Monday, April 30, 2012

Worth Ave Group - affordable insurance for electronic devices


Worth Ave. Group is a company that provides affordable insurance to help individuals, students and schools protect their portable electronics. With the rising number of tablets, e-readers, and laptops in schools, protecting your investment is very important. They work with schools already, including many that have one-to-one laptop programs, to protect these devices and have over 40 years of experience.

Visit their site to learn more about protecting your schools' (or your own) investment in electronic devices. 

Disclosure: Worth Ave. Group is a paid advertiser on this site. 

Google in Education - one stop shopping for Google Education resources

Google launched Google in Education at the start of 2012 as a one-stop-shopping location for all things Google Education related. It's recently been updated with even more resources.

Google in Education has all of Google's great resources for education organized by Teacher, Student, and Organizations. The teacher page has Classroom Tools, Professional Development, and Student resources.

The Classroom Tools include Google Apps in Education, educator guides and lesson ideas, and classroom videos.

There are some great resources on here. If you use Google's tools, you should check this site out.


Google's Resources for Educators

Why I Use Google's Products as an Educator.

Little Shop of Physics - great program and resources for education

Little Shop of Physics is a great resource on Physics. It's an outreach program from Colorado State University that won a Google RISE Award. The program teams is a group of science educators and science students based at Colorado State University that help students do science in creative ways.

The site has some great links, experiment and activity ideas and more, including some webinars.

It's great for any science teacher to get some great, creative ideas for teaching science.


Great Physics Resources for Students and Educators

Google RISE Awards - awards to organizations working with K-12+ students in STEM

Google  Google RISE Awards

The Google RISE (Roots in Science and Engineering) Awards 2012 are here. The Google RISE awards promote and support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and CS (Computer Science) education initiatives by awarding grants to organizations working with K-12 and Higher Ed students to provide enrichment programs in STEM and CS.

Awards range from $10,000 - $25,000 in the US and Canada and 500-10,000 EUR in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Ideal K-12 & university STEM programs and projects should:

  • Inspire excitement in STEM and CS
  • Improve, advance and enrich students' STEM and/or CS education
  • Include hands-on learning activities in STEM and/or CS education

Program Guidelines

  • Google RISE Awards are specific to STEM and CS educational and outreach programs
  • Applications are encouraged from organizations and educational institutions regardless of the socio-economic status of the students they serve
  • Please note that the RISE team is not able to provide one on one consultations during the review process (both prior to applying and after applications have been submitted) to ensure no bias is given to specific organizations
  • We will be asking for feedback and updates from the successful awardees to help us shape and develop the RISE Awards for future years

Here are the award recipients for 2012:
These are some great groups and programs. Check them out and see if they can help your students.

This is a great opportunity for groups that help students in STEM and CS topics to get additional funding to continue their work.

Share this with others and with any organizations that may be eligible to enter.  Interested groups can sign up to be notified of the 2013 awards here:

NBC Learn - free educational resources from NBC

NBC Learn

NBC Learn is a site from NBC News that contains news stories, images, primary source documents, and lesson materials for teachers, students and parents.

There are current events, the science of, and much more.

Some of the resources are fee-based, some are free. The current events are free and there is a page of Free Resources that includes the Science of Football and Hockey, Chemistry, Changing Planet, Science of Olympics and a section on the Titanic.

These are some great resources for teachers to use with their students.

WeTxt - free group text messaging


WeTxt is a free, group text messaging service that allows you to send free group text messages from your phone or from the web. It also includes free reply-to-all messages, 2-way text messaging between cell, email, and the web, a mobile calendar with text reminders and text message only games.

This could be very useful for teachers and schools to send messages to students and parents and improve communication, especially for people without smartphones.


ClassPager - send students quizzes and reminders
ClassParrot - easy, safte text messaging for educators

Celly - free, Instant Group Texting and Polls

Viscosity Explorer - simple virtual lab on viscosity

Viscosity Explorer is a simple site that allows you to explore the concept of viscosity. It consists of two containers and two steel balls. You select the liquid you want in the container, then drop the ball and observe what happens. You can also change the temperature of the liquid. Students can easily compare the viscosity of two different substances side by side.

