The video collection project
Digital media formats of .mov or .mp4 are preferred.
The topic(s) must be within the domain of accepted science.
The following written information must be supplied with the video, as part of the text of the email sent to Oded notifying him of its upload onto YouTube:
- Contact information for those producing the video
- Identification of video format
- Description of what is included on the video, i.e. the concept(s) and length(s), students and level (normal, advanced, or slow learners); situation for which the lesson is intended, i.e. planetarium, classroom, observatory session, or other space; and preparation of the students: What have they studied before this lesson? Is this an introduction to this topic?
- A statement saying that you release the content of your video for use by the IPS. IPS will share the video under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license, which means it (1) can be shared or redistributed, (2) can be remixed, transformed, and built upon and (3) cannot be used for any commercial purpose (i.e. others cannot make a profit from it).
- Oded’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Quality is important.
- Voice(s) should be clear, enthusiastic, well-paced and uninterrupted
- The video should be clear, bright, and always showing something, such as a face, models, the sky (i.e. no dark scenes or disembodied voices)
- The focus should be held on a face or model for a reasonable time (i.e. no super-quick pans back and forth).
Although a script is not necessary, we suggest that you practice to make your presentation smooth without long pauses.
- A music background probably will be distracting, so it is advisable not to have one, unless it has a special purpose in the lesson.
- Inevitably, a few small glitches will occur. That is all right. Remember that this is not a show production, but a video of a teaching situation that should be helpful to others.
The recording may be in any language, but please supply a written translation in English. Either we will place captions of key points at the bottom of the video screen, or you may add the captions yourself through YouTube (see below).
A discussion about pedagogy
An example sequence of topics for 8-year-olds visiting a planetarium for the first time at a location in the mid-Northern Hemisphere could be:
- introduction to the planetarium and what will be discussed in the lesson, including directions;
- appearance of the sun movement with speeded rotation in the daytime sky;
- the nature of the sun and the sun as a star;
- sunset and introduction to the night sky with stars and any planets;
- illustration of the difference between this sky and a sky with light pollution;
- discussion of characteristics of visible planets;
- major constellations of the night sky and a myth featuring one constellation;
- speeded Earth rotation at night with the appearance (perhaps discovery) of constellation movement;
- discovery of the apparent center of turning: the North Star Polaris for the Northern Hemisphere and the South Celestial Pole for a Southern-Hemisphere location;
- sunrise and conclusion. (Remember, this is just an example, and if you prepare a long sequenced lesson you should decide on your own situation and topics.)
Of course, the methods used and depth of discussion must vary with the types of students. Some topics have explanations that require high-level physics or math for full understanding. Many topics that have an Earth-based view component can be presented in the planetarium at an early age, although young students cannot yet completely understand the concept.
For example, the Earth-based view of the changing sun path can be learned by students at about 7-8. These students also can learn the “from-outer-space” view of the seasons, such as one provided by an orrery having the Earth with an inclined axis and the sun. However, most will not be able to integrate the two views to completely understand the seasons concept. This integrated understanding, called a “projective concept,” is difficult for many older learners as well.
I (Jeanne Bishop) discovered some years ago that only a few 13-year-old students, those who possessed innate advanced spatial ability (determined by administering a separate spatial test), were able to learn the projective concepts of seasons and lunar phases. (Ph.D dissertation:The Development and Testing of a Participatory Planetarium Unit Emphasizing Projective Astronomy Concepts and Utilizing the Karplus learning cycle, Student Model Manipulation, and Student Drawing with Eighth Grade Students, Jeanne E. Bishop, University of Pittsburgh, 1980).
Further, at a meeting of Ohio planetarians on April 11, 2015, at Bowling Green State University, host Dr. Dale Smith noted that most of his college students do not learn the projective concept of seasons.
The difficulty that students have in forming projective astronomy topics is something for us all to keep in mind as we plan our lessons. It should be noted that research is beginning to show that using optimal methods in fulldome planetariums may accelerate the acquisition of projective concepts by young students.
The given recommended ages are determined by some research, much experience with students in the US, and extrapolations based on Piaget’s studies of the development of spatial and logical-thinking ability. New research projects which test these recommendations for understanding each topic within specific environments (including fulldome planetariums) and different worldwide locations are needed.
