REAL Science Odyssey: Astronomy Level Two Teacher Guide
Chapter 1: Universe and Cosmology


An original song about the electromagnetic spectrum (my son thinks it is cheesy)


This 32-minute video from NASA is an introduction to electromagnetic radiation and some of the telescopes used to study them. It also discusses some of the discoveries using electromagnetic radiation that have led to a better understanding of the radiation. I highly recommend taking the time to watch this video:

This is a movie of some galaxies seen using the Hubble Space Telescope:

Voyager at the Final Frontier from NASA:

This is about the James Webb telescope that is under construction:

These are about the Mars Rover Curiosity from The Jet Propulsion Lab. If you like these there are many more from that source and from NASA:

An hour-long video about a new kind of technology that warps space and time, so that distances in space are more accessible:


Math This Week

A link to a series of free tutorials explaining the topic of scientific notation from Khan Academy:


Lab- Model This: Investigating Shadows

Teaching pedagogy of the importance of modeling in science:

Chapter 2: The Big Bang


This podcast is about the big bang:


Doppler effect:  and

Very good video explaining the scientific definition of the word theory:

NASA demonstrates the big bang in 14 seconds:

This long talk explains what led to the modern understanding of the formation and origin of the universe:

On Edwin Hubble:

Proof for the big bang explained: 

Chapter 3: Stars


Please have your students watch this. The mass versus weight song:

The life cycle of stars:

Stephen Hawking: the Birth of Stars:

They use the period table in their explanation of nuclear fusion, which I really like:

Nuclear fusion in 2 minutes:

Scientists are trying to make stars on earth:

These adults cannot answer the question where the sun gets its energy, but I bet your students can:

Nice explanation, good illustrations: Stars: The Life and Death of Stellar Fusion Engines:

Plasma explained:

The Birth of a Black Hole:

What is inside a black hole:

30 second video showing a Cepheid variable star:

Hubble’s view of a Cepheid variable star:

The International Space Station detects dark matter (Neil deGrasse Tyson):

A good black hole video:


Math this Week

There are several tutorials concerning calculations with the law of universal gravitation on YouTube. Here is one:

Chapter 4: Differentiating Stars


Stephen Hawking on supernovas:

A song about the difference between stars:

The H-R Diagram explained:

Explains emission and absorption spectrum:

Good video about spectroscopy of stars:

The parallax shift:

The parallax shift, a mathematical explanation:

William Huggins:  and

Chapter 5: Formation of the Solar system


Adventures in the Solar System: Planetron and Me by Geoffrey T. Williams. A link to the inexpensive audio book version:


How the Sun Will Die:

A rather advanced 49-minute video from NASA called “Crash Course on Our Solar System and Beyond.” This could be watched at the beginning or the end of this unit. About 15 minutes in it goes into information not covered in depth or at all in this text, but it is very interesting information:

Pierre-Jules-César Janssen

Chapter 6: Planetary Motion


A simulation of Kelper’s laws:  and

Newton’s laws of motion:

For the Lego Maniacs out there: Newton’s laws with Legos:


Lab- Kepler’s 1st Law: The Law of Ellipses

Before starting the lab, students watch this NASA video about Kepler, his laws, and the history of planetary models:

Mysterious Orbit of Mercury” by Neil deGrasse Tyson:


Two Scientists, a Theft, and a Possible Murder

Chapter 7: The Rocky Ones


I love to mix art with science. Here is the original radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds:, about a purported Martian invasion of earth.

Here are podcasts about the planets, the asteroid belt and astronomy in science fiction:



This article describes how the mystery of Mercury’s orbit was solved:

Planetary evolution video from NASA:

Stephen Hawking, Formation of the Solar System:

Very cool short video of one rotation of Mercury:

What spaceship Messenger saw as it left Earth on its way to Mercury:

NASA’s Messenger Mission homepage

Venus crossed in between earth and the sun in 2012; here it is on video:


I really enjoyed the views of Mars in this 25 minute video:

People might establish a colony on Mars. Here are a series of videos about it:

A game about training to go into space:

This shows a view of what you would see if you were launched into space:

Chapter 8: The Gassy Ones



A good article about the Rosetta Mission that landed the spacecraft Philae on a comet:

What’s Next for the Rosetta Mission and Comet Exploration


During Galileo’s time the heliocentric model was called the Copernican model. Here is a brief history about Copernicus:

Two short videos about Galileo:

The Kuiper belt:

The Grand Tour of the Solar System:

Jupiter’s moons are the topic of the next videos:

Saturn and its moon Titan:

Saturn’s ring:

Uranus’ tilt and its moons:

Neptune’s moons:





Chapter 9: Mapping


Either read or watch The Martian by Andy Weir. The main character Mark Watney is very good at reading a map! NASA even has a map of his journey.

