Don't be fooled by the childlike charm of this site's appearance. There's plenty of information and hands on activities that can be enjoyed by children from grades PreK - Grade 6 and children will want to return to this site often for the fun it offers.
Edited by David Wang
Student, PS 56Q