It's a great site for science classes, and much faster, cheaper, and less messy than doing this for real. I would, however, want to at least demo the real liquids and pour them from container to container to show how the flow of the fluids is different based on the viscosity.


PhET - excellent, free, virtual labs and simulations for science

Advice to New College Graduates about to enter the Teaching profession

Welcome to the hardest job you'll ever love!

As I think about the fact that most colleges will be holding graduation in the next few weeks, I thought about all those new graduates that will be joining the education profession next year and thought I'd share some advice and resources for them. I'll be speaking to some from a few different area programs and I hope you will share these with new graduates that you know. I also figured this would be a good time because many seniors are still doing student teaching now. 

  • Your best resource as a new teacher is yourself. Use what you learned in school. Seek out more information from colleagues and the Internet. Use your creativity. Remember what it was like to be a student yourself.
  • Ask for help. Don't be afraid to ask other teachers for help. Do not isolate yourself in your classroom. Make connections with other teachers, whether it is in person, by email, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Ning, web sites, or blogs. Create a Personal Learning Network of people and resources that can help you.
  • Don't reinvent the wheel. Use the resources that are available to you. Most textbooks come with instructor resource CD-ROMs and companion web sites. Use the resources that they have and then modify them as needed. Search the Internet for lesson plan ideas, activities, classroom management tips, and other tips and tricks. Check out Discovery Education's free resources. Use some of the great free resources that are available out there.  As and example, as a Physics teacher, I use PhysicsClassroom and PhET (online virtual labs) quite often with my classes. They are both excellent, and free. 
  • Stay organized. You need to stay organized. Make sure you have a lesson plan guide and calendar of some sort. You can use a paper based planner and lesson planner or use an electronic or web-based system. Smartphones are great for staying organized, accessing your files and apps at anytime, and being very productive. You can also use online resources like GoogleEvernote and others to keep your files, calendar, tasks, and lesson plans organized.
  • Write things down and make sure you have your classroom materials organized and labeled.
  • Take advantage of professional development opportunities. Your district and school will run professional development sessions, but don't limit yourself to those. Look for free online sessions, webcasts, conferences, and sessions run by your local educational resource agency. Create your own, on-demand professional development using Twitter. 
  • Join a professional society in your area. As a physics teacher, I have joined the National Science Teacher's Association (NSTA) and the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). Find out what organizations are in your area and join them. You will find resources and contacts through these organizations.
  • Read journals. Subscribe to and read educational journals. Most are free, so you don't have to worry about the money. There are journals on general education, educational technology, pedagogy, assessment, and just about every other area of education. Here is a great, free journal: Tech and Learning Magazine - great magazine with educational and technology information and resources. Free subscription for teachers.
  • Be creative with your lessons. Think outside the box. Come up with new, fun ways to teach the students. Use projects and project-based-learning as a way to engage and teach your students. You can find a huge number of resources and ideas for projects on the web. Don't allow the textbook or curriculum to limit how your students learn. Make sure you address the needs of all of your students (Differentiation).
  • Make connections with the secretaries and custodians in your building. They will be some of your best resources for supplies, ideas, and help.
  • Make connections with local businesses, especially those that are related to your subject area. They can be a huge resource for guests, supplies and equipment, and funding. Many local businesses, such as Staples, have Teacher Appreciation Days with discounts and free gifts. Find out about these. Remind businesses that instead of throwing out things, they can donate usable items to your school as a tax write-off.
  • Get to know the publisher's representative for your class's textbook. They can get you a lot of resources.
  • Be flexible. Remember Murphy's law. Have plans for when your lessons run short or long, to deal with interruptions and fire drills, assemblies, and days when much of your class is absent because of a field trip. Here are some good ideas for backup plans.
  • Know your local and State curriculum. Know what is expected of you. Know what is expected of the students.
  • Track your personal expenses and save receipts. There is a tax deduction for educators.
  • Keep up on your certification requirements.
  • Spend this summer relaxing and getting ready for your new career. Once you get hired by a school, get a copy of the curriculum and review it over the summer. Think about the kind of teacher you want to be. Get yourself organized. 
  • If you are still looking for a job, don't worry. Teachers retire, move to different school systems. There will be openings. If you can't find a job by August, keep trying. Sign up to be a substitute teacher in the towns nearby. That is a foot-in-the-door for a permanent job when one opens. Don't despair, you will find a job. 
  • Ask for help, and look for help. Again, don't be afraid to ask for help.