For the best source I found about topo maps go to:, for maps, videos, and tutorials

This is a great video tutorial about topo map:

Simple, but good instruction on map reading:

An online article about mapping the universe in three dimensions:

The universe in 3-D:

This is the first of nine videos about understanding four-dimensional objects:

A very good video about the basics of latitude and longitude:

Mapping basics:


A video showing how to geocache:

Famous Maps

Astronomers have mapped the universe! When looking at the map of the universe you will notice it has a boundary, called containment. Beyond the containment is before time began. It is really fascinating stuff.

Detailed mapping of the universe:

Chapter 10: Happy Birthday, Earth


Geologic timescale:

This is a series of 45-minute videos “How the Earth Was Made”: 

A seven-layer density experiment done by Steve Spangler, it is a good visual demonstrating differentiation based on density:

A video by NASA called, Exploring Ozone. I highly recommend it:

A lyrical video about geologic time:


Famous Day

Chapter 11: Earth in Space


Here is a nice article with a video embedded in it. The narrator goes into solar day and sidereal day, in addition to how fast Earth rotates. Plus he has funny little jokes that flash at times across the screen:

Good visual and explanation showing Earth’s movement through space:

Stonehenge and sun dials (you have probably noticed I like history with my science):

Milankovitch cycles:

Earth Has the Moves

The numbers for the total speed table came from the following sources:

Milankovich Cycles: Famous Movements Through Space


Chapter 12: Fly Me to the Moon


NASA: Tour of the Moon:

NASA: Evolution of the Moon, there are no words with this just pictures:

History Channel: The Phases of the Moon:

A film of the total eclipse of the sun on 11/13/2012 is from Australia:

Explains solar eclipses:

What is a Lunar Eclipse?:

How do Tides Work?:

Synchronous rotation:


Apollo Space Program

Suggested Books for Further Reading

Chapter 1: Introduction to Astronomy

Almost Astronauts, 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone

Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh

The Scientists Behind Space by Eve Hartman

How Do Scientists Explore Space? by Robert Sneddon

Eye on the Universe: The Incredible Hubble Space Telescope by Michael D. Cole

Destined for Space: Our Story of Exploration by Don Nardo

The Mighty Mars Rover: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – The wrinkle referred to in this classic fictional book is a wrinkle in the space-time continuum that the protagonists travel through.

Scholastic Discover More: Night Sky by Giles Sparrow

Alien Hunter’s Handbook: How to Look for Extraterrestrial Life by Mark Brake

Out of This World Jokes about the Solar System: Laugh and Learn about Space (Super Silly Science Jokes) by Melissa Stewart

Out of This World: Poems and Facts about Space by Amy Sklansky – This is a little young for this age group but the poetry is very good


Chapter 2: The Big Bang

Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension by Michio Kaku. This book is 359 pages and non-fiction, but if you or your student is interested in the question of universes beyond our own, other dimensions, or even time travel, this is an excellent book and very readable.

The Big Bang by Paul Fleisher

The Magic of Reality How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins. This book covers much more than just the big bang. It does a great job of explaining the redshift and how Isaac Newton discovered that white light is made up of a mix of wavelengths.

Really, Really Big Questions about Space and Time by Mark Brake

Out of This World: All the Cool Bits about Space by Clive Gifford. This book covers some material not covered in this chapter, but you could have students read relevant chapters when they encounter them later in the text.

