Gaze at the Moon, follow the NASA New Horizons probe on its flyby of Pluto, or take a nature walk to benefit your brain. This is the time of year when science teachers get to choose their own adventures! Check out a few of our suggestions from this month’s issue of NSTA’s Book Beat, and enjoy a science-filled summer.
Gaze at the (Blue) Moon
Did you know that we’ll have a second July full Moon on July 31? According to EarthSky.org, it will be 19 years until we see a “blue Moon” in July again. Refresh your knowledge of the Moon with the informative and engaging NSTA Kids book Next Time You See the Moon, by Emily Morgan. Selected from more than 600 titles by a nationwide panel of 12,500 children for a 2015 Children’s Choices award from the Children’s Book Council and the International Literacy Association, this photograph-rich book conveys essential information about the Moon in a style sure to interest adults and children alike. Browse the other Children’s Choices winners for ideas for your classroom or home library.
View Pluto up Close
After nine years and three billion miles, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will make its closest approach to Pluto on July 14. Tune in to the coverage online and follow along as New Horizons shares data and images of Pluto and its moons. If planets, stars, and objects in the night sky are part of your curriculum next year, check out the helpful formative assessment tool “Is It a Planet or a Star?” from Page Keeley and Cary Sneider’s Uncovering Student Ideas in Astronomy. This formative assessment probe is designed to elicit students’ ideas about visible objects in the night sky and reveal whether students know how to spot a planet and can distinguish it from a star.
Boost Your Brain With a Nature Walk
Recent studies provide evidence that connecting with nature through hiking or outdoor walks brings health benefits beyond what we previously knew, including positive mental health effects. Make nature walks part of your summer routine, and immerse yourself in observing plants, animals, weather patterns, or other natural phenomena that draw you in. Check out Scientific American’s clever summary of the ways exercise gets the brain in shape.
SUMMER Savings on NSTA Press Books
If catching up on your professional reading is on your to-do list this summer, NSTA Press is here to help with special savings on books and e-books. Between now and August 14, 2015, take 10% off your online order of NSTA Press books or e-books at the NSTA Science Store by entering the promo code SUMMER at checkout. Browse the NSTA resources that your fellow science teachers are reading, or peruse the current bestsellers in the Science Store for ideas on building your teaching resource library.