Good luck and welcome to the profession!

New Teacher Advice - some good advice for new teachers (and old ones too!)

Discovery Education New Teacher Survival Central - a great resource for all teachers (and free).

List of Discovery Education Resources for Educators - very good, inclusive list of Discovery Educations resources.

131 Tips for New Teachers

Tinkercad - web based, free CAD app


Tinkercad is a free, web based, CAD app that runs in your browser (need webGL enabled). It's easy to use and has some great features. Many CAD systems that engineers use are very complicated with thousands of features (I've used CATIA, ProEngineer, AutoCad, Cadkey) that students won't need.

Tinkercad allows you to create 3D models of pretty much anything, and even export them to 3D printers. The site has a getting started page that walks you through how to use it.

There is also a community of users for support and help.

This is a great resource for students and teachers to use in STEM Classes, or any class for that matter, to draw 3D models.

Tinkercad editor


Google Sells SketchUp 3D modeling software - promises free educational version to continue
SketchUp for Education Site

Google Resources for Education

STEM Resources for Students and Educators

LibreCAD - free, 2D CAD Software for Windows, OSX, and Linux

Free Academic Program (incl CAD software) from PTC

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chart of the Day: The REAL Pell Grant Issue

Thanks to Nate Johnson for a fantastic new chart that clearly illustrates who's to blame for the incredible growth in Pell Grant expenditures: private for-profit higher education. Switch the settings from "all institutions" to "for profits" and watch the red line (for-profits) pull dramatically away from the grey (national average).  Now Nate, please do this for federal student loans!

Most Read Posts on Ed Tech Guy for Past Week

Spring is really here, again, in Connecticut. It got rainy and cold earlier this week, but this weekend is a beauty. We are off to a friend's wedding today, so it should be a fun, happy day. Enjoy your weekend.

Here are the most read posts from the past week: And don't forget to check the posts on Friday's.They don't always have time to become the most read, but there are usually some good ones there.

(Here's a couple of good ones from yesterday: End of the School Year Approaches - lesson ideas and reflections and Google Sells SketchUp 3D modeling software - promises free educational version to continue and Zoho Planner - plan, organize, share, and get things done.

1. Google Drive is here! Really! No, I mean it. Free online storage.

2. Evernote tip - Create a table of contents with note links

4. Great resource for using iPads in the classroom

5. CX - file sync, share and backup service with 10GB free account

6. Free Google Docs CheatSheet - great resource for Google Docs users

7. The Noteboard - $10 Foldable Pocket Whiteboard

8. edWeb - social network for educators - great resource

9. Weebly for Education - create a free class website and blog

10. CIA World Factbook - excellent resource about countries of the world

Don't forget to check out the permanent pages at the top of the site too!

I am also available to speak at your school or conference and to facilitate professional development sessions.  I will work with you and your staff to tailor a training plan that works for you.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Learning Resources announces the sponsorship of a teacher grant hosted by WeAreTeachers

Learning Resources Logo  

Learning Resources announces the sponsorship of a teacher grant hosted by WeAreTeachers. To apply, teachers must answer this question: “How would you use portable interactive technology to create collaborative lessons?” After the application process concludes, educators can invite colleagues to vote for their favorite lesson ideas. Each of the three top vote getters will win a set of three now!Boards and three GeoSafari Tuff Cams, a prize package valued at $2,000. Additionally, two merit-based winners selected by a panel of teachers will each win one now!Board and one GeoSafari Tuff Cam, a total value of $700. Teachers can apply for the grant online through May 22, 2012.

Why limit your classroom to one room and one teacher? Instead, with the advent of new portable interactive technology like the now!Board™, teachers can more easily see the world as their classroom. We want you to start imagining the educational possibilities that come with having access to a portable interactive device that enables you to turn any flat surface into an interactive whiteboard. Imagine how you could step outside traditional lesson boundaries to explore new methods to create a flexible, collaborative and creative learning environment for your students. 
What are your ideas for:
  • Collaborating with other teachers — both inside and outside of your school — to teach interactive lessons?
  • Moving your students and your technology outside the four walls of your classroom for new and innovative learning opportunities?
  • Dreaming up new instructional methods that are only possible with the use of mobile interactive technology.

