Author Archives: davidvblack

About davidvblack

I teach courses in multimedia, 3D animation, Earth science, physics, biology, 8th grade science, chemistry, astronomy, engineering design, STEAM, and computer science in Utah. I've won numerous awards as an educator and am a frequent presenter at state and national educator conferences. I am part of the Teachers for Global Classrooms program through the U.S. Department of State and traveled to Indonesia in the summer of 2017 as an education ambassador. I learned of the Indonesian education system and taught classes in astronomy and chemistry at a high school near Banjarmasin in southern Borneo. I am passionate about STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics); science history; photography; graphic design; 3D animation; and video production. This Spaced-Out Classroom blog is for sharing lessons and activities my students have done in astronomy. The Elements Unearthed project (http://elementsunearthed.com) will combine my interests to document the discovery, history, sources, uses, mining, refining, and hazards of the chemical elements.

The Nearby Stars

A Tour of the Star Systems within 13.0 light years of Earth. As a media design teacher at Mountainland Applied Technology College from 2000-2009, I created an activity to teach layout design and desktop publishing software with students creating their … Continue reading

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I Have Loved the Stars

My first planetarium software was an old black and white program that ran on a Macintosh Classic computer. I have tried to find a reference for it, but can’t remember its name. As a physics teacher at Juab High School … Continue reading

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An Interview with Dr. Rakesh Mogul of NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection

The Office of Planetary Protection’s primary role is to minimize the biological contamination of the solar system that may result from human based exploration – robotic exploration and basic human exploration. Continue reading

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Selecting the Next Landing Site on Mars

An astronomy education activity for learning the features of Mars Continue reading

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Extremophiles: Earth Analogs for Alien Life

Astrobiologists have yet to find conclusive proof of life outside Earth, although tantalizing clues of the possibility of life do exist. Just this week, researchers announced the discovery of phosphine gas in the clouds of Venus. Phosphine is found in … Continue reading

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3D Printing Mars Terrains Using MOLA Data

Version 2 As a teacher or Mars enthusiast, have you ever wanted to 3D print custom Mars terrains? For example, as the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover prepares to land in Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021, would you like to … Continue reading

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An Interview with Dr. Chris McKay

Astrobiologist with NASA Ames Research Center Dr. Christopher P. McKay holds a PhD in AstroGeophysics from the University of Colorado, Boulder and his research interests focus on the evolution of our solar system and the origin of life. He studies … Continue reading

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Searching for Life Beyond

New Haven School, where I teach science, is a residential treatment center for girls who have experienced trauma and other challenges. During the summers, since we can’t send our students home until they have completed their treatment program, we hold … Continue reading

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Fifty Years Ago

It was a Sunday afternoon in July and I was nine years old. In my hometown of Deseret, Utah we attended our normal church meetings, going to Sunday School in the morning. Everyone was more excited and restless than usual. … Continue reading

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Launching the Washington Monument

Day Five of the Teacher Innovator Institute; Friday, July 19, 2019 Our day today was a bit lighter than the previous days because our evening would be busy. The big celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon … Continue reading

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