Best Education Sites

We’ve gathered a panel of specialists from the fields of graphic design, web development, and college counseling to analyze the state of the academic web space in 2011. We set out to answer one question: Are schools doing the best job they can of reaching out to students through edu websites?

At Best Education Sites, we believe that many of our colleges and universities are failing their students in one crucial way – by not providing them with a rich and easy learning experience on their educational sites. As the world of web design progresses at a dizzying pace, education websites seem to be lost in the past, unable or unwilling to keep up.

Anyone who has visited edu sites has probably had the experience: clunky user interface, incomprehensible navigation, ugly design, and no content of any real use for students. We are well aware of this situation, and that is why we decided to create this project of ranking the best educational websites: to try to help fix it.

Our 2011 report on the state of the academic web space, in particular educational websites for students, was compiled by our team of over 2,000 web specialists for the single purpose of assessing where we stand, as a nation of colleges and universities, right now. Rating each school’s educational website in terms of design, content, and usability, our experts have sought to create a full and thorough picture of what each educational site has to offer, and what it lacks.

We‘ve also looked at schools’ use (or misuse) of social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Although we believe that, by and large, schools, through their learning websites, are inadequately supplying their students with a web experience of quality, we also want to acknowledge those that have done a stellar job at creating some of the best educational sites for students. This is how we give the best sites their proper due.

BestEdSites is intended for anyone who has ever become frustrated by the education website of a college or university, and for everyone who thinks that our schools can – and should – do better. Best Education Sites is also for anyone interested in web design and higher education, and how the two seemingly disparate fields of interest interact in profoundly important ways. Most of all, Best Education Sites is for students.

Today’s college students are engaged with an online world in a way that no other generation ever has before. Our schools must step up to the challenge of meeting them there by providing them with the best education websites possible. And we will try to help them do just that.

Click here for a list of educational websites and educational links including the best educational websites for kids, the top educational websites for teachers, the top language arts educational sites for kids and the best websites for students regarding math and science.


 More Recommended Astronomy Sites

* Is it your child’s dream of taking a ride aboard the Space Shuttle to the International Space Station? * That may be possible in the future, but not at the present. However, you can inspire them to be our future .

* I have listed some great astronomy sites for kids and even older folks:

  • – A free and fun resource with lots of interactive learning. There are games, stellar observation information, an Online Astronomy Academy, and other cool stuff. Has many space related topics for ages 7-18.
  • Astronomy for Kids– Basic, easy to read information about our solar system and beyond. Specially suited for ages 6-12.
  • NASA Kids Club – Has lots and lots of great interactive learning games for many skill levels. I even played some myself. The Buzz Light Year Travels to Space games are really fun.
  • StarChild – A learning resource with tons of terrific information about space and the universe. Great for kids under age 14.
  • Goddard Spaceflight Center: Imagine the Universe – A learning resource with tons of terrific information about space and the universe. Great for high school students.
  • Amazing Space – An awesome site suitable for all ages that teaches about space through the “eyes” of the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • NASA Space Place – Another great NASA site that offers cool games, activity projects, trivia facts, and much more. * Additiional sites to be added…. Stay Tuned

Amazing Astronomy Projects For Kids

Hey, kids! Would you like some projects to help you learn about astronomy and have fun, too? Here’s the place to find what you need!

Astronomy Coloring Pages Do you want to have some fun coloring about your favorite space themes? Get your astronomy coloring pages here

Astronomy For Kids – Learning Center Are you ready to learn more about astronomy? This is the place to go for information about our solar system, the stars, our galaxy and more…

Astronomy For Kids – Questions and Answers Hey, kids… Do you have questions about astronomy and what’s out there? This is the place to come for answers!

Astronomy For Kids – Video Hey, kids… Do you want to learn about astronomy and have fun at the same time? Come on in! (Moms and Dads – Grandparents, too – these are fun, safe videos with great astronomy education themes guaranteed to keep them smiling and learning!)

