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Digital Age Story Books: Connect Your Students to NASA Missions!

iMAGINETICspace book

About This Project:

NASA and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) teamed up to create a host of free STEM-based resources within 2 digital age storybooks and online teacher companions/guides designed to help students learn about NASA's missions currently studying the sun and it's effects on Earth. Emphasis is given to one of NASA's newest missions: The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission.

Educators can use these resources to:

  • Help students learn more about NASA's missions through a variety of inquiry and engineering-based experiences primarily for grades 4-8.
  • Engage students in ISTE Standards-ready research and engineering-design activities.
  • Seamlessly connect students to scientific study with real-world significance.
  • Drive computational thinking skills.
  • Enable students to become a citizen scientist.

Resource Overview:

Both digital age story books, ‘iMaginetic Space and the MMS Big Data Book’ are supported by online teacher companion resources that guide educators through the science of the activities, technology integration activities for students, and the connection to both national science standards and the ISTE Standards for digital age teaching and learning.

The iMaginetic Space storybook follows Marc, a student studying space weather, in his quest to become a NASA junior researcher. As he learns about the science of electricity and magnetism, he is able to relate these new concepts to the MMS Mission and the study of magnetic reconnection.

The MMS Big Data Book continues this storyline while introducing a new character, Cindy. Marc and Cindy quickly realize that there is much more to explore! However, it would take them years to collect enough information to make informed hypotheses and predictions about space weather around the globe. It becomes clear that scientists can't work in isolation while collecting and analyzing data. Marc and Cindy's next challenge becomes, “How can junior researchers collect and, more importantly, share the data they have collected to better contribute as Citizen Scientists?”

Scope & Sequence:

The content of the MMS Big Data Book represents a continuation of the activities and concepts that were first introduced in iMaginetic Space, a digital age storybook designed to help students learn about NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission through a variety of inquiry and engineering-based experiences. Both activity books are intended to complement each another, but are also created to stand-alone.

Downloadable Student Books and Online Teacher Guides:

iMAGINETICspace Student Activity Book
iMAGINETICspace Student Activity Book (PDF)
Get your students involved in the MMS mission by downloading this challenge-based activity book. Students will join Marc in his journey to become a Junior Researcher while learning about and experimenting with the concepts of electricity and magnetism. The activity book also provides some design challenges for students to understand the complexities involved with how to assemble a mission that will collect data on space weather and its impact on our Earth.

iMAGINETICspace Teacher Companion
iMAGINETICspace Teacher Companion. (Online) Maximize your students' learning potential. The teacher's companion includes:
  • Interactive content from NASA's MMS Mission and Space Weather Action network websites.
  • Tutorials that demonstrate how to conduct the lab activities and modify extension activities for a broad range of students with various backgrounds and experience. This broadens the range of student ages suitable for this instruction, making learning activities simpler for younger students and more complex for students who excel at the STEM disciplines.
  • Lesson and experiment extensions aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and the ISTE Standards.
  • Self-paced professional development tools for teachers seeking to enhance their digital age teaching skills.

MMS Big Data Student Book and Teacher Companion:

Big Data Student Activity Book.
MMS Big Data Student Activity Book. (PDF) This resource will help students become citizen scientists through activities and explorations that teach them how to:
  • Mine the vast world of rich data that exists publicly for scientists to use.
  • Find trends and patterns and correlate data that help to make predictions.
  • Collect and share data using collaborative tools so that more citizen scientists can benefit from the work of other teams.
  • Share digital artifacts and evidence of experimentation with the wider scientific community.

Big Data Teacher Companion
MMS Big Data Teacher Companion. (Online)
The student activity book is supported by an online teacher resource that guides educators through the science of each of the activities, offers technology integration activities for students, and aligns with both national science standards and the ISTE Standards.

Additional MMS Educational Resources:


The iMAGINETICspace Student Transmedia Book was a massive collaborative effort that was first conceived at the National Technology Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 2011. The ideas were the collective effort of David Slykhuis, Troy Cline, David Thornburg, Cecilia Lenk, Randy Bell, Michael Spector, and Willy Kjellstrom. David Slykhuis (Associate Professor, James Madison University) and Troy Cline (MMS E/PO Mission Lead, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center) completed authoring the storyline and design activities to bring the book into its current form. The International Society of Educational Technology (ISTE) team later transformed the iPad version of the book into an online Google Book accessible from any location with an internet connection.

The iMAGINETICspace Educators Companion and MMS Big Data Book resources resulted from an ongoing partnership between the MMS team and the International Society of Educational Technology (ISTE). We would like to give a special thanks to ISTE team members who brought these resources to life: Sherry Bosch (ISTE Producer), Carolyn Sykora (ISTE Producer), Ben Smith (Red Lion Area High School Physics Teacher, EdTechInnovators consultant, Author), Jared Mader (Director of Educational Technology, EdTechInnovators consultant, Author).

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) is the premier nonprofit organization serving educators and education leaders committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world. ISTE serves more than 100,000 education stakeholders throughout the world. Membership with ISTE is a powerful way for educators to connect with peers, share knowledge and ideas, and help lead the transformation of education. ISTE also offers innovative ed tech resources to support professional learning for educators and education leaders.

Others deserving thanks for their time and effort working on the book:

  • From James Madison University: Casey Siron, Marc McCann, and Shelby Kardon.
  • From Harrisonburg City Schools: Carol Hall, Sarah Arenas, Ashley Lambert, Richard Frutuozo, Andy Jackson, and Amy Sabarre.
  • From the University of Virginia: Glen Bull, Daniel Tillman, and Crystal DeJaegher.
  • From Goddard Space Flight Center: The MMS Education and Public Outreach team including Thomas Moore, Guan Le and Mark Adrian.
  • Graphics and Layout: Jeff DeJaegher