Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Teaching Tools

Every now and then, science teachers need to find a reliable and scientifically sound video or movie to show their classes. Perhaps a lesson needs enhancement or students need another way to hear the topic in order to fully absorb and understand the material. Movies and videos are also great for when teachers need to plan for a substitute to take over the class for a day or two. However, sometimes it is hard to find videos or movies that can fill in the holes in a way that is accessible and entertaining.

Thankfully, in 2014, the Fox broadcasting network aired a 13 episode television series called Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Not only was the science accurate and accessible for all levels of learners, but the series was hosted by the extremely likable, yet brilliant, Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. His honest and energetic approach to what can be complicated or "boring" topics for students will keep them entertained as they listen and learn about important historical and current topics in science.

With each episode clocking in at around 42 minutes, the show is just the right length for a normal high school class period (or half of a block scheduling period). There are episodes for just about every type of science class and some that are relevant to being a good scientific citizen in this world. Below is a list of viewing worksheets that can be used as an assessment after the students finish the episodes, or as a note taking worksheet as they watch. Each episode title is followed by a list of topics and historical scientists discussed in the episode. There is also a suggestion for what types of science classes each episode would work best to show them in. Feel free to use the viewing worksheets by copying and pasting the questions and tweaking them to fit your classroom's needs.

of 13

Standing Up in the Milky Way - Episode 1

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (ep 101). FOX

Topics in this Episode: The Earth's "Cosmic Address", The Cosmic Calendar, Bruno, Expanse of Space and Time, The Big Bang Theory

Best for: Physics, Astronomy, Earth Science, Space Science, Physical Science

of 13

Some of the Things That Molecules Do - Episode 2

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (ep 102). FOX

 Topics in this Episode: Evolution, evolution in animals, DNA, mutations, natural selection, human evolution, tree of life, evolution of the eye, history of life on Earth, mass extinctions, Geologic Time Scale

Best for: Biology, Life Sciences, Biochemistry, Earth Science, Anatomy, Physiology

of 13

When Knowledge Conquered Fear - Episode 3

Cosmos: A Spactime Odyssey (episode 103). Daniel Smith/FOX

 Topics in this Episode: History of Physics, Isaac Newton, Edmond Halley, Astronomy and comets

Best for: Physics, Physical Science, Astronomy, Earth Science, Space Science

of 13

A Sky Full of Ghosts - Episode 4

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 104. Richard Foreman Jr./FOX

 Topics in this Episode: William Herschel, John Herschel, distance in space, gravity, black holes

Best for: Astronomy, Space Science, Physics, Physical Science, Earth Science

of 13

Hiding in the Light - Episode 5

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 105. FOX

 Topics in this Episode: Science of light, Mo Tzu, Alhazen, William Herschel, Joseph Fraunhofer, Optics, Quantum Physics, Spectral Lines

Best for: Physics, Physical Science, Astrophysics, Astronomy, Chemistry

of 13

Deeper Deeper Deeper Still - Episode 6

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 106. Richard Foreman Jr./FOX

Topics in this Episode: Molecules, Atoms, Water, Neutrinos, Wolfgang Pauli, Supernova, Energy, Matter, Sense of Smell, Law of Conservation of Energy, The Big Bang Theory

Best for: Chemistry, Physics, Physical Science, Astronomy, Earth Science, Space Science, Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology

of 13

The Clean Room - Episode 7

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 107. FOX

 Topics in this Episode: Age of the Earth, Clare Patterson, lead contamination, clean rooms, lead fuels, skewed data, Public Policies and Science, Companies and science data

Best for: Earth Science, Space Science, Astronomy, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Physics

of 13

Sisters of the Sun - Episode 8

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 108. FOX

 Topics in this Episode: Women scientists, categorization of stars, constellations, Annie Jump Cannon, Cecelia Payne, the Sun, life and death of stars

Best for: Astronomy, Earth Science, Space Science, Physics, Astrophysics

of 13

The Lost Worlds of Earth - Episode 9

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 9. Richard Foreman Jr./FOX

Topics in this Episode: History of life on Earth, evolution, the oxygen revolution, mass extinctions, geologic processes, Alfred Wegener, the Theory of Continental Drift, human evolution, global climate change, human impact on the Earth

Best for: Biology, Earth Science, Environmental Science, Biochemistry

of 13

The Electric Boy - Episode 10

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 10. FOX

 Topics in this Episode: Electricity, Magnetism, Michael Faraday, electric motors, John Clark Maxwell, technological advances in science

Best for: Physics, Physical Science, Engineering

of 13

The Immortals - Episode 11

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 11. FOX

Topics in this Episode: DNA, Genetics, atoms recycling, origin of life on Earth, life in outer space, Cosmic Calendar of the future

Best for: Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Biochemistry

of 13

The World Set Free - Episode 12

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 12. Daniel Smith/FOX

 Topics in this Episode: Global climate change and fighting the misconceptions and arguments against it, history of clean energy sources

Best for: Environmental Science, Biology, Earth Science (Note: this episode should be required viewing for everyone, not just science students!)

of 13

Unafraid of the Dark - Episode 13

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 13. FOX

 Topics in this Episode: Outer space, dark matter, dark energy, cosmic rays, Voyager I and II missions, searching for life on other planets

Best for: Astronomy, Physics, Earth Science, Space Science, Astrophysics