Guest post by Jessica Stoller-Conrad

Curious kids can come up with some pretty tough science questions.

“How many moons does Mars have?”
“How does a hurricane form?”
“What is the greenhouse effect?”

It’s great that these young scientists want to learn more about our planet and our place in the universe! But what happens when parents, teachers, and librarians don’t know the answers? As grownups, we know that we can look up the answers online, but it’s sometimes difficult to tell if a website is a reliable source of information. And it’s even harder for kids to tell the difference between a credible source and a less legitimate one.

NASA and NOAA produce three websites aimed at providing kids (and grownups) with reliable answers to just these types of questions about space and Earth science.

NASA Space Place –
NASA’s award-winning Space Place website engages upper-elementary-aged children in space and Earth science through games, hands-on activities, fun articles, and short videos. With material in both English and Spanish and numerous resources for parents and teachers, Space Place has something for everyone. Learn about how NASA missions are exploring everything from black holes and wild space weather to the reasons for seasons here on Earth. The website has material on space, the Sun, the Solar System, our own planet, and the scientists and technology that make discovery possible. If you want to keep up with the latest at NASA Space Place, you can also subscribe to the monthly newsletter:

NASA Climate Kids –
NASA’s Climate Kids website tells the story of our changing planet through the eyes of the NASA missions studying Earth. Targeting upper-elementary-aged children, the site is full of games, activities, and articles that make climate science accessible and engaging. On the website, kids, parents, and teachers can explore the differences between weather and climate, learn about how to keep our oceans healthy, and even how to make s’mores using the power of the Sun’s rays. Visitors to the site can also find out how global changes affect our planet over time using the interactive Climate Time Machine.

NOAA/NASA SciJinks –
NOAA/NASA SciJinks is a source for all things weather. Targeting middle school students, SciJinks teaches basic lessons about meteorology and Earth science through articles, games, and videos. Find out what scientists know about where lightning comes from and how hurricanes form. Learn about other curious weather phenomena such as firestorms, rainbow clouds, and lake effect snow. Visitors to the site can also watch videos to learn about the latest NOAA satellites. For example, have you ever wanted to know how a weather satellite is launched—and how it collects information and sends it down to weather forecasters on Earth? If you want to stay up to date with the recent weather news at SciJinks, you can also sign up for the monthly newsletter:

So, the next time a youngster stumps you with a tough question, head over to Space Place, Climate Kids, or SciJinks! And if you have any questions about our content, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.