Suggested Topics for Video Presentations
In spite of its length, this is not an exhaustive list of possible astronomy and astronomy-related topics. You may want to teach a lesson on classical or another culture’s mythology applied to sky objects or music inspired by planets, other sky bodies, and sky motions.
Many disciplines, including mathematics, history, geography, and perceptual psychology can be linked with astronomy in all types of planetariums. The possibilities are endless in fulldome planetariums.
1. The celestial sphere and its points and circles (age 10 and up)
2. Azimuth and altitude; the horizon-based system of location (10 and up)
3. Earth rotation; day and night (6 and up)
4. Dark sky; light pollution (5 and up)
5. Earth revolution, seasons. Changing sun path (rise and set azimuth and noon altitude, day length for a particular latitude at the start of each season (7 and up) ; changing constellations with the seasons (9 and up)
6. Constellations: seasonal at a particular latitude; circumpolar stars (5 and up)
7. The sky at different latitudes: different daily sun paths; the midnight sun and polar night; different daily star, moon and planet paths. (10 and up)
8. The sky at different latitudes: parallel sphere of Earth rotation (poles),vertical sphere of Earth rotation (equator) and oblique sphere of Earth rotation (mid-latitudes); different constellations visible (10 and up)
9. Lunar phases (7 and up) and motions (10 and up)
10. Lunar and solar eclipses (10 and up)
11. Planet positions (6 and up), motions and configurations (10 and up)
12. Star magnitude (10 and up) and colors (6 and up)
13. Local time and zone time, with longitude and latitude (10 and up)
14. Right ascension and declination (equatorial based system of location)(14 and up)
15. Sidereal time (14 and up)
16. Celestial navigation: modern and historical (14 and up)
17. Precession (14 and up)
19. Historical events and the appearance of the sky at those times (8 and up)
20. Comets, meteors and meteor showers (6 and up)
21. Auroras (5 and up)
The following topics are ones that would particularly benefit from the fulldome environment. All topics in the list above and the lists below will benefit from three-dimensional models and auxiliary visuals
22. Historical ideas of the universe: geocentric, heliocentric, Tychonic (14 and up)
23. Size of the universe: history of ideas, light time, parallax, Cepheid variables, standard candles (14 and up, although limited scale, such as relative sizes and distances within the solar system, can begin at 7)
24. The Big Bang: changes in the early universe, expansion of the universe, how we know Big Bang occurred and when (14 and up)
25. Dark matter (14 and up)
26. Dark energy (14 and up)
27. Physical features of the sun, planets, dwarf planets, moons, asteroids, meteoroids (6 and up)
28. Important historical and current space programs (8 and up)
29. Exoplanets: methods of discovery; the Kepler program; what learned; speculations on life elsewhere (10 and up)
30. Physical features of different stars (10 and up)
31. The H-R Diagram (14 and up)
32. Stellar evolution (different mass stars) (10 and up)
33. Supernovae (types) (10 and up)
34. Black holes/neutron stars/pulsars (10 and up)
35. Galaxies: differences, origin and evolution, quasars (14 and up)
The following are basic science, engineering, and technology topics important to astronomy. One or more might be taught with an astronomy topic. Alternatively, a couple of the following topics might be taught together.
36. Scientific method (10 and up)
37. Electromagnetic spectrum: waves, wave speed, wave energy, atmospheric Interaction; inverse square law; Doppler shifts of approaching and receding sources (12-14 and up)
38. Spectra: how produced; information (14 and up)
39. Nature of gravity, Newton’s laws of forces, four forces of the universe (14 and up)
40. Relativity and relativistic effects (14 and up)
41. Telescopes: types, how they work, powers, history, how telescopes have changed understanding (10 and up)
42. Satellites and orbits, space probes and trajectories (14 and up)
43. Atoms, elements, origin of H and He in the Big Bang and other elements in aging and exploding stars (14 and up)
44. Nuclear fusion (within aging stars) (14 and up)
45. Nuclear fission (radioactive elements created in supernovae; provide ways to date events) (14 and up)
46. Geologic time and history (10-12 and up)
47. Evolution (biological) (12-14 and up)
48. Pressure and temperature Relationships (14 up)
49. Gravity and pressure relationships (important to stable and unstable stars) (14 up)
A quick tutorial on how to produce a video
You can produce the video yourself, or, if you feel your skills aren’t up to the task, then perhaps you can collaborate with your school’s IT department or media class for assistance. This would provide a learning opportunity for your school as well.
