Sally Ride EarthKam

This is incredible!  The Sally Ride EarthKAM is an outreach program that enables teachers and students to learn about space. After signing up for an account, there is a slight delay while they verify you are a teacher and your school. When everything checks out you will receive log in information and be able to access the missions.

During the missions, teachers will be given codes which they can give to their students. (I recommend printing your codes, cutting the apart, and passing them out to your students). Using the codes, students can request images of specific locations of the EarthKAM camera. The EarthKam is aboard the International Space Station.

Codewords are available a few days before the mission starts. Click the My Codewords button to receive your assigned codes. Click on the Image Request button to request your pictures. You can check the cloud and weather conditions .A blue box with the GMT (Greenwich Mean Time gives you the deadline for making requests.

Select your location using the trajectory indicated on the map. The bottom of the page shows the latitude and longitude of the place you select and tells how far it is from the ISS track. The site recommends choosing a location as close as possible to the red orbit line to get the best picture.

You can have access to all the images taken by your School using the School Gallery.

The program is designed for middle school students around the world. In addition to requesting photos from space anywhere along the trajectory of the camera, signing up allows the teacher access to exemplary resources including lesson plans in social studies, science, geography, math, communication, and art. These are great to complete before your students participate in the mission.

Topics include:

  • Get to know our Earth
  • Earth’s rotation and orbit
  • Our place in the solar system
  • What we have explored so far
  • A matter of scale
  • How have people affected our planet?
  • The story of the ISS and EarthKam
  • How Sally Ride EarthKAM works
  • Interpreting EarthKam images
  • Exploring orbits
  • STEM on the International Space Station

The website also has connections to the appropriate common core standards. Sign up and get information from the website here.


Check out these related resources available from my TPT Store.

Questions for each passage appear in standardized test format, helping students to prepare for high-stakes testing. Each passage contains these types of questions
 Main idea
 Vocabulary
 Organizational patterns
 Inference
 Summarizing

Nonfiction passages are based on an event which occurred on this day in history. The first component of the International Space Station (ISS) was launched November 20, 1998. Although the topic was selected to correspond to a historical event, the passage is completely stand-alone and appropriate for any day of the year. Mix and match by purchasing the topics you want or save with monthly bundles and give your students daily opportunities to develop background knowledge and improve their comprehension.

Passages have been evaluated using a minimum of 5 different readability formulas. The first passage is the most challenging, with an average reading level of 9th-10th grade. The second passage has an average readability of 8th grade. The third passage averages a 6th-7th grade level. With teacher introduction and background information, the passages have been used successfully with younger readers.

One subject for the class with differentiated passages allows the teacher to discuss, develop background knowledge, show a video clip or engage the full class yet provide for individual differences.

Students and teachers using multiple passages can assess student progress. Diagnostic charting shows teachers and students patterns of errors with main idea, vocabulary, organizational patterns, inference, and summarization. Compiling data is easy and motivating with student completed charts.

Included in the lesson:
➢ A nonfiction passage written at three different grade levels
➢ Questions over the passage for each level.
➢ An answer key
➢ A chart to monitor progress and collect data in the five assessed areas (main idea, vocabulary, organizational patterns, inference, and summarizing)


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