The International Space Station and beyond

Stage 3 students are investigating the International Space Station (ISS) in information literacy and science lessons in the library:


Tour the International Space Station – Inside ISS – HD


James May rides the Vomit Comet – Astronaut training – James May: On the moon – Brit Lab

Averting exploration disasters:


What if Apollo had crashed on the moon?

Mars awaits:


Mars or the moon – Where do NASA manned missions go next?

People exploring space

Our Stage 3 students are investigating the physical attributes of space and, in library lessons, the technological aspects that supported – and continues to support – the exploration of the solar system. We are commencing with the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing and then looking both back and forth on the timeline.


(HD footage) Restored Apollo 11 moon landing video – via PRC media


In his own words: Buzz Aldrin 40 years later


Aryabhata | Father of Indian Astronomy | Pride Of India


Copernicus – mini biography

Monty the penguin

Each year, UK department store, John Lewis, hires a team to create a special ad for the Christmas season. These ads are excellent examples of persuasive visual texts.


John Lewis Christmas advert 2014 – #MontyThePenguin


Flock Associates – John Lewis: The Making of Monty the Penguin 2014


John Lewis Christmas advert 2013 – The bear & the hare


John Lewis Christmas advert 2012 – The journey


John Lewis Christmas advert 2011 – The long wait

Same ad, with a different music track:

John Lewis Christmas advert 2011 [Alternate]


John Lewis Christmas advert 2010 – This feeling inside


John Lewis Christmas advert 2009 – Sweet child of mine


John Lewis Christmas advert 2008 – From me to you [Extended studio version]


John Lewis Christmas advert 2007 – Shadow

UPDATES:


John Lewis Christmas advert 2016 – #BustertheBoxer


John Lewis Christmas advert 2015 – #ManOnTheMoon

Remembering Apollo

Over the weekend, was the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. Penrith Public School’s then-fledgling magazine was named after NASA’s Apollo program.

Apollo vol I no 1 1968

“The ‘Apollo’ magazine blast off is taking place. Like its big brother at Cape Kennedy this vehicle is one of adventure and discovery… This is our magazine’s beginning. Who knows to what heights our ‘Apollo’ may climb?” – A.K. Allan, Principal (1968).

Apollo vol II 1969

“We cannot thank the Department enough (that poor old lady so often criticised for her many shortcomings) for its assistance in transforming a once useless area into a lovely place [a new assembly hall] where the WHOLE SCHOOL can experience together matters of such earth-shattering importance as the T.V. viewing of the initial landing of man on another world, and the visit of Miss Australia to our school…” – A.K. Allan, Principal (1969). Artwork by Mrs Casey.

Apollo 11


Apollo 11 restored Moon footage

3D Apollo
Apollo display at the Smithsonian Institute’s Air & Space Museum, 1984

Apollo astronauts
The same display at the Smithsonian Institute’s Air & Space Museum, 2013

Apollo buggy
Lunar rover at the Smithsonian Institute’s Air & Space Museum, 2013. Identical vehicles were used in the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions.

Space school!

Our Stage 2 students have commenced a unit of work in science & technology, “Space”. These Youtube video clips will be useful in our initial brainstorming activities.


The Solar System – Space School


Space School – The Sun


Star size comparison HD


Space School – The Moon


Day and night on Earth


First Moon landing 1969

Here are two websites for online research, Planets for kids and The nine (8) planets: just for kids (now updated to reflect Pluto’s change of status)

Evidence of water, which was once flowing on Mars, recently found: HERE.

Happy Anniversary, Apollo 11!

Wow!

I’ve spent the last few weeks demonstrating some of the joys of my school’s new interactive whiteboard (IWB), and browsing on Google Earth has been addictive for most of the school’s population.

But, in similar vein, NASA has just released some very cool pictures from their Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (or LRO), which has returned its first imagery of the Apollo moon landing sites, just in time for the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. “The pictures show the Apollo missions’ lunar module descent stages sitting on the moon’s surface, as long shadows from a low sun angle make the modules’ locations evident.”

Apollo 11

The online comments added by moon hoax conspiracy theorists are hilarious.

I really liked the appended comment from a NASA Moderator: “This is just the first glimpse of many more images to come. When we’re in the operational orbit of only 31 miles, resolution should be two to three times better, and we should be able to get the right lighting conditions to identify the rovers.”

All images credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University.

Boy, sitting in the school hall watching a fuzzy black and white television in 1969 (Year 5) at Arncliffe Primary School seems sooooooo long ago, but it also seems like it was only yesterday. It’s frustrating we are currently on vacation and unable to make use of the anniversary with students this week.

Apollo 14

Also worth checking out: The Moon in Google Earth

Preparing for “Sorry”

It certainly snuck up on us… Former Prime Minister, John Howard, stubbornly resisted any attempt – for many, many years – for the nation to say “Sorry” to Australia’s Aboriginal population for the Stolen Generations. Actor John Howard (currrently appearing in television’s All Saints), did once say “Sorry” in the very funny TV mockumentary, The Games, but that one doesn’t count! However… in just a few more hours, our new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, will say “Sorry” – and a nation (and much of the world, thanks to the immediacy of the Internet) will down tools and listen. Then the next stages of Reconciliation might be able to proceed.

Australian schools have been encouraged to organise for students to witness the event live, which will no doubt cause a bit of a scramble in some schools. We do have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags on hand – and use them often – but my school doesn’t have a working TV antennae on the roof. Traditional broadcast options (at least, those in use since the first Moon Landing in 1969, I reckon) will be impossible for us. Taping the speech at a teacher’s home, then watching it all together the next day, just won’t cut it. (That might work for the average episode of BTN, but not this event.)

Therefore, the Principal, my library clerical and I did a tech dress rehearsal today, with: a laptop computer, recommended software, data projector, standard projector screen and the spare Internet hub (located in a sports storeroom within in the assembly hall). I’m glad we didn’t leave it until the morning of the apology; if the tech fails us, it will be a disaster perhaps equivalent to the communications breakdown that threatened Apollo 11‘s historic moonwalk in the Aussie motion picture, The Dish.

This significant day in Australia’s history will undoubtedly become one of those “Where you you when that happened?” events, and we’ve all crossed our fingers that the fickle finger of fate won’t bring down a tech disaster of epic proportions. (Although we’d been informed that schools could gain access to tomorrow’s live streaming, from Parliament House in Canberra, via the Internet, the Department’s intranet and TaLe, we couldn’t find a hyperlink which seemed to be awaiting The Big Day.)

I ended up doing a simple Google search (essentially, my total contribution to the rehearsal), to find the website for Parliament House (haven’t been there in ages!), and I was pleased to see a very obvious link, along the top of the frame, for Live Broadcasting. We bookmarked the site, and did our trial run on this afternoon’s Opening of Parliament 2008, and were able to identify exactly what needed to be done to maximise sound and picture quality. The “test pattern” gave us a moment of panic, but when the session finally started our trial run seemed to indicate that “doing our homework” would ensure success. The extended “test pattern” gave us a moment of panic but, when the session finally started, our trial run seemed to indicate that “doing our homework” would ensure success.

I hope the speech brings everyone the hope and acknowledgment that many have pinned to this long-awaited, historic gesture.