Last Updated: 15 September 2009

Teresa J. Kennedy, Ph.D.
The following information was compiled for the
NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium and S2N2

 Originally published for the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP)
The Universe in the Classroom.
January 2003.

 Contents of the original article have also been described in the following publications:

TESOL Publication, December 2006. “Making Content Connections Online via the GLOBE Program.”
In E. Hanson-Smith & S. Rilling (Eds.), Computers in the Language Classroom: From Theory to Practice, Chapter 7.

Foreign Language Annuals, Volume 39, No. 3, Fall 2006. "Language Learning and Its Impact on the Brain: Connecting Language Learning
with the Mind Through Content-based Instruction." The Journal of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

LINGO, Summer 2004. The Newsletter of the Pacific Northwest Council for Languages (PNCFL).

Learning Languages, Volume 9, No. 2, Spring 2004.  "NASA Products for the Content-based Language Classroom." 
The Journal of the National Network for Early Language Learning. 

El Noticiero de NASA, Volume 1, No. 1, October 2003.  NASA Headquarters, Code N.

S'COOL Breeze, September 2003. Langley Research Center.

NASA Voyages Education and Public Outreach Newsletter, May 2003. NASA Headquarters,
Office of Space Science EP/O.

NASA ESE Education Update Newsletter, February 2003. Earth Science Enterprise Education
Program Implementation, Goddard Space Flight Center.


NASA Content-Based Resources for Language Classrooms


The NASA homepage contains a wealth of information for the educational community. Using NASA materials in other languages provides teachers working with English Language Learners (ELLs) the opportunity to assist their students to acquire English literacy skills in the regular classroom while at the same time provides these students with access to high-quality science information in their first language.  These materials also enhance the curriculum of the traditional content-based foreign language classroom and are targeted at all ages.  NASA materials have been translated into many languages including Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Thai.  For NASA materials in many different languages see or for selected highlights in Spanish see

The K12 student body found in many U.S. schools currently represents a large growth in the number of students whose native language is not English.  Moreover, figures released in January 2003 by the Census Bureau reported that the Hispanic population, the nation's largest minority group, is roughly at 37 million, up 37% from Census 2000. The number of ELLs in U.S. schools continues to rise (see ata/2001/index.html. NASA education materials are the means to create an enriched science program that actively includes all students in the school regardless of their first language, enhances the academic achievements of the entire student body, integrates literacy skills in reading and writing with scientific inquiry, and specifically provides ELLs the opportunity to learn grade level curriculum.  In addition, NASA materials in other languages are wonderful resources that can also be used at Family Science Nights to involve the whole community as well as provide a means for family members who speak little or no English the opportunity to become involved in their child’s education.

During National Hispanic Heritage Month in September 2007, the National Science Foundation (NSF) began a three year project to produce 600 one-minute science radio spots in Spanish that feature the latest science news as well as answers listeners' science questions in Spanish through the program "Cielo y Tierra." 

NASA Resources in Spanish and Other Languages

Many NASA resources translated into the Spanish language, as well as in many other languages, can be found online, at NASA Space Centers and at NASA Educator Resource Centers scattered across the United States. Many of these resources have been aligned with national standards, appropriate state frameworks and inquiry guidelines. The National Science Foundation (NSF) also supports the translation of many innovative classroom materials. Three highlighted sources are listed below followed by over 50 additional links to bilingual science materials and programs.

  • Ciencia@nasa, the Spanish-language companion to NASA's award-winning Science@NASA Web site, features stories from all fields of science, aeronautics and aerospace. Educators can subscribe to a mailing list and receive regular lessons, also posted online in Spanish, at This site contains information regarding space sciences, astronomy, living in space, earth science, as well as physical and biological sciences.
  • The Astronomical Society of the Pacific has written the new resource (Fall 2006) "Mercury, Its time has come."  This Web site is a must see and contains fantastic information on the mission to Mercury and how to safely observe the transit with your students. View the English language version at and view the Spanish language version at
  • The National Optical Astronomy Observatory Center (NOAO) has created the Spanish Language Astronomy Materials Education Center with funding by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  The Center has archived over 500 science resources translated into the Spanish language, many resources funded by NASA.  The Centro de Materiales Educativos en Español en NOAO can be found online at

In addition, many NASA Centers provide language translations of their educational products. Below is an extensive listing of available resources by NASA Center as well as other bilingual science resources and programs. It is important to note that periodically the location of these educational resource materials move. Please report link errors that you may encounter to <> so that problematic links can be corrected. 

