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FOX offering free Cosmos lesson plans and cosmic calendar

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Has your family been watching Cosmos together as part of your science studies? Now there are more ways to extend the lessons.

FOX has released downloadable lesson plans for the first three episodes of the series, along with a printable full-color cosmic calendar.

Each lesson plan includes an overview and an episode summary, along with tools such as learning objectives, a list of relevant scenes from Cosmos, multiple lesson plans with instructions and materials needed, math components, discussion topics, online resources, proposed activities and subjects to explore more deeply.

The lesson plans posted so far include:

Episode 1, “Standing Up in the Milky Way,” tells the story of how the human species established our location in the vastness of the universe and the sweep of cosmic time. To further personalize the experience, we propose the following activities in order of increasing sophistication:

  • Find your own birthday on the Cosmic Calendar.
  • Earn a learner’s permit to drive your own Ship of the Imagination.
  • Select a destination in the cosmos, giving the coordinates in space and time. Present your research and write or draw a vision of what it would be like.

Episode 2, “Some of the Things That Molecules Do,” explores the relatedness of all life on Earth and science-based speculations on the possible evolution of life in the cosmic context. The proposed activities and discussion topics seek to deepen students understanding of the underlying concepts of the diversity of terrestrial life, artificial selection and natural selection, and the ways in which life here on Earth is tied to cosmic events.

Episode 3, “When Knowledge Conquered Fear,” depicts the friendship between Edmond Halley and Isaac Newton and its consequences for science. Episode 3 also explores humans’ ability for pattern recognition. The proposed activities and discussion topics seek to deepen students understanding of comets, the myths that once surrounded their appearance, false pattern recognition, and scientific prophecy.

The suggested grade level range is listed as grades 6-12, but the lessons could be adapted for younger children.

You can download the lesson plans and calendar here.

If you haven't caught the series yet, you can still watch it through some services such as here on Hulu. You can read a review of the series and learn more about it here.

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