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written by Pierre Sokolsky
The Astrophysics Science Project Integrating Research and Education (ASPIRE) website provides free access to interactive science labs with downloadable simulations for use in grades 4-9.  Half of the simulations are related to Astronomy and half pertain to general topics such as simple machines, force and motion, momentum, and kinetic energy.  Each interactive lab is designed to be visually attractive and fun, yet mentally challenging for students in the middle grades. Materials include complete lesson plans which were authored collaboratively by teachers and research scientists.

Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
- Cosmology
- Exoplanets
= Planet Formation
- Solar System
- Stars
Classical Mechanics
- Applications of Newton's Laws
- Gravity
- Linear Momentum
- Work and Energy
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Inquiry Learning
General Physics
- Collections
- Middle School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Interactive Simulation
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Assessment
- New teachers
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Free access
Has a copyright or other licensing restriction.
Animations, Astronomy simulations, Interactive labs, Middle school , Simulations, inquiry, inquiry-based labs
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created August 23, 2005 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 2, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
July 31, 2012

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

1. The Nature of Science

1B. Scientific Inquiry
  • 9-12: 1B/H2. Hypotheses are widely used in science for choosing what data to pay attention to and what additional data to seek, and for guiding the interpretation of the data (both new and previously available).

4. The Physical Setting

4A. The Universe
  • 9-12: 4A/H3. Increasingly sophisticated technology is used to learn about the universe. Visual, radio, and X-ray telescopes collect information from across the entire spectrum of electromagnetic waves; computers handle data and complicated computations to interpret them; space probes send back data and materials from remote parts of the solar system; and accelerators give subatomic particles energies that simulate conditions in the stars and in the early history of the universe before stars formed.

12. Habits of Mind

12A. Values and Attitudes
  • 6-8: 12A/M2. Hypotheses are valuable, even if they turn out not to be true, if they lead to fruitful investigations.

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (1993 Version)


A. The Universe
  • 4A (9-12) #1.  The stars differ from each other in size, temperature, and age, but they appear to be made up of the same elements that are found on the earth and to behave according to the same physical principles. Unlike the sun, most stars are in systems of two or more stars orbiting around one another.
  • 4A (9-12) #2.  On the basis of scientific evidence, the universe is estimated to be over ten billion years old. The current theory is that its entire contents expanded explosively from a hot, dense, chaotic mass. Stars condensed by gravity out of clouds of molecules of the lightest elements until nuclear fusion of the light elements into heavier ones began to occur. Fusion released great amounts of energy over millions of years. Eventually, some stars exploded, producing clouds of heavy elements from which other stars and planets could later condense. The process of star formation and destruction continues.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Astronomy
Unit Title: Astronomy: Special K-12 Collections

More than 20 interactive Java science labs with downloadable simulations.  Half of the simulations are related to Astronomy and half pertain to general topics in physical science.  Each interactive lab is attractive and fun, yet mentally challenging for adolescents. Materials include complete lesson plans which were authored collaboratively by teachers and research scientists.

Link to Unit:
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
P. Sokolsky, , WWW Document, (http://aspire.cosmic-ray.org/).
P. Sokolsky, ASPIRE: Lessons, , <http://aspire.cosmic-ray.org/>.
APA Format
Sokolsky, P. (2012, July 31). ASPIRE: Lessons. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from http://aspire.cosmic-ray.org/
Chicago Format
Sokolsky, Pierre. ASPIRE: Lessons. July 31, 2012. http://aspire.cosmic-ray.org/ (accessed 18 January 2017).
MLA Format
Sokolsky, Pierre. ASPIRE: Lessons. 31 July 2012. 18 Jan. 2017 <http://aspire.cosmic-ray.org/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Pierre Sokolsky", Title = {ASPIRE: Lessons}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {18 January 2017}, Month = {July 31, 2012}, Year = {} }
Refer Export Format

%A Pierre Sokolsky
%T ASPIRE: Lessons
%D July 31, 2012
%U http://aspire.cosmic-ray.org/
%O application/flash

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Sokolsky, Pierre
%D July 31, 2012
%T ASPIRE: Lessons
%V 2017
%N 18 January 2017
%8 July 31, 2012
%9 application/flash
%U http://aspire.cosmic-ray.org/

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Citation Source Information

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