AMES Research Center (Moffett Field, California)

Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, Maryland)

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, California)

Johnson Space Center (Houston, Texas) has been working collaboratively on various bilingual projects in Texas.

Langley Research Center (Hampton, Virginia)

  • NASA’s Kids Science News Network is a Web and video-based program using 1-minute video newsbreaks featuring kids teaching kids about mathematics, science, and technology. KSNN™ corrects science misconceptions and provides answers to kids’ questions about their world (such as “Why is the sky blue?”). The Web site provides teachers and parents with supporting content, hands-on activities, related resources, a computer-graded quiz, and links to educational web sites. The series targets grades K2 and 35 and is available in English and in Spanish at
  • Hispanic Astronauts at NASA
  • Latina Woman of NASA
  • NASA's Destination Tomorrow, a 30-minute program series for grades 918, parents, and lifelong learners, and heightens interest in mathematics, science, technology, and NASA. The series serves as a mechanism for involving parents in their children's education. This series is produced in English and "dubbed" in Spanish.
  • The Solar Web site found at is available in pages in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese or German by installing the "Babel Fish" on your browser.
  • NASA Langley Center for Distance Learning offers many of their award-winning instructional programs in Spanish in order to inspire the next generation of Hispanics to become future engineers and scientists.
  • Noticiencias NASA, designed for K5 students, is a Spanish-language, research-inquiry, standards-based and technology-focused program designed to introduce young Hispanics to the world of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, NASA missions and research.  The series is also broadcasting on Saturday mornings on Univision in Puerto Rico.
  • NASA’s SCIence Files™ (Grades 35) is a series of instructional programs integrating broadcast, print, and on-line elements. The series seeks to motivate students to become critical thinkers and active problem solvers. Each 60-minute program includes a teacher’s guide and web-based activities and materials. This Emmy®-award-winning series combines standards-based instruction with problem-based learning for explorations in mathematics, science, and technology.
  • NASA CONNECT™ (Grades 68) is a series of instructional programs integrating science and technology with mathematical concepts via broadcast, print, and on-line elements. Each 30-minute program emphasizes specific web-based, hands-on activities to ensure students understand and relate the on-screen information to their work in the classroom.  For an example of what NASA CONNECT™  has to offer see Functions and Statistics: Dressed for Space, a NASA Connect Lesson Guide that corresponds to the 2002-2003 NASA Connect Series.
    See for a special feature article regarding a NASA CONNECT episode filmed in France!
  • NASA LIVE™ (Grades 512) is a series of free, standards-based videoconferencing programs.  The programs emphasize the connection between science, technology, engineering, mathematics and NASA . They also increase awareness of careers in these fields. NASA LIVE™ invites educators and students to participate in an interactive, virtual setting without time spent away from the classroom. NASA LIVE™ is ISDN-based and IP-based.
  • NASA Langley Hispanic Education Outreach

Marshall Space Flight Center (Huntsville, Alabama)

  • A Little Rock on Mars is a story dedicated to the Mars Pathfinder Team and is translated into Spanish, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Czech, Catalan, French, and Italian.

Stennis Space Center (South Mississippi)

NASA's International Programs providing educational materials in many languages

  • The CERES S'COOL Project
    The CERES S'COOL Project involves K–12 students in real science as they provide atmospheric measurements taken specifically for the purposes of verifying satellite data. In this program, students are working as scientists to assist in the validation of the CERES instrument by comparing the surface- and space-based observations to learn more about clouds, climate and the ways in which clouds may affect the Earth's climate.
    The Web site contains mirror sites in French, German, Italian, Spanish and Thai can be seen at
  • The International GLOBE Program
    The GLOBE Program is a hands-on environmental science and education program designed for use in K–16 classrooms. GLOBE is a world-wide network of students, teachers and scientists from over 18,000 schools in 109 different countries and focuses on activities that complement studies in science, mathematics, technology, social studies, and literacy through investigation areas in atmosphere, hydrology, land cover biology, and soils. Because GLOBE is a worldwide program, their Web site contains authentic materials ready for classroom implementation available in all six United Nations’ languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish), and at least part of the GLOBE Teacher’s Guide is now available in Dutch, German, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, and Thai, with many other materials becoming available in other languages through GLOBE’s international partners. Elementary GLOBE books (K4) also provide additional bilingual resources for literacy teachers. For information about how GLOBE can be used in the language classroom see or

