For Educators

Welcome educators! Many of my readers use Sky Lights as a resource for teaching astronomy, meteorology, or earth science. Teachers from middle school through high school tell me it’s been a valuable supplement to their regular course content. Sky Lights is also used by home-schoolers for assistance with math and science.

Not surprisingly, even if you’re an expert in math or science, it can be difficult to get children interested in those topics. They’re generally good at visual learning, due in part to growing up with computers. So I strive to make the graphic, photo, or video in each post illustrate clearly the topic under discussion. Visual educational resources are a great supplement to any course of study.

This page suggests strategies teachers and parents can employ for effective integration of Sky Lights. It also explains a few things all educational users should know about Sky Lights:

  • Sky Lights is a supplement designed to stimulate curiosity, guide inquiry, and provide explanations for difficult concepts. It is not a substitute for a textbook, online or in print.
  • The average reading level for Sky Lights is grades 7-9, but precocious 5-6th graders find it understandable. All content is tested for reading grade level here: http://www.readability-score.com/
  • Topics focus on astronomy, meteorology, and earth & space science, with occasional forays into other areas. My choice of topics is largely driven by current events, astronomical cycles, or questions from readers.
  • Most content on this website is copyrighted. Some is in the public domain. Educators are excepted from some of the copyright limitations, and are free to use and duplicate most of what’s here. For more details, see Legal.
  • You do not need a telescope or other equipment to benefit from Sky Lights. Binoculars can be useful, and most any type will work fine. The only “experiments” suggested relate to visual observations.
  • My Links page contains additional resources you might find useful. I’ve reviewed all of them for their pedagogical value and suitability for students. I try to avoid commercial sites with ad content. You can trust my links.

If you want to use Sky Lights as more than just a reading assignment, say, for written reports or student-generated tests, I recommend citation exploration as a requirement. Most Sky Lights posts contain links to outside resources and/or earlier posts. Any post can stand on its own as an educational tool, but for greater depth these links will be useful. Most links access government or academic institutions, but now that Wikipedia has matured I’ve been using it more often.

I taught math and science for 30 years, so I know it’s not easy. But I’m here to help. Suggestions for topics are always welcome. Simply Ask a Question. Again, welcome and best wishes in your educational endeavors.