The NASA Hyperwall

7th September 2016 at 16:31

Subject Genius, Stephanie Grant, The NASA Hyperwall

This resource is as amazing as it sounds. In April I went to the Geosciences information for teachers (GIFT) workshop as part of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna. The theme of the workshop this year was the solar system and I learnt loads about ‘helioseismology’, what makes a crater an impact one, and all the plans for the JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons) Mission (it arrives in 2029 after a 2022 launch: one for your diaries) amongst many other things.

One of the most easily transferrable resources was the discovery of the NASA Hyperwall – a series of amazing presentations which use all the information from NASA satellites. Take a look at the recent file “March 2016 Total Solar Eclipse” which tracks the shadow of the Moon across Earth.

Subject Genius, Stephanie Grant, The NASA Hyperwall

When delivering an introduction to climate change for some Year 8 students at a workshop , I am planning on using “Atmospheric CO2 trends”: take a look at this! There is data moving along the graph through time from 1979 until 2014 that represents the CO2 levels at different times of the year and at different latitudes. Not to mention the graphic showing the changing sea ice in the Arctic, the changing sea levels, and the world map that ‘breathes’ throughout the year – this list goes on and on.

Back to more frequently discussed physics – there are amazing composites of the Sun and its coronal mass ejections, there is a great set of videos of the transit of Mercury including in different wavelengths and fantastic images and graphics from the Rosetta mission. The list could go on and on!

The excellent National Space Academy were also in Vienna discussing how teachers can use the latest videos being filmed on the ISS – look up the ‘barycentric balls in space’ clip which Samantha Cristoforetti filmed. They also had great resources for making diffraction gratings using CDs, an exercise to illustrate Kepler’s Law and a great little demonstration involving a mini marshmallow in a syringe expanding as the plunger is pulled when the end is covered.

So think outside the box for your CPD. Workshops like this with a mixture of scientists talking about cutting edge research and more practical teaching sessions are much better than many of the more traditional CPD courses, and it was free!




Stephanie Grant teaches physics in Norwich and is an Ogden Trust Physics Teaching Fellow.