NASA and NOAA collaborations

  • El Niño Web sites in both Spanish and Portuguese Languages can be found at and
  • Tropical Weather Outlooks in Spanish
  • Hurricane Awareness in Spanish
  • SciJinks at is a new, highly interactive Web site  launched by NASA and NOAA to document the Nimbus 1, a whimsical blimp-like weather lab in the sky.  The site provides information about the GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites) operated by NOAA and how their orbits allow them to hover over the same spot on Earth keeping a watch on our environment. The objectives of the site are to provide “science fun for middle-schoolers, run the Bad Weather Joke Machine, write Wild Weather Stories, travel the World of Weather Folklore, take a Weather Challenge, prepare your family to weather any disaster, learn how to do a weather science fair project”, and more. SciJinks plans to eventually add other topics related to technology and space and Earth sciences.  Not yet translated to Spanish but in process.
  • NOAA posters in Spanish:
    El Niño and related posters---Contact the NOAA office of public and constituent affairs outreach unit 1305 East West Highway, Room 1W514  Silver Springs, Maryland  20901.


NASA Core manages the distribution of many educational materials that can be purchased and a complete catalog can be viewed at where you can also easily conduct a search of the catalog using the keyword “Spanish”.  Titles translated
in Spanish to date include:

  • Winning:  Aerospace—The Next Decade is a 20-minute video targeted at students introduces students in grades 712 to the unique career opportunities in America's aerospace industry.
  • Nuestra Propia Estrella el Sol - This is the Spanish version of the easy-to-read book Our Very Own Star: the Sun that can also be used in a basic bilingual or Spanish classroom.  Item number:  300.1-14P, 2002. Cost: $ 3.00
  • Our Solar System is a 29 minute video that teaches the names, orbital positions, and characteristics of each planet using the phrase "my very educated mother just served us nine pizza pies”, for grades K4. Each tape contains four versions of the program: English, Spanish, sign language, and open captioned for the Hearing Impaired
  • Star Gaze: Hubble's View of the Universe. Star Gaze is a DVD that contains over an hour of images of the universe from the Hubble Space Telescope in 2000, plus Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound music from 2002 and provides in depth facts and details about the telescope and what it has found so far.
  • NASA Destination Tomorrow™ 2000-2001 5-PART SERIES is a 30-minute educational program in Spanish, designed for educators, parents, and lifelong learners by NASA's Center for Distance Learning.

Other Bilingual Programs and Science Resources

Challenger Learning Centers
Challenger’s e-Missions connect Mission Control with classrooms anywhere in the world for unique, interactive learning adventures that allow teachers to utilize technology. Challenger’s e-Missions are a motivating way to engage students with the power of math and science in real-life situations. Working in teams, students apply their critical thinking skills to make recommendations that may potentially save lives. Prior to the mission, students complete classroom “training” activities to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.  

The Challenger Learning Center in San Antonio offers a Bilingual Space Mission, a unique Spanish language immersion activity. Students fly a two-hour simulated space mission en Español. Students are assigned as astronauts working in the Space Station and as controllers in Mission Control. They perform duties as Navigation officers, Life Support, Communications, Space Probe, Biomedical, Remote, Isolation, and Data teams. All briefings and communications are conducted in Spanish.  For more information see

Student Contests (Spanish and English)
The VinnyTM Awards is a contest to produce a one minute video that explains how Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics (STEM) is being used or can be used to help solve a global problem. Exam ples of such problems include pollution or food distribution. Teams of students work with a teacher and a mentor to research a global problem and ways that STEM is or can be used to help solve the problem. You might want to pick a problem that has an impact on your community or is of concern to you and people you know. The team then brainstorms about how to explain the problem and solution to 4th graders with a video, and then produces the video. The team submits the video and other materials. For more information see:

UCAR--University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

  • Meteorological materials in Spanish
  • Window to to the Universe includes documents, images, movies, animations, and data sets that explore the Earth and Space sciences and the historical and cultural ties between science, exploration and the human experience.  The site is written in three reading levels and is available in English and Spanish.   

