Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. The alignments of stone circles and ceremonial buildings in the Americas, and monuments like Stonehenge in Europe show the importance of what was happening in the skies to our ancestors. But it's also one of the most current sciences, with new discoveries and amazing images appearing almost every day. Similarly, understanding the solar system provides ways of illuminating timeless and important scientific principles while transforming the latest headlines into teachable moments for today's students.

This Module is designed to be a powerful but easy-to-implement package of materials and resources for teaching and learning key Space, Earth and Physical science content. It provides more than enough information and activities to cover "the planets" as a 6-8 week replacement unit. Or it can be used to supplement your existing general science texts with current and engaging experiences that will enliven core instructional content, such as light and the spectrum, convection, conduction and radiation, or electricity and magnetism, usually thought of as "Physical" rather than "Space" science. This Implementation Guide is your roadmap to the project, showing how to get the most out of the integrated, multiple media resources at your disposal. Here are the components of PASSPORT TO THE SOLAR SYSTEM (PTSOLAR):

Eight 15 minute Classroom videos, enlivened with images and animations from NASA and leading research institutes, show students the real places we now know planets and moons to be, and the processes which shape them. Two 30 minute Educator programs introduce key science concepts, and show master teachers demonstrating important Hands-On Activities.

More than 85 field-tested Hands-On Activities, in 4 printed Teacher's Guides, put essential science content in context. The Module provides you, the educator, with a broad menu of choices through which to connect the principles encountered in real world research settings to project-based discovery activities which students can experience for themselves in your classroom.

The PTSOLAR website provides essential background on this Module for both you and your students. It also serves as a portal to the best of NASA and other resources, and offers learning opportunities unique to PTSOLAR, such as:
 •  BIOgraphies telling how our presenter-Mentors began their careers
 •  behind the scenes JOURNALS introducing researchers participating in some of NASA's recent missions
 •  DISCUSS, a moderated forum delivered via e-mail, specifically for teachers, and
 •  RESEARCHER Q&A, a way for students to interact directly with some of America's leading space scientists.

This Implementation Guide (IG) is organized around the 2 "Educator" and 8 "Classroom videos." Each section provides:
 •  3-4 achievable student learning objectives aligned with the NAS/NRC National Science Education Standards and AAAS/Project 2061 "Benchmarks"
 •  Background on the content of the videos
 •  Vocabulary words (many found in the Glossaries of the printed Teacher's Guides and all defined online, in student-friendly, interactive "WordSearch" puzzles)
 •  Pre-Viewing Questions to help you manage students' anticipatory set
 •  Post-Viewing / Quiz Questions and Discussion Starters to use after the programs
 •  Suggested URLs, selected and reviewed by fellow teachers
 •  Science standards met by each program and set of Hands-On Activities and online resources.

While the IG suggests what we believe are the most appropriate Activities, you'll find many others in the Teacher's Guides that may also suit your own particular instructional goals and local circumstances.