Are you looking for a cool arts and crafts type of astronomy project that you can build as part of an astronomy outreach activity? Then look no further. You’ll find your plans inside here…

The Planisphere (Project)
By Contributed by Tammy Plotner

Would you like to create your own simple planisphere with your class or group? Here’s how…

A Grapefruit Saturn (Project)
By Lynda Filip and John Percy
Students will construct a scale model of Saturn; use it to explain a Voyager image of Saturn’s shadow on its rings,,,

Making a Sun Clock (Project)
By Contributed by Tammy Plotner
Before there were clocks, people used shadows to tell time…

THE THOUSAND-YARD MODEL or, The Earth as a Peppercorn (Project)
By Guy Otwell
Making a scale model of the sizes and spacings of the planets using common household materials. A classic activity by Guy Ottewell.

Toilet Paper Solar System (Project)
By Elizabeth Roettger.
A classic activity by the late Gerald Mallon is redone by Elizabeth Roettger. Students use rolls of toilet paper to measure of the scale of the solar system

Comet in the Classroom (Project)
By Dennis Schatz
Using some dry ice and common materials to make a model comet that can be seen to sublime. A classic activity by Dennis Schatz.

Planets In A Bottle (Project)
By James Phillips
This is a prototype lesson plan for “Planet in a Bottle” yeast experiments intended for 2nd through 4th grade classrooms.

Ions in Action (Project)
Atoms are the teeny tiny particles that make up all matter….

Build a Bubble-Powered Rocket! (Project)
Build your own rocket using paper and fizzing tablets! Watch it lift off. How high does your rocket go?

“See” Inside a Closed Box! (Project)
Imagine being able to make a detailed map of an object you can’t even see.

A Guide to Outer Space Surveillance!

Author: Lowell Bradford

If you look into the sky at night while in the city, you will see fewer stars than you would if you looked into the night sky from out in the country. This is because of light pollution. The lights we use on Earth, such as streetlights and car headlights, help us see at night but too much light actually limits our ability to see up into space.

Scientists are able to use telescopes to see the objects in space much closer than we can by just looking up. While space is still mysterious to even the smartest scientist, we have discovered a lot of information about the stars, planets, and other bodies that exist in outer space.

Types of Stars

Stars shine so brightly because they are on fire. You might be wondering how that can be possible. You have probably seen a campfire die out, so how can a star keep burning for so long? They use a process called nuclear fusion to turn hydrogen into helium over and over again. Just in our galaxy there are over 100 billion stars, one of which is the Sun. Like snowflakes, no two stars in the universe are the same, and hotter stars tend to burn brighter.

One type of star is the Red Giant. These are usually stars that have run out of hydrogen to fuse. They get really, really big and can suck in planets and other space objects. White dwarfs are another type of star. They are incredibly heavy but only a little bigger than the Earth. They are usually stars that were Red ?Giants at an earlier time but cooled down. When a White Dwarf cools down, it becomes a Black Dwarf.

Seeking the Stars

Why is it so hard to see stars in city skies?

Mysteries of the Night Sky
What are stars made of, how many are there and how can we study them?

Types of Stars

A little bit of information on star spectrums.

White Dwarfs
Learn what white dwarf stars look like and how they’re formed.

The Solar System

Our solar system only has one star: the Sun. But it supplies light and heat for lots and lots of other objects. Our solar system has eight planets. In order from the closest to the sun they are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. There are also several dwarf planets, a belt of metal space rocks known as asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, and comets which are flying clouds of gas, dust and rock.

Multiple Choice Exercise

A solar system quiz with both easy and hard questions.

Order the Planets

Play this game and see if you can put the planets in order.


Go on an animated planet adventure.
Views of the Solar System

Learn about the different objects that can be found in our solar system.

The Comet’s Tale

All about comets, what they’re made of and how to know if you’ve seen one.


The universe is made up of billions of galaxies, which are collections of dust, stars and gas. Galaxies range from 1,500 to 300,000 light years in size. Our solar system is part of the Milky Way Galaxy, which is about 100,000 light years across. There are three main types of galaxies. Spiral galaxies are those that have gas and dust arms spreading outward from its center in a spiral pattern. The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy

There are also elliptical galaxies that are more circular. They are the most common type of galaxy and they are made up mostly of stars. Finally, irregular galaxies do not have a defined shape and they are the most likely place where new stars will be formed.


A brief summary of what are inside galexies.

Ask an Astronomer

Learn about the different types of galaxies.

