The National Science Foundation will start printing models of the solar system’s planets, moons, and stars to allow kids to explore them digitally and to understand their significance for the universe.
The new models, which will be used in educational programs and simulations, are part of NASA’s Next Generation Science and Exploration Technology program.
The program, launched in 2016, is focused on making learning more accessible, efficient, and affordable to the public, the agency said in a statement.
The Next Generation Technology initiative is a new initiative to make learning more cost-effective, flexible, and accessible to students through computerized, high-resolution imagery and visualization of the Earth.
The model printable, developed by NASA, is being used to help students develop their own digital models of Earth, which could be used as a reference guide for learning about other planets, satellites, stars, and other objects in the solar neighborhood.
The goal is to provide students with tools that allow them to engage with their knowledge in a way that allows them to create digital models that are accessible to the broader public, said Mike R. Sutter, director of NASAs Next Generation Sciences Division.
“In addition to the models that will be created through the Next Generation Physics, Solar System, and Exploration Technologies Program, the Next Gen Technology models will also be used to produce digital models for education, and as an alternative for educators who want to create educational materials that are easier for students to use,” Sutter said.
In addition, NASA will offer free download codes for the NextGen Science, Solar, and Earth Models in its online learning tools, and the models will be available through NASA’s online library.
“Students will have a simple way to use and understand the models, and teachers will be able to incorporate the models into lessons,” R. Michael Smith, director, Office of Science Education, said in the statement.
“They can use these models to help them understand the solar systems, their formation and evolution, and how their planetary systems may influence our own solar system.”
In the future, the models could also be printed on fabric or cardboard and placed in schools or classrooms to teach math and science, Sutter added.NASA will be distributing the printable models through educational agencies, such as the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution, the National Academy of Sciences, and more.