For more information and to apply for the grant, visit


We Are Teachers - great resource for educators

now!Board - portable interactive whiteboard technology

Winners announced in "Who is Best Teacher in America" Contest

Worth Ave. Group is a company that provides affordable insurance to help individuals, students and schools protect their portable electronics.They hosted a contest for teachers to win money and prizes and the winners have been announced. Check below to see who won.


Technology in Education Grant Giveaway - win some great tech and money

Zoho Planner - plan, organize, share, and get things done

Zoho Planner- Trademark

Zoho Planner is part of Zoho's suite of productivity tools (read more about them here). With Zoho Planner you can create to-do lists, notes, upload images and files add email reminders and access your data anywhere. You can create To Dos, Appointments (calendar), and Reminders and set reminders for each one (will email you).

You can create a page where you can create your to dos, appointments, notes, and files and make the page available to others. You also have a section for pages that were shared with you, your To Do list and Appointments, attached files and even tag your page.

You can share and collaborate on notes and tasks lists in Zoho planner too.

It's similar in function to Evernote and Google's applications and is a good alternative to them if you are looking for something different.

Students can also use it to get organized.


Zoho - suite of on-line business, productivity & collaboration apps

Alternatives to Google's web services and apps

Google for Educators Resources

Evernote for Educators Resources

STEM Connector - one stop shop for STEM resources and information

STEMconnector - The One Stop Shop for STEM Education

STEM Connector is a website that has a huge amount of resources, information, links and news about STEM in education. There are STEM organizations (national, state, local) listed by subject, area, groups, programs, and much more.

It's a great site to go to for STEM resources, news, ideas and more. You can search the different STEM organizations to find more resources, student projects, and more. There is also STEM daily news and a blog with more information and resources.


STEM Resources for Educators and Students

Tested by Jamie and Adam - science, technology, engineering, nature news and topics


Jamie and Adam TESTED is a site from Mythbusters Jaime and Adam. The site explores new breakthroughs and topics in science and engineering, exploration, nature, emerging technologies and new products. They explore these topics in depth, including the hows and whys about them.

There are articles, links, videos and much more about all these topics. It's a great resource for STEM classes to get topic ideas, research, news, and to learn some cool things. There are even some pretty cool how-to videos and articles to do some pretty interesting things.

I've found some great things to use with my Physics classes and gotten some great ideas for projects.

Check it out and share it with your students and colleagues.


STEM Resources for Educators

Head Rush - fun science show from Discovery with great website

BlueHarvest - assessment, feedback, portfolio tool

BlueHarvest is a new resource that allows teachers to assess students and provide feedback to them. You can record formative assessments, make written, video and audio comments, upload files and artifacts for portfolios,  text and email feedback, and collect and analyze data on student proficiency.

It also provides a dialogue between teachers, students and parents, allowing them to communicate and discuss assessments and understanding, as well as allowing students to get more detailed feedback and assistance than just a number grade.

It's not free, but very reasonable. $36/year per teacher for nearly unlimited students. That's not bad considering the features. The site has some nice videos that explain the features and how it works in detail.

Take a look and see if it could help you and your students.

PS - a web search for BlueHarvest brings you mostly Star Wars and Family Guy returns. Blue Harvest was a fake working title used to hide the 1982 production of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, the third installment of the Star Wars film series and "Blue Harvest" is the hour-long premiere of the sixth season of the FOX series Family Guy, the last episode produced for Season 5, and the first part of the series' trilogy Laugh It Up, Fuzzball. (Wikipedia)

End of the School Year Approaches - lesson ideas and reflections

We are quickly approaching the end of the school year. Advanced Placement Exams start in two weeks, effectively the end of AP classes (although I do a lot of projects with my AP students after their exam) and senior finals start the end of May. The student's last day of school is June 19th, but exams are finished on the 15th. Teachers finish on June 19th. I teach 95% seniors, so I have to finish up everything by May 29th when Senior finals begin. 

As I was looking over the schedule and working on my lesson plans for next month, I was trying to decide what I would do with my students. I use web quests, videos and activities from Discovery Education, and projects to keep my students learning during a time of distraction. I also use the videos from Discovery Education to share topics that we normally don't cover or don't have time to go over as a full unit. The videos are great for that, explaining topics with demonstrations and examples in 40 minutes or less. 

