SciPackDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

SciPacks are self-directed online learning experiences for teachers to enhance their understanding of a particular scientific concept and its related pedagogical implications for student learning. Unlimited expert content help via email and a final assessment both facilitate and document teacher learning.

The Universe SciPack, co-developed between NASA and NSTA, explores the ways scientists learn about the universe and the current ideas about the origins and formation of the universe. The focus is on Standards and Benchmarks related to the universe including how the universe was formed, formation and destruction of stars and characteristics of the sun and stars in terms of size and composition.

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Reviews (14)
  • on Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:54 PM

This scipack was informative, insightful, and in depth. It provided me with plenty of resources needed to understand the universe and all of it's vast dimensions.


  • on Fri Nov 20, 2015 5:19 PM

This was truly one of the best scipacks I have taken! amazing information that helped me learn about the expanding universe. Loved the videos and analogies to explain difficult concepts.

Chris Taylor  (Boise, ID)
Chris Taylor (Boise, ID)

  • on Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:13 PM

The structure of the SciPacks really help me understand the underlying concepts that surround each topic. Initially, I was unsure how well I'd grasp scientific concepts in a self-paced, online format, but the carefully sequenced topics, interactive activities and simulations, in addition to the explanations work well together to help deepen understanding. Especially valuable are the pedagogical implications and common student misconceptions. I feel a lot more confident in the areas after using a SciPack, and I highly recommend SciPacks to anyone needing to learn