The purpose of
this this web is to create a motivational site for elementary
school students (grades 3-5) about to participate in a NASA Langley
education program. The web site hopes to gain the attention of students
before they embark on the mathematics, science, technology and
problem-solving activities contained in the larger NASA “Why?” Files education program. A description of the NASA
program and objectives for this sub-web has been provided below.
has been divided into five sections. Click the links below to get jump to
a specific section in this page. It is also recommended that you peruse
the help button provided for the students and make sure you verify your
browser versions and plug-ins prior to your students' use.
File Program Overview
An acrobat PDF version and Word
doc of the original planning document for this site have also been
It is hoped that
the web site will be a motivational and realism piece for elementary school
students by demonstrating real world applications of science, mathematics,
technology and problem solving. By showcasing relevant and exciting student
engineering projects (involving the use of science, mathematics, technology
and problem solving) this supplementary site hopes to gain the attention of
elementary school students prior to engaging in the NASA “Why?”
Files Education program.
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Why File Program Overview:
following excerpt comes from the NASA “Why?”
Files web site (http://edu.larc.nasa.gov/dl.html):
The NASA "Why?" Files Series is a standards-based, technology
focused, distance learning initiative designed to integrate and enhance the
teaching of math, science, and technology in grades 3-5. The 2000-2001
series of four, 60-minute programs uses problem-based learning and
scientific inquiry, including the scientific method and science process
skills, to introduce students to the excitement and exploration of
real-world mathematics, science and technology. The NASA "Why?"
Files is a video and web-based and includes a resource rich teacher's
guide. The series combines the leading-edge technology of the web with the
content-driven instructional quality of video programming.
File web site description of Problem-based Learning.
http://whyfiles.larc.nasa.gov/teachers/pbl_over.htmle NASA "Why?" Files video
series and web site implement problem-based learning.
first NASA Langley “Why?” Files program airs October 11, 2000 on many PBS
stations and has a companion web site with follow web and classroom
Audience for web:
in grades 3-5 are the primary audience. Teachers will incorporate
students’ use of the web in their classrooms as a supplement to The NASA “Why?” Files education
programming. Students may either view the web site individually under the direction
and guidance of the classroom teacher or media-library specialist or via an LCD projector
used by the teacher to project the video/web onto
a screen. While students could use the web site at home, the primary context
planned for this web site will be the school environment. This site is a
supplemental aid to the original NASA “Why?” Files content. Students will use the engineering
student vignettes as an introductory piece to the larger NASA “Why?”
video programming and web site.
Learner Analysis of
In order for the
students to effectively utilize the web site they need to know how basic
Internet and computer skills. For example, students will need to know how to
use a mouse, keyboard and powering-up the computer. They will also need to
know how to launch an Internet browser and navigate through the site
structure provided. The media specialist or teacher may of course facilitate
students in these endeavors.
Students should have
some basic/minimal understanding about the process of scientific inquiry or
problem solving and how science, mathematics and technology are related to
effectively solve problems and learn about the world around us. While
students will almost certainly have a notion about what science, mathematics
and computers are, they may not have significant exposure to how these topic
inter-relate. Absence of this connectivity is not detrimental to viewing the
web site, but foreknowledge of this synergy will facilitate the concepts
being presented in the web.
will probably be favorable toward using the web and viewing web-based video.
Computers and Internet usage to children in this age group in traditionally
uninhibited and novel. Science, technology and problem solving are usually
interesting concepts to youngsters in this age group as well.
preconceptions about how these topics inter-relate should be discussed prior
to viewing the web site for students construct new knowledge by building on
their previous understanding.
Attitudes Toward Content and
Potential Delivery System:
Prior skills and
attitudes toward the mode of delivery (web) will by positive. Students will
most likely contain the ability to use a browser and perform rudimentary
inquiry and problem solving abilities like observing, recording and
generating questions about their environment. Their mathematical ability
will cover a wider range of skills, from addition and subtraction to
multiplication and division but in all cases, viewing the motivational
vignettes will not require students to perform science or mathematical
web will use the context of information presentation to discuss The NASA “Why?”
Files. To facilitate changing attitudes I looked toward Gagne and
Driscoll’s Strategies and Conditions for Learning. If the designer is
attempting to change an attitude or motivate a user toward a desired
action, the following conditions are suggested for presenting the
identify examples of choices made by people who possess the desired
attitude (credible and attractive-similarity, familiarity, appearance).
identify instances in the students’ lives in which making choices are
based on the attitude being presented.
students aware of the personal benefits gained by making choices based on
attitudes (preferably by someone the students admire).
Allow students the opportunity to practice making
choices associated with the desired attitude (role-playing, group
discussion, etc.) and give them feedback..
Keller’s 1987 ARCS
model of attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction has been
partially addressed in this web. The concept of attention will be
incorporated as this web is supposed to stimulate students as they work
through the larger NASA “Why?” File web, which does incorporate more
concrete activities. The following components of Keller’s ARCS model
dealing with attention will be utilized:
visual representations of any important object or set of ideas or
the style of presentation.
and Learner Preferences:
The physiological motor skills of the students using
this site should be sufficient to manipulate a mouse and interact with
choices on the screen. Special attention has be made to the density of the
text/graphics on the page, text size and the reading level of the text
itself. Although detailed catering to different learning styles is a complex
notion and difficult to incorporate into fixed multimedia web sites,
attempts will be made to keep the graphics and text clearly legible and not
confuse field-dependent learners. Given the nature of hyperlinks, students
will be given control of how they navigate the site. This control feature
will also available to you should they display the site using a LCD
Supervisory support should be provided to the
learners as they progress through the motivational and content rich web. The
learners are still very young and will need assistance as they peruse the
web. The physical aspects of the site may vary widely. The site may be
viewed in a closed computer lab with a bank of computers side by side or in
an open library setting with several computers side-by-side. You may have an
Internet computer in classroom and rotate students through the computer
station or project the web onto a large screen via a LCD for the whole class
With respect to the social aspects of the site, this
too will be varied depending on how you assist the students through the
site. Given this, the site will not force you to place students in small
groups to discuss/view the site, but may be used either individually or
collaboratively, depending on your desired learning outcomes.
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This section provides a brief description of the
differences between QuickTime and RealMedia as related to instructional
First it is paramount that you verify
your browser version(s) and plug-in installations prior to have students
use this site. You may find links to these help pages on the main
entry page of this site. Fortunately, all plug-ins are free and if
your running version 4.7 or later of either browser you may already have
these plug-ins installed. It would also help you to review the help
section for students on this web. A help link is provided at the
bottom of every page.
There are two main
differences between QuickTime movies and RealMedia movies. QuickTime
movies will take longer to download then the RealMedia files, but provide
a higher quality movie then the RealMedia file. Also, the QuickTime movie
will play as a movie within the same web page (embedded) while the
RealMedia files will open in a separate new window for each movie. If
students select the RealMedia file movies they should close the movie
window before proceeding on to other movies. Check out both versions of
several movies to see which resolution/quality level you prefer. All
QuickTime movies (except one) are not over 2.5 MB in size and the
RealMedia movies are half the size of each corresponding QuickTime movie.
The QuickTime question 11 is the largest movie (3.9 MB) and RealMedia
movie (1.6 MB).
Depending on your
connectivity you may prefer to download the RealMedia or QuickTime movie in advance.
This will avoid delays in playback during student use. Simply right-click (PC) or control-click (Mac) on the
URL links labeled "Download to Disk" in the video
questions page. From the drop-down menu select "save target as"
for the PC or "Save this link as" for the Mac. The files will
now be downloaded to your computer.
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