Two subjects I've always been fascinated by are twin studies, and space exploration -- an unlikely pairing which, in the mission of Scott Kelley, has enabled scientists to glean data, as never before, on the effects of spaceflight on the body.
You can watch all the episodes of Time'sdocumentary, "A Year In Space," here; and find learning activities based on the series here and here. Visit the following sites for additional free resources about astronauts and space:
All About Spacesuits: This interactive resource, created by NASA, explains how a spacesuit functions as a personal, mini-spacecraft that enables an astronaut to live and work in the harsh space environment. Learn about the suits worn for the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, shuttle, and spacewalk missions.
Space Exploration Mini-Unit: Seven lessons, with articles and videos, beginning with how to become an astronaut, and culminating in the future of space exploration.
Train Like an Astronaut: Combine learning about the requirements of space exploration with physical fitness. This site offers videos and free activity guides that explain how exercise and proper nutrition help astronauts maintain and improve important aspects of fitness such as physical strength, endurance, speed, flexibility, balance and coordination.
Astronaut Videos: See how astronauts eat, sleep, brush their teeth and do other tasks aboard the International Space Station.
If you’re looking for some hands-on activities to study earth and life science, head out to a garden. It’s a living lab that affords all kinds of opportunities to observe science concepts in the natural world, such as:
interdependence in an environment
life cycles and changes
adaptations and biodiversity
human impact on the environment.
While in the field, kids get a chance to be the scientists by asking questions, making observations, and coming up with explanations for what they see based on evidence. They can define problems they may encounter in a garden (eg. a plant-damaging pest), and gather additional information to brainstorm solutions.
For an idea of the kinds of investigations that can be done in a garden, visit LifeLab, a Santa Cruz-based non-profit organization that hosts field trips and summer camps at their garden classroom. Or go online to download their free garden exploration unitsfor grades 1 - 4. Each unit - Pondering Plants, Soil Stories, Garden Pollinators, and Garden Habitats - includes six lessons.
Additional free resources available at the LifeLab site:
Nature Works Everywhere has a variety of free gardening lesson plans and videos, including, How Dirt Works, and activity guides on Habitats, Living Systems, Soil, Water, Food and Carbon, and others. These guides and others can be found on their Resources page.