Senior Prom, Junior Ring Dance, end of the year, Spring Fever, Senioritis. They all affect schools around this time. So, I use the projects. Think of projects related to your curriculum that would be great to do at the end of the year and use that instead of lectures, problem sets, or standard labs.

The rockets project is my favorite and my students favorite. They look foward to it all year. The web quest incorporates elements from NASA's web site. The students are applying multiple areas of physics during this project: energy, chemical reactions, fluid dynamics, forces, Newton's Laws, and more. They get to work in a group and do something hands-on and creative (they get to decorate the rockets any way they want and they are also able to do different fin designs). The best part is launch day. The students get to go outside and launch rockets. I handle the actual launching so that I can ensure safety, but the students love the countdown and watching the launch. They also have to chase down rockets that drift in the wind. Who wouldn't want to be outside launching rockets on a beautiful Spring day?. The students do calculations ahead of time to predict the altitude their rocket will go, and then we measure the actual altitude with trackers and trigonometry.  They learn some great physics topics while having a lot of fun.


Computer drawing of a model rocket with the parts tagged. 

Another thing I start doing around this time is to reflect on the past year. What worked? What went right? What went wrong? How did I handle classroom management issues? How well did my students learn? Lots of questions to answer and get ready for next year. I do this throughout the year too, but this is the point where I can really plan and make changes for the following year.
One thing I do to as an evaluation of the year is to have my students fill out a survey about the class and their experience. It asks them to rate things such as was the classroom and equipment (labs and projects) adequate, was enough time given for demonstrations and review, how well did the teacher answer student questions, and their thoughts on assignments and work given. It also asks about me: did I set a climate that was conducive to learning, did I effectively communicate with students, did I address their needs and issues, and were the teaching methods effective. I also have space for them to write comments about what they liked about the class and what they think should be improved. They can put their name on it or it can be anonymous.

I do take the surveys with a grain of salt. Some students write all "4" (highest score) and some complain that everything was too hard. But I do get a lot of great feedback and ideas. Some times I am surprised by the level of sophistication that I my students have and how insightful they are about their classes. (I've also used this model with pre-service teachers).

After I've read through all of the surveys and taken notes, I sit and think about the whole year. I try to be critical of things so that I can really evaluate how things went. I am going to implement some of the things I've come up with and some of the things my students noted, but I am also going to keep my lessons flexible so that I can modify them once I've met my students next year and see what they are like and what they need. I believe in constantly assessing how I am doing as an educator and how well my students are learning and changing and modifying things as needed throughout the year. The end of the year and summer are great times to come up with lots of different ideas so that I have a collection of ideas to use next year.

This year I've been using the classroom blogs and Google Forms to get more feedback from the students throughout the year. I also use a Google Form instead of paper for the final class evaluation, and student information forms. 

As I write this, I keep having thoughts about issues I've had and how to change them next year. I'm also thinking about the type of teacher I am and what I can do to improve my attitude and persona to make me better. I think one of the things I'm going to do this summer is to actually relax a bit instead of working to much to recharge myself. I will be attending a few conferences and will keep active with my PLN (Personal Learning Network) to share ideas, thoughts, and resources. I want to come back to school next year enthusiastic, motivated, and ready to have some fun while educating. 

So, let's hear from you:

What do you do in your classroom at the end of the year to keep students focused and engaged?

How do you evaluate teaching and learning in your classroom? 

What do you do at the end of the year and summer to prep for the next year?


Rockets - a great project for the end of the year for any class

Google Sells SketchUp 3D modeling software - promises free educational version to continue


Google has just announced that is has sold SketchUp, it's popular 3D modeling software, to Trimble, a mapping, surveying and navigation equipment company. Google had purchased SketchUp in 2006. Many schools use SketchUp in their classes, having students design everything from floor plans, to buildings to project drawings and more.

Google is moving towards a "leaner, more focused company" and has been shutting down some services and moving functions into other services or just shutting it down completely. Picasa was recently shut down, having much of its feature set moved to Google+.

