Open your eyes, get up off your chair. There's so much to do in the sunlight.
The Monkees

Welcome to the Everyday Classroom Tools web site!

For the past three years, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory has worked with elementary schools in Massachusetts to develop an integrated, inquiry-inspiring curriculum framework that brings science and the Internet into the everyday life of the elementary classroom. Our goal has been to infuse the Spirit of Inquiry into every school subject, so that students and teachers can approach learning as a life-long exploration of the world around us.

The result of our efforts is embodied in the "Threads of Inquiry: Observing the World Around Us", a series of ten hands-on, minds-on investigations that focus on the changing seasons and other aspects of our everyday experience. Developed according to the National Science Education Standards, the Threads can guide you and your class towards a practical and enthusiastic understanding of scientific inquiry.

Our investigations have been tested and evaluated and evolved for more than three years by a team of teachers and scientists in Massachusetts elementary schools. Now they are freely available online to you, along with an introduction to inquiry in education and related educational resources (especially connections to folklore).

This work has been supported by the NASA Learning Technologies Project. For more information about LTP, please visit their Web site.

When you see the symbol on the right, , it means there is an accompanying Adobe Acrobat document (in "pdf" format) you can view and print out. The pdf files are designed so that you can bind them into a hardcopy format which includes page numbers. (The files for download are: Title and Contents Section, The Threads of Inquiry, The Keys to Inquiry, and Folklore Resources, Assessment Strategies, and Bibliography and Journal Form. Otherwise, you can access individual pdf files as listed below and within the WWW documents or view the resources as WWW documents without the need to download anything.) To view the pdf documents, you will need to get Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free software program which is easy to install and simple to use. If you already have Acrobat Reader, then it will launch automatically when you click on any of those symbols following a document title.

Introduction for Teachers and Parents

The Keys to Inquiry

The Threads of Inquiry

Assessment Strategies
    A collection of ten assessment handouts, one for each Thread
Folklore Materials Download
Related Materials
Teacher Journals
Spirit of Inquiry Team


Everyday Classroom Tools Home Page