Infoastro:  The planetarium of Pamplona, Spain.

Assorted Children’s Bilingual Science Books:
The Barahona Center – NSTA Recommended content area books in Spanish.  
Click on recommended books and under SUBJECT type "science" limiting your search by GRADE LEVEL (from Grade K
Grade 3 or from Grade 5Grade 8).  


NASA has assigned Aerospace Education Specialists (AESP) and Educator Resource Center (ERC) representatives in every U.S. state who are eager to assist you with locating and implementing materials in your classroom.  AESP representatives will visit your school to speak to you and your students.  For more information see and also visit NASA’s ERCN Web site at to find a complete listing of all Educator Resource Centers by state as well as those located on or near NASA Field Centers or at planetariums, museums, colleges, universities, and other non-profit organizations around the United States where you can obtain free NASA educational materials for your classroom as well as information regarding educational training workshops.

On a final note, NASA also provides opportunities for digital learning and video conferencing that can walk you and your students through life a size mock up of the Space Station as well as opportunities for video conferencing with astronauts of which many speak languages other than English. For more information see  Please note that the programs are presented in English and interpretation to any other language would need to take place on the requester's end.

Remember, NASA posters, lithographs and teaching materials have great potential for inspiring students to conduct in depth discussions and to practice their language skills. The sample resources below can be used to initiate many activities with your language students!

--International Space Station Modules
Human Space Flight (HSF) - Orbital Tracking 
(Locate the Space Station) 
(Space Station News)

--Suited for Space (Astronaut)

--NASA Night Sky poster:  For explanations about how the poster can be used see or

--NOAA Night Sky poster:

--GLOBE at Night An international event for students to observe and record visible stars as a means of measuring light pollution in a given location during the week of 821 March 2007.

In addition, NASA Explores provides free weekly K12 educational articles and lesson plans on current NASA projects that can be easily accessed through an internal search engine. Printable and downloadable, these supplemental curriculum resources meet national educational standards in science (NSTA), mathematics (NCTM), technology (ISTE, ITEA), and geography (NGS).

About the Author     
Dr. Teresa Kennedy, Director of the International Division for NASA's GLOBE Program, and former NASA Office of Space Science (OSS) Idaho Broker Facilitator for S2N2 (NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium and Space Science Network Northwest), has been assembling this collection of NASA and related materials translated into Spanish and other languages since 1996. She is a Professor of Bilingual/ELL/STEM Education at the University of Texas at Tyler, and has been working with the NASA Education Team since 1996, serving as the Director of the NASA Regional Educator Resource Center for the University of Idaho (19972003), the NASA OSS Broker Facilitator for the State of Idaho (20012003), and as a member of the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium (19962003).  She also served as the Co-Director of the Idaho GLOBE Partnership (19962003), the Deputy Chief Educator and Assistant Director of U.S. Partnerships for the GLOBE Program at their former headquarters office in Washington D.C. (20022003); as well as the Director of GLOBE International/U.S. Partnerships and Outreach (20032006), and as the Deputy Director for the GLOBE Program (2007-2009) at their headquarters office at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. She currently directs the International Division of the GLOBE Program from UT Tyler, also serving as the U.S. Country Coordinator for GLOBE, the Director of the GLOBE North America Regional Office and GLOBE International Help Desk serving the GLOBE community in 111 countries.  Dr. Kennedy continues to teach online courses related to bilingual STEM education as well as collaborate with the Idaho Space Grant Consortium and the S2N2 Network.  

NASA’s international education programs provide the opportunity for integrated language and content instruction, weaving interdisciplinary lessons in science, mathematics, social studies, language arts and world cultures into everyday classroom teaching through extensive Web environments.  This resource list, intended for use in language classrooms, is constantly being updated so check the Web site often as new materials are being identified all the time!  
Teresa J. Kennedy