Adventures of the Agronauts Online Tutorial Script Welcome Hello! I’m Dr. Chris Brown, one of the creators of Adventures of the Agronauts. I have been in Space Research and Education for over 17 years, first at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and now at North Carolina State University. It is my hope that through this tutorial you’ll gain all the information you need to get the benefits from the Adventures of the Agronauts website. This tutorial is composed of seven sections. They are: What is Adventures of the Agronauts? What is Inside Each Mission? Why is Agronauts useful? Who can use Agronauts? How can Adventures of the Agronauts be used in the classroom? How can the teacher resources be used? And finally Agronauts After School – Informal Education. If you’d like to jump ahead to another section, you can do so by clicking one of the section titles on the left. Otherwise, just sit back as I show you the many different aspects of the Agronauts website. What is Adventures of the Agronauts? First, what is Adventures of the Agronauts? Adventures of the Agronauts is an online science curriculum with a space biology theme for elementary school students. The curriculum was developed by the NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training in Gravitational Biology at North Carolina State University and is available free of charge. Each mission is designed to help students make connections between the concepts of space science and plant biology, all while addressing North Carolina’s 3rd grade science learning objectives and national standards for science. Furthermore, students can use inquiry and problem solving to enhance their knowledge of math, science, and research. Students connect these skills with language arts, social studies, music, and art, all while using this technology-rich website. You have many options in the implementation of this curriculum. Choose any or all of the suggested activities for your class. You may decide when and how to have students work. This curriculum lends itself to the needs of your students’ at their academic level. There are opportunities to involve others in this curriculum and many ways to help your students find success. Six missions guide students through inquiry-based activities with the goal of exploring how could we grow plants on the moon as part of a future human settlement. These missions include: Mission 1 - What’s In Our Sky? Mission 2 - The Root of the Matter Missions 3 and 4 – Stayin’ Alive parts 1 and 2 Mission 5 - Living Things in Space Mission 6 - Making the Plant Growth Chamber. What is Inside Each Mission? What is inside each mission? Each mission begins with a title page where you’ll find a brief introduction, a listing of the main topics covered, and links to the teacher resources that correlate with that particular mission. Students can progress through the curriculum by clicking “Next,” which is a button located at the bottom right hand corner of every page. As you continue through the missions, you’ll find Agronaut Log activities in green font. These are writing exercises for your students to complete either individually or in small groups. They are designed to help students organize and reference the information they have learned. These activities are most effective if kept together in one large journal, as shown in this picture. This allows students easy access to their logs throughout the year. You will also notice that some of the words throughout the curriculum are hyperlinks; these words make up our glossary. If you click on one of these links, a definition will pop-up in a new window. This allows students to locate and learn the definitions. As you continue through the mission, you will find green boxes indicating activities. These activities are hands-on exercises that you can use to enhance student learning. Activities correspond to a particular mission, and each activity is adaptable for various skill levels among students. Page numbers are located at the bottom of each page. Pick any page number to conveniently navigate through a mission or just click “Next.” Lets go to the quiz. Interactive quizzes are available within each mission. Students can continue with each question until they choose the correct answer. These quizzes do not record grades; however, printable versions of all the quizzes are available for your use. Near the end of every mission, you will find Rosy’s Mail. These are postcards that Rosy has received from pen pals around the globe. Each postcard contains information about the writer’s country and an easy recipe or interesting story. Finally, at the end of each mission, students are asked to complete a report for Commander Spud Goodroot, the Mission Director to whom the students, or “Agronauts in Training,” report. Students are prompted to answer a few questions that span the material covered in the mission. Why Is Agronauts Useful? Why is Agronauts useful? There are several excellent reasons. First, it’s free for all users! There are no restricted areas, so anyone can access all areas of the site. It’s available online, so it can be accessed from anywhere at anytime. It meets national standards and North Carolina learning objectives for third grade science, which means that it can be used as a complete curriculum without additional materials, if so desired. The curriculum is based on innovative and current research at North Carolina State University and the NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training in Gravitational Biology. It’s interactive so it will keep the students’ attention. Finally, it’s fun! Who Can Use Agronauts? Who can use Agronauts? Clearly, teachers can. The curriculum can be used in full or it can be broken into parts and used as a classroom supplement. Home-schoolers will also find the website useful. It