Elliptical Galaxies

More information on elliptical galaxies.

Glitter Galaxies (PDF)

Make your own galaxy artwork at home.


Check out some really cool pictures of galaxies in outer space.

The Universe

Our solar system is huge. It measures about two light years across. However, the Universe is many billions of light years across; hundreds, perhaps thousands of billions of light years in fact. When we look up at the night sky we can see light from stars that may have burned out millions of years ago.

It’s just taking a long time for the light to get here. No one is sure how the Universe came to be, but there are many educated theories. One of the most popular is the Big Bang Theory. It suggests that all matter was once squished together in a tiny, dense space and then exploded with a big bang. Theories such as this are researched by astronomers, who are scientists that study space.


Check out awesome pictures of real space objects taken by the Hubble Telescope.

A Trip Through the Universe Quiz

Can you correctly answer these ten questions about the Universe?


Do you want to be an astronomer when you grow up? Find out what it takes.

Big Bang

More details on the Big Bang Theory and the beginning of the Universe.

The Dark Side of the Universe

The Universe is made up of a lot of dark energy and dark matter. Learn more about them.

Black Holes

A black hole is perhaps the most powerful force in the universe. They are created when giant stars explode in a supernova. They are so powerful that they absorb light, so we can’t actually see them. The objects that surround them sometimes reflect light so it isn’t impossible to determine where one is. In 2011, people actually saw a star sucked into a black hole in the visible night sky. Scientists believe that the center of every galaxy is actually a supermassive black hole. An object needs to be quite close to a black hole to fall in, so the Earth is not at risk of falling into the hole at the center of the Milky Way.

Black Hole

A kid’s guide to black holes.

Black Holes

Some black hole questions answered by Dr. Cathy Imhoff, an astronomer.

Galactic Explorer

An interview with UCLA physics and astronomy professor Andrea Ghez.

The Truth About Black Holes

11 questions and answers about black holes.


Links to some great space videos including one about black holes.

* This section was recommended and supplied to us via Pedro and sent in by tutor Jess Chapman Science Department
Jean Massieu Academy
Room W-117 Phone x2905

Astronomy: Computer Software Games for Kids

There’s a lot more to the universe than just planet Earth. Astronomy is a field of study covering the entire universe, from giant planets to the tiniest flow of energy. The sun is the center of the solar system. Astronomers named this massive star “Sol,” which is where we get the word “solar.”

Over the course of 4.5 billion years, the solar system has formed into what it is today, part of a galaxy filled with gases, dust, and billions of stars. Stars, including our solar system’s largest star, the sun, are made of helium and hydrogen. A group of stars connected by an imaginary line is a constellation, and people have made up constellations in the shapes of animals, mythological characters, and objects.

Our solar system includes eight major planets and a few dwarf planets, like Pluto and Ceres. In orbit closest to the sun are the inner planets, which are made of metals and minerals and have rocky surfaces. These planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.

Our solar system neighborhood also includes asteroids, chunks of rock and metal. An asteroid belt, a region of space containing many asteroids, separates the inner group of planets from the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Mostly made of gases, these giants have only a core of solid mass.Also in orbit in our solar system are comets, which are like dirty snowballs made of frozen gases and ice. How big is the universe? No one knows, but we know that it has many galaxies light years away from the one where we live.
A light year is how astronomers measure distance in outer space: One light year is six trillion miles. With technology, math, telescopes, and satellite images, scientists are finding better ways of exploring the galaxy. It has been more than 50 years since a human first went into space, and today, we keep working to find out more about what’s out there in the universe and how it all works.
Planets MemoryChoose your level of difficulty and match the pictures of the planets before you have no more chances to try. It’s a real test of your memory skills as you learn about the solar system.
Fly to MarsLook at Earth and Mars’s alignment on the screen to figure out the best time for launching a spacecraft from Earth. It’s not as easy as it looks!
Build a Solar SystemDrag and drop planets around the sun to create a personalized solar system with this online science game to better understand planetary rotation and orbit.
Galaxy Types

Learn all about the nine different known types of galaxies in the universe, then build your own universe by figuring out where each one should get placed.