As far as Educators using Sketchup, it looks like there will still be a free version of SketchUp available. According to Google:
If you’re one of the many, many people who use SketchUp for something else—from education to woodworking, geo-modeling to movie-making—rest assured that there will be a SketchUp for you, too. Our mission has always been to make 3D modeling tools that anyone can use. The free version of SketchUp is an important part of our world as well, and that isn’t changing in the least.

SketchUp was popular, with over 30 million activations in the last year along. Trimble is going to continue developing and improving it. Trimble has stated that "Trimble will also partner with Google on running and developing SketchUp's 3D Warehouse, an online repository where users can find, share, store and collaborate on 3D models."

As of this writing, I was still able to download and install the educational version (K12) of SketchUp.

This is an incredible tool for students and educators to use and I really hope Trimble and/or Google keeps the free educational version going for a long time.

Sources: TechCrunch and the Official Google SketchUp Blog


SketchUp for Education Site

Google Resources for Education

STEM Resources for Students and Educators

LibreCAD - free, 2D CAD Software for Windows, OSX, and Linux

Free Academic Program (incl CAD software) from PTC

NASA 3D Resources - fun and educational - includes downloadable models to use in CAD.

10 Important Skills Students need for the Future

Technology in use in Engineering

Some More Ideas for getting students engaged in STEM subjects

Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge - great STEM opportunity

How to Turn a Teen Into an Engineer

TryEngineering - engineering simulations and info on engineering

Project Based Learning resources for Educators

Sensory engagement in the teaching environment - guest post

Promethean World
Sensory engagement in the teaching environment

Post contributed by Charlotte Watson for Promethean World.  Charlotte is a regular contributor to numerous educational sites. She specializes in student response systems as well as interactive whiteboard technologies.

Learning difficulties run in the family, so when my sisters and I were just children my mum made sure we were tested by the Dyslexia Institute. The tests quickly showed that my two sisters had severe dyslexia (a learning difficulty that creates difficulty with reading comprehension, spelling and short-term memory) and I was referred for further testing, eventually finding out I had a mild form of dyspraxia (a neurological disorder that can cause issues with co-ordination and motor functions).

My mum has suffered with her dyslexia and dyscalculia (difficulty with mathematical equations) all throughout her life and when she was in school she was just told she was slow, so she did everything she could to ensure we were given the help we needed in school.

The help was pretty poor (learning and motor difficulties were still looked on with a bit of a cynical eye back then), but I like to think we did alright. Luckily, the issue of dyslexia is properly addressed in schools nowadays – my nephew also has it and he’s being given the help he needs to receive as good an education as all of the other children in his class.

In terms of teaching dyslexic children, the main issue is that a dyslexic’s auditory and visual senses may be impaired, which means they’ll have trouble reading information from a board and listening to what the teacher says. I can’t count the number of times my sisters came home from school in tears because they just couldn’t understand what was going on in class.

By using a multi-sensory teaching method in schools, teachers can now tackle this issue. Multi-sensory learning is good for non-dyslexics as well, as it can help children to utilise all of their senses. However, it’s especially effective with dyslexics that have issues with visual tracking and auditory short-term memory.

The main methods of multi-sensory teaching are broken down into Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic, or VAK. Many studies have shown that combining these three senses make children much more likely to take information in. Utilising this triple-pronged approach to teaching ensures that every child in the class is able to understand what’s going on.

Much like any other child, children with learning difficulties often have a need to feel engaged with, otherwise the information won’t be absorbed properly. If a child doesn’t find the topic interesting, they’ll generally stop listening. Using tactile, auditory and visual information in class will make sure a child’s concentration is drawn back to the teacher and the subject matter again and again, and it also makes learning fun for everyone in the class. 

Space Shuttle - free detailed panoramic images of Discovery available from NatGeo

The NASA Space Shuttle is retired and the fleet is being sent to museums for display. National Geographic is releasing some very cool, detailed, panoramic images of Discovery.  You can see a few of them below. These are a great way to explore the space shuttles and learn more about them.

To provide an unprecedented look at Discovery and the other retired space shuttles, both inside and out, photographers with National Geographic recently captured more than two dozen ultrahigh-resolution, 360-degree pictures of each orbiter.

picture: space shuttle discovery mid-deck, nasa

picture: space shuttle belly, nasa


NASA Resources for Educators

National Geographic Resources for Educators