The next three books show a reading level of 9 to 12. If you have an advanced reader I would still check them out. These are complicated topics. Often good science texts should be looked at for content, not reading level. All are written by theoretical physicists trying to make complicated topics accessible:

George and the Big Bang by Stephen Hawking (with his daughter, Lucy)

George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Stephen Hawking (with his daughter, Lucy)

The Space and Time of Uncle Albert by Russell Stannard


Chapter 3: Stars

Stephen Hawking is a great scientist and a hero who has overcome real obstacles:

Stephen Hawking: Revolutionary Physicist (Great Achievers: Lives of the Physically Challenged) by John F. Callahan

The Stars by H.A. Rey

A fiction book about stars: Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeannette Winter

Really, Really Big Questions about Space and Time by Mark Brake

A Black Hole is Not a Hole by Carolyn DeCristofano

My son liked the books in The Giants of Science series by Kathleen Krull. Check the reading level, they might be too easy for more advanced readers:

Isaac Newton, Giants of Science by Kathleen Krull


Chapter 4: Differentiating Stars

Out of This World: All the Cool Things You Wanted to Know about Space by Clive Gifford

The Life and Death of Stars by Ray Spangenburg

The following are written for adults who are non-scientists. They are not for every student. If you’re interested read one; there is no need to read both:

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking


Chapter 5: Formation of the Solar System

Adventures in the Solar System: Planetron and Me by Geoffrey T. Williams. Also a link to an inexpensive version of the audio book.

11 Planets: A New View of the Solar System by David Aguilar. An interesting book that in part covers a new definition for what a planet is

The 50 Most Extreme Places in our Solar System by David Baker and Todd Ratcliff. This book is 304 pages long. It is only for the space-obsessed student; but if you have one, it is fun and informative.


Chapter 6: Planetary Motion

Johannes Kepler: Discovering the Laws of Planetary Motion (Great Minds of Science) by Mary Gow

Planetary Motion (Science Foundations) by P. Andrew Karam

Johannes Kepler and the Three Laws of Planetary Motion (Revolutionary Discoveries of Scientific Pioneers) by Fred Bortz

Newton, Gravity in Action by Jordi Bayarri—this is a comic book about the life and work of Newton

Great Astronomers: Isaac Newton by Robert Ball

Albert Einstein’s Diary – How I Revolutionized Science: (Educational Book for Children) by Melissa Young

Doctor Copernicus by John Banville

Kepler: A Novel by John Banville

Timescape and Eater by Gregory Benford

Newton and the Quasi-Apple by Stanley Schmidt

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman


Chapter 7: The Rocky Ones

Albert Einstein, Giants of Science by Kathleen Krull

Hello Mars by Geoffrey T. Williams

Almost Astronauts: 13 Woman Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Stone

The Far Out Guide to the Solar System by Mary Kay Carso. This is a series of books with a different “Far Out” title for every planet

Mission to Mars by Eve Hartman

How to Draw Amazing Airplanes and Spacecraft by Kristen McCurry

Hot Planets: Mercury and Venus by David Jefferis


Chapter 8: The Gassy Ones

Gas Giants: Huge Far Off Worlds by David Jefferis

Mighty Megaplanets: Jupiter and Saturn by David Jefferis

Beyond Jupiter: The Story of Planetary Astronomer Heidi Hammal by Fred Bortz

Space, Stars, and the Beginning of Time: What the Hubble Telescope Saw by Elaine Scott


Chapter 9: Mapping

Sir Cumference and the Viking’s Map by Cindy Neuschwander

These 2 books are more geography than geology, for the student who loves maps:

Transit Maps of the World by Mark Ovendon

National Geographic Global Atlas: A Comprehensive Picture of the World Today with More than 300 New Maps, Infographics, and Illustrations


Chapter 10: Happy Birthday, Earth

I like to mix some fiction in with science: Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne


Chapter 11: Earth in Space

The age is a bit young, 9-12, but fans of the Harry Potter series will likely find this book very interesting: Wizards: An Amazing Journey Through the Last Great Age of Magic by Candace Savage


Chapter 12: Fly Me to the Moon

Moon Landing by Nadia Higgins

Guide to Observing the Moon by British Astronomical Association

Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on The Moon by Catherine Thimmesh

Project Apollo by Ray Spangenburg

Time, Tides, and Revolutions by Nicolas Brasch

Spring Moon by Jean Craighead George

Summer Moon by Jean Craighead George

Autumn Moon by Jean Craighead George

Winter Moon by Jean Craighead George




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