provides a self- paced, interactive curriculum and activities that parents and children can complete together. It also provides the structure of a traditional style curriculum so that parents can assign reading and Agronaut log activities. Also, informal educators and parents can use the website. They can select activities that will interest their children. Agronauts is an excellent way to spark children’s curiosity in science. Finally, children can. Agronauts is a kid-friendly, ad-free site where students can surf to find more information about living in space. How can the Agronauts curriculum be used in the Classroom? How can the Agronauts curriculum be used in the classroom? One of the greatest features of the Agronauts curriculum is its versatility. Students can access the curriculum in a computer lab, where they can read the material themselves or put on headphones and listen to the narrator. Computer labs also allow students to take interactive quizzes. If your students will be using computers with a slow Internet connection or no Internet connection at all, you can download the student curriculum and store it on a disk. You can then load it onto various computers around your classroom or in the computer lab, and it will appear just as it would online. The curriculum can be projected on a screen inside the classroom. Teachers can read the material aloud or just show some of the graphics and quizzes for group discussion. Another option is to print the material, which can be used in a group setting or on an individual basis. All of the curriculum, the glossary, Agronaut logs, and activities can be found in the printable section of Teacher Resources. How can the Teacher Resources be used? In this segment, I’ll show you how to access and use the Teacher Resources. The Teacher Resources can be accessed a few different ways. You can enter the Teacher Resources section of the website by clicking the button on the intro page. You can also enter the Teacher Resources section through every page of the student curriculum. Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Teacher Resources icon. Once you’re inside the Teacher Resources section, you’ll see a green navigation bar towards the top of the page. The About Agronauts section contains a welcome letter and a brief history of the Agronauts program. The Interactive Section contains forums where educators and parents can discuss the curriculum and share ideas. You’ll also find a survey here where you can give us feedback. We are continuously looking for ways to improve our website and greatly appreciate your comments. The Resources section is where you will find all of the information and online supplies you will need for your classroom. Each subheading under the Resources section contains complete listings of resources for all six missions. The Activities page contains links to experiments and other hands-on activities that directly apply to the curriculum within each mission. The Materials List contains a complete listing of materials necessary for each mission. The Printables page contains PDF and Microsoft Word documents that you can print and give to your students. Printable items include an official Agronaut certificate, quizzes, curriculum workbooks, Agronaut logs, and glossaries for each mission. Preparing the Classroom offers ideas about how to decorate your classroom for each mission and questions you can ask students before beginning each of the missions. The Extra Ideas section contains various inquiry-guided lessons that can be used to enhance the curriculum. The Involve Others section involves ideas to include your colleagues and community members. Rosy’s Mail is a multicultural component of the curriculum where students can read postcards that Rosy has received from friends around the globe. This page contains links to all the postcards. The Curriculum Integration page provides a detailed listing of the various other curricula integrated into each mission. The State and National Standards page includes a detailed listing of education goals met by each mission. The Web Resources are up-to-date, relevant websites that we enjoy. The final link under the Resources subheading provides you with a way to download the student curriculum. This file allows you to download the curriculum so that it can be loaded onto a computer without an Internet connection. The Agronauts After School section was designed specifically with informal educators in mind. Here you will find activities that were hand-selected from the curriculum to be used outside of the traditional classroom. I’ll discuss Agronauts After School in more detail in the following section. Finally, you’ll find the Contact Us section. We’d love your feedback, either by e-mail or via our survey. Additionally, a Teacher Resources section can be found at the beginning of each mission. To return to the Student Curriculum, click the icon at the top right hand corner. Let’s visit Mission 2. In the Teacher Resources box, you’ll find the resources that apply specifically to each mission. Inside these boxes, you’ll find Activities, Extra Ideas, a Materials List, Curriculum Integration, State and National Standards, Printables, and Web Resources. Agronauts After School – Informal Education Agronauts After School increases awareness and understanding of gravitational and space biology through informal science education. It engages youth, educators, and researchers in informal science experiences such as 4-H camps, science centers, or community settings. These activities spark interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. If used in conjunction with the rest of the Agronauts curriculum, the After School exercises help in retention of key concepts. Finally, Agronauts After School is an excellent way to engage other members of the general public.