Learn about how planets and stars evolve by building stars or planets or even establishing forms of life, as a million years pass in just a minute’s time in this game.
Deflect an Asteroid

Keep the asteroids from hitting Earth by using bombs and other tools before your time runs out.
Planetary Pinball

Magnetic fields direct how charged particles move in space. With the launcher, you can use magnetic fields in this pinball game to send particles as far as Jupiter, if you can pass the first few levels.
The Great Escape

Can you get photons of light to travel from the core of the sun to its surface? Use the arrow keys and pay attention to the letters of the maze to find your way.
Find the Features on Mars

In this interactive game, look at pictures to see if you can find the past and future Mars landing spots with no wrong guesses.
Surfing the Solar System

In this scavenger hunt, players get clues about different parts of the solar system. Each answer brings you closer to revealing a tourist hot spot in our solar system.
Magneto Mini Golf

Guide proton balls through the electric and magnetic fields on the planetary greens to sink them into the putting hole. If you answer a few questions correctly, you can get a bonus.

Push different particles together to create a fusion reaction. Not all particles will produce fusion, so you have to combine the right ones to make a reaction happen.
Cosmic Crush

As an asteroid, take in smaller asteroids to become a planet without getting sucked into the gravitational fields of bigger planets, which will demolish your asteroid.
Into Space 2

Fly your rocket up as high as you can into space and earn money to get rocket upgrades. Can you fly all the way to Mars?Written by Jonathan O’Brien

Free Presentations in PowerPoint Format


Astronauts in Space

The Human Space Explorer

Beyond Tang: Hidden Benefits of the Space Program

Humans in Space

Neil Armstrong

Apollo 11

The Mathematics of Space Rendezvous

Blast Off with NASA

Who wants to be an astronaut game

See Also: Space Trave, Astronomy Space Index


To Infinity and Beyond game with Buzz Lightyear

To the Moon

The Dawn Mission

Mission Mastermind

Space Janitor


Space Doctors game

Living in Space (for real!)


For Teachers

Free Astronauts & Astronomy Video Clips

Free Online Science Games for Kids

Free Original Clipart

Free Templates

Free Presentations in PowerPoint format & Free Interactives for Kids

Astronomy (The Universe) Our Sun Famous Astronomers Copernicus, Ptolemy, Galileo, Kepler, Newton
Stars & Galaxies Solar System/Planets Origins of the Universe Theories/Cosmology
The Milky Way Inner Planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars Telescopes
Constellations The Asteroid Belt & Asteroids Earth’s Moon
Black Holes Outer Planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune Eclipses
Active Galaxies & Quasars Kuiper Belt (Pluto) Satellites
The Infrared Universe The Oort Cloud Astronauts
Electromagnetic Spectrum Comets Space Travel

Banner Text Oh, and don’t forget – our newsletter is available for download by kids too….. Just check out the ‘hands’ at top right of page and ‘sign up’on the banner above, OK? Related articles Don’t Forget NASA’s Education Programs (


Home Science: Backyard Astronomy Basics

Woman looking through telescope.

Are you fascinated by stars, comets, planets, and other celestial bodies you can glimpse in the night sky? Many aspiring astronomers start out at home, in their own backyard. It is possible to observe quite a lot about our solar system using basic telescopes or even the naked eye, but there are also many tools that can help you identify what you’re seeing and learn more about what’s out there.

The Basics of Astronomy

Astronomy is the study of celestial bodies throughout our universe. Our home, Earth, is just one planet in the solar system, and our sun at the center of the solar system is just one star of billions of others. Our solar system is part of the Milky Way galaxy, a collection of as many as 100 billion other solar systems. The Milky Way, in turn, is only one of at least 100 billion galaxies out there! Even the most sophisticated observation technology can see just a fraction of the celestial bodies that are out there. The Hubble Space Telescope, one of the most powerful telescopes created to date, can see up to 15 billion light years into space, but the universe is many times larger than that.
As an amateur astronomer, you won’t be able to see 15 billion light years into the night sky, but you can observe quite a lot. From your own home, it is possible to spot stars, planets, and even galaxies. You may even be lucky enough to spot asteroids or comets flying by. The key is knowing what you’re looking for.

