It’s often the smallest spark that ignites the flames of inspiration and lifelong learning. The right balance between fascination and education, Star Chart is the perfect example of an app that can provide that spark for students. Overlaying a stunningly detailed view of the night sky on students’ phones or tablet devices, the app can become your classes virtual telescope to explore the whole visible universe.
Compatibility: iOS / Android
Access: No signup required
Privacy: Standalone app
A Quick Look
1. Take it outside
One of the most wonderful objectives of the Star Chart app is to get children off the couch and outside to explore the world around them. Try taking your class outside to introduce the app. It may be a bright sunny day, but the effect and impact of the app is greatly increased when students can point their device at the sky and picture the stars, planets and systems up above.
2. Integrate into class material
The Star Chart app gives you the ability to take screen captures and save images to your device. Have your students use the app to collect information and images that they can later use in reports, presentations or to integrate into other media. You can even use the app to capture your own imagery to use in lesson plans, discussions and class material.
3. Involve the family
Being an app that really comes to life after dark, there are few opportunities during class time for students to use the app at night. This is a great chance to motivate students to share their learning with their family. Encourage parents to take an interest and bring their children outside to explore the night sky in real time.
4. Make it about discovery
One of the neatest features of the Star Chart app is the ability to search for particular planets, stars and constellations. To encourage discovery and gamify the learning experience, challenge your students to find certain planetary objects or use the calendar feature to get your class excited about upcoming lunar events.
5. Google Sky and beyond
If your students really take an interest in space, the Solar System and beyond, try encouraging them to delve deeper using Google Sky. With a similar interface to Google Maps, Google Sky allows students to pan and zoom around space, viewing real imagery partnered with detailed information and data. (Bonus: The official app from NASA is also well worth exploring)
Links and Next Steps
- 10 Free Astronomy Apps For Stargazing
- NASA YouTube Channel – Over 2000 breathtaking videos
- Launch your Class into Space with the NASA App
- Google Sky – Google Maps for space
- 5 Best Astronomy Apps for Android
- 88 modern constellations – List of 88 constellations used in modern astronomy
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Scott Cresswell.