If you’re at a university planetarium or with a museum or large facility, check with your marketing department to see if videos are within their ability. University communication departments (or videography classes or something similar) also would be a place to check.
For smaller stand-alone sites and portable planetariums not associated with a large facility, your local school district would be the place to check.
General hints and help:
Introduce yourself and your topic at the beginning of your video presentation. You can record your presentation in the planetarium or an alternate location if you feel the conditions are better.
In order to avoid “talking heads,” have some close ups of the person presenting. Try to include short video clips of things pertinent to your topic. For example, these could be NASA photos, equipment, books you use, etc. Be aware of copyright law if using protected material. Make sure you have consent if you are photographing students or others.
You can later edit these video clips together to make a smooth presentation. Don’t forget to narrate the video clips so they will flow together smoothly after editing. If possible, use a microphone while recording. Poor audio greatly reduces the quality of your presentation.
When recording any video, start the recording a few seconds before you start talking. When finished, leave a few seconds at the end. This will make it easier to edit and the blanks can be removed during editing.
When your video has been recorded, use an editing application so you can cut and paste clips together in the order you want and eliminate unwanted scenes. There are many free editors available, even for your smart phone.
You can do several things to improve the quality of your video:
- Use a tripod, beanbag, or flat surface to stabilize your recording device. If your camera has image stabilization, make sure it is on.
- Make sure you have plenty of light in the location you choose for recording (unless you are using an infrared recording device in low light, of course). You might be able to use an overhead projector or similar equipment as a light source if you do not have photo lamps.
- Pick a quiet environment. If there is an interruption, simply re-record that portion.
If you’re using a phone camera:
Turn your camera on its side to capture the video in a horizontal, rather than vertical, format. Be sure to use the rear high definition camera on your phone to capture the best quality.
In addition to a beanbag or tripod stabilization, there also are “selfie sticks” that have camera holders that unscrew and can be mounted on a tripod with your camera. Do an online search for sources.
Stay close (within 6 feet) of your subject when recording, as this will improve both audio and video quality.
Most phone cameras have a digital zoom feature that is activated by spreading or pinching the image on the screen. Zooming in actually reduces the quality of your image, so try to minimize its use.
Using a camcorder or digital camera:
Before recording, turn on image stabilization if your device provides it. As with all methods, use a tripod or other device to reduce camera movement.
Select the 1080 video resolution on your camera before recording your video. Cameras often provide several resolutions from which to choose, i.e. 460, 720, 1080. If you do not have 1080, select the highest available resolution.
Consider using a microphone during your recording to improve the audio quality, if your camera is equipped for one.
Optical zoom lenses (as opposed to just a digital zoom feature) can be very helpful, particularly when your subject is some distance from the camera. However, try to avoid excess zooming, as this quickly can become a distraction. Use a slow, steady zoom rather than a quick zoom. Optical zoom lenses do not reduce the quality of your video like digital zooms do.
If the video is less than 15 mb, it can be emailed directly to Oded at email@example.com.
If it is larger, it can be submitted through YouTube.
In order to upload your video to YouTube, you must first sign up for an account (if you don’t already have one, of course). This is a fairly simple procedure. Go to www.youtube.com and click “sign in.” If you don’t have a Google account (because YouTube is a Google subsidiary), select “new account” and follow the steps. Here is a link that explains the process: www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_y7rrfftbk&feature=youtu.be.
Select a descriptive title for your project and precede it with the letters IPS followed by a space. As an example, your project on how you teach moon phases might have a name like IPS BishopMoonPhases.
Choose “upload.” It may take a long time for the upload to complete, especially if your video is long.
If you would like, you may add captions on your own. If you do the captions in English, YouTube will convert them to any one of 60 other languages that may be selected by the viewer. You write the captions, upload them to YouTube, select your previously-uploaded video file and merge the captions. Refer to the following for instructions for captioning: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K4WJs94FfY.
YouTube will generate a url for your video. Please copy it and send it to Oded to let him know the video is available. This also is the time to send to him the submission requirements (see beginning of this text). Oded will let you know if the video has been accepted or not.
Graphics from phillipmartin.com