Getting Started

You can get started right away, but depending on how far you would like to take your study of the universe beyond Earth, you may end up wanting some tools. Even without a telescope, you can observe quite a bit when you look up, though. Before you buy any astronomy equipment, go outside on as many clear nights as you can and just spend time getting to know the night sky. Where is the moon? How does it change relative to the position of the other stars you see each night? To get a better idea of what you could be looking at, you can reference constellation maps, astronomy guidebooks, or smartphone apps designed for the budding astronomer.
Once you have gotten a basic idea of what you’re looking at, you will probably be curious about what else you’ll be able to observe. The next step is to invest in a basic telescope or binoculars to extend your view farther beyond Earth. There are three main types of telescopes you can choose from: refracting, reflecting, or hybrid. Refracting telescopes use curved lenses. Reflecting telescopes use curved mirrors to minimize the refraction of light and extend the viewing distance. Hybrid telescopes use both technologies and combines their strengths. The quality of a telescope depends on the aperture, or diameter of the lens or mirror, and the optical quality, or how clear the image is. The greater the aperture, the more light a telescope can bring in and the higher resolution the image will have. Telescopes for home astronomers can range in price from around $500 to thousands of dollars.

The Constellations

Constellations are groups of stars that form images or patterns in the night sky. Many are named for mythological figures that the ancient Greeks and Romans thought they resembled. Stars in constellations aren’t often actually that close to each other and don’t have much in common other than the fact that they make up these pictures that humans imagined. Nevertheless, they are recognizable patterns that can help you gauge where you should be looking to find different things. They can also help us determine what season it is, as they are in different locations in the sky as Earth orbits the sun. While there used to be many different interpretations of what made up which constellations across cultures, they are now standardized into 88 official constellations. No one star belongs to more than one constellation. With the help of a sky atlas, you can spot many constellations from home even without a telescope.

The Solar System

Earth is the third of eight major planets orbiting the sun. Since we are on the inside, it is impossible to view the solar system as a whole, but we can observe quite a bit of it as Earth rotates and orbits around the sun. Five of the planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, are visible from Earth for most of the year without a telescope. Their location changes as they and Earth move. In fact, that is the first step in identifying a planet: The planets will change location from night to night, while stars don’t change their location relative to each other in the sky. The window of time when a planet is visible from Earth is called an apparition. There are also other components of our solar system, like asteroids, comets, or meteors, that you may be able to spot occasionally. Meteors are frequently seen soaring across the night sky.

Famous Astronomers

Astronomy is not a new field of study; since the beginning of the human race, we have been looking up and wondering what else is out there. There have been many attempts to explain what we see and make sense of it. Several individuals have made groundbreaking scientific discoveries and observations of space, and those famous astronomers laid the foundation for more advanced space exploration in the present day.
Among the most famous astronomers are Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking, and Edwin Hubble. Copernicus first proposed the idea that the sun, rather than Earth, is the center of the universe. Galileo further advanced this theory and studied much about celestial bodies such as our sun and the moons of Jupiter. Newton helped formulate the theory of gravity, which serves as a backbone of studying how solar systems, galaxies, and the universe are held together. Hawking uncovered many mysteries surrounding black holes. Hubble, after whom the famous Hubble telescope is named, studied many galaxies beyond ours.

Space Exploration

Humans are continuing to discover more information about the cosmos today. Observation of the sky beyond Earth takes place with telescopes that are becoming more advanced, space probes that journey into the sky and visit planets or other celestial bodies, and manned rocket flights into space. Physical exploration of space had its beginning in the mid-20th century when Russia launched a satellite into Earth’s orbit and the United States landed a man on the moon. Future plans for space exploration include space tourism and manned missions to places beyond Earth’s orbit.

Games and Activities for Students

If you’re interested in astronomy, you don’t have to wait until it’s dark out to explore the subject. There are plenty of games and activities that can help you learn more about what’s out there in the sky, both in and out of the classroom.

by HomeAdvisor


Read previous post:
Pic of Week

Helium Detected In Exoplanet For First Time Astronomers using the...

Contact Dave

News Editor - Media Liaison    Astro Space News Writer &...

Astronomy Nights at Your Place 

Astronomy Nights at Your Place  Ask Yourself Have You Ever…...