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Astronomy students and stargazers will love having answers about the sky in their pocket. The universe and illustrated overlay shows drawings of the 88 constellations (by 15th-century astronomer Johannes Hevelius), labels for stars, and planets and their orbits. Not too shabby. Star Chart doesn’t provide much depth or context for what students are seeing, but it could be a nice addition to astronomy lessons or units nonetheless. You could ask kids to do nighttime observations to bolster concepts learned during class, or have kids use Star Chart during the school day to reinforce the idea that space is still there, even when it’s light outside.Continue reading Show less
Star Chart is an app that takes the guesswork out of stargazing, making the sky as easy to read as a Google map. Kids simply point their GPS-enabled phone or mobile device in any direction to see a map showing which stars, constellations, planets, and other celestial objects they’re looking at. At night, kids can find stars in the sky and use the chart to find out the stars’ names and how far they are from Earth. They can also look around for the various constellations and view drawings, or turn off the drawings to clearly see the layout of the stars in space. Kids can also point the device down to look below the horizon and get a sense of the immenseness of space.
A few great features include being able to point the device at the night sky and not only see the name of the planet or star above, but also find out more information about it by tapping it. A pop-up gives stats such as distance from Earth, spectral class, and altitude.
It gives kids a great way to connect with space from a familiar device, making them the “center” of the universe. This augmented reality tool would be a great supplement to lessons or units covering space and astronomy. Kids can “travel to” other planets to see their vantage point or toggle on a “night view” mode, which gives off less glare and is easier on the eyes in darkness. It’s also cool to point the device down at the ground and see the space below Earth; this can help give kids a sense of the round planet we’re living on and the vastness of the universe around us. Be aware that this app eats up batteries, so don’t forget to quit out of it when you’re done or you may not have enough battery power to call the news about that UFO sighting!
Key Standards Supported
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.
Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words.
Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.