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This lesson provided by:
Author:Susan Young
System: Bibb County
School: Brent Elementary School
Lesson Plan ID: 26184



As part of the study of Space, the students will do research on and create a podcast/vodcast about spinoffs developed from space exploration.  In groups, students will use various websites to acquire information about technological advancements that have been made over time. Groups will then write scripts and compose a podcast/vodcast to be shared on the school’s website.

This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science University, GEMS-U Project.

Content Standard(s):
SC(4) 8. Identify technological advances and other benefits of space exploration.
TC2(3-5) 1. Use input and output devices of technology systems.
TC2(3-5) 2. Use various technology applications, including word processing and multimedia software.
TC2(3-5) 7. Explain the influence of technology on society.
TC2(3-5) 8. Collect information from a variety of digital sources.
TC2(3-5) 10. Use digital environments to collaborate and communicate.
TC2(3-5) 12. Create a product using digital tools.
ELA2015(4) 29. Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources. [W.4.8]
ELA2015(4) 32. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on Grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly. [SL.4.1]
ELA2015(4) 33. Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally. [SL.4.2]
Local/National Standards:

International Society for Technology in Education (NETS) –


1. Creativity and Innovation  

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:


apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.


create original works as a means of personal or group expression.


use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.


identify trends and forecast possibilities.

2. Communication and Collaboration  

Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:



interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.


communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.


develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.


contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.

3. Research and Information Fluency  

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:



plan strategies to guide inquiry.


locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.


evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.


process data and report results.




Primary Learning Objective(s):

The students will be able to identify “spinoffs” or benefits of space exploration and how they are used in everyday life.  Students will work collaboratively to create an original podcast/vodcast to share online. 


Additional Learning Objective(s):

In doing research about the benefits of space exploration, students will expand on the use of websites to gather information and work collaboratively to compile the research.  They will also learn vocabulary related to space exploration.  In creating the podcast, students will acquire skills for using Audacity or Windows Movie Maker.

Approximate Duration of the Lesson: Greater than 120 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

List of students in groups of 5-7 to post

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer with projector and speakers, digital cameras with video capabilities or video camera, computer lab for student research, Audacity software downloaded on PCs, microphone for PC, Movie Maker software downloaded on PCs, web sites, demonstration of podcasts and vodcasts, PhotoStory software


PhotoStory of Spinoffs (attached in lesson plan) This is a digital presentation containing photos of different spinoffs from NASA.  For help on PhotoStory, check out the PhotoStory handout in the attachment section or this video tutorial. 


Trackstar Track for websites (optional) – This is a website that allows you to input websites you plan for students to use.  The URL for this is


Teacher prep – The teacher should become familiar with various “spinoffs” from space exploration and the definition for what a spinoff is according to NASA.  Gather a few spinoffs  to share with students or present students with the attached PhotoStory containing pictures of items.  The teacher should be familiar with the software used to create podcast/vodcast (Audacity or Movie Maker), the digital camera, and the websites used in the lesson.


The teacher should divide students into groups of 5-7.  Consideration should be given to strengths and weaknesses in research and technology skills.


The teacher may wish to organize the websites to be used by using  This will allow you to input the websites you want your students to use.  Make sure it is familiar before it is shown to students.



Student prep – students should have prior knowledge of creating podcast/vodcast software and digital cameras. 


An Audacity installation tutorial is available.  There are additional tutorials for using Audacity to create a podcast.


A tutorial is also available for Movie Maker.  This file can be saved to play in Windows Media Player.


Day 1:  (30-45 minutes per day)
Introduce students to space exploration “spinoffs” by showing the PhotoStory containing pictures of NASA spinoffs.

Brainstorm idea how the items in the presentation are related.  Conclude that they were all derived from space exploration.

Explain to students that they will begin a project that will require them to explore websites provided to research various space exploration spinoffs.  Discuss definitions of NASA and spinoffs.
Divide students into groups and provide them the websites to explore.  It would be helpful to set up a track on  A generic one for this lesson plan has been set up already.  The track number is 388718.  If the website is used, teach students how to log in to the track.

Day 2:
Review with students how to log in on Trackstar to find the websites they are to research.
Allow 15-20 minutes to explore the sites.  Explain to students that they are creating a list of the top 3 spinoffs that appeal to them.
The last 10 minutes of class should be spent in groups deciding which spinoff would be researched by which member of the group. 
A group list should be handed in before they leave class.

Day 3:
Students research the assigned spinoff from the previous day.  As the student finds information about it, notes should be taken.
The last 15 minutes of class students should begin writing a script for the podcast/vodcast concerning the assigned spinoff.  This can be completed for homework.

Students have completed scripts and meet together as a group.  The group should decide which order the spinoffs will share their script and compose an introduction to the podcast/vodcast. 

Students begin using Audacity or digital video cameras to create their podcast or vodcast.  When students who are making a vodcast complete the filming, files should be downloaded onto the PC for editing with Movie Maker.
Complete digital products from Day 4.  Upload to website and share!

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. Rubricforspinoffgroupwork.xlsx
Assessment Strategies:

A rubric (sample in the attachments) would be the most appropriate assessment for this project.


Students who need modification could analyze the timeline (in attachments) of the spinoffs from space exploration and make predictions about future inventions. 


Students could use the handout (in attachments) about careers associated with the spinoffs to create a podcast about the careers.


Grouping students would help students who may have trouble with creation of the digital product.  Consider technology strengths and weaknesses when forming groups. 


During the time frame of the lessons, peer tutoring could help a student who needs extra preparation for identifying the various inventions that come from space exploration by going through the websites additional times.


The website “NASA @ Home and City” reads the information to the students.  This would help students who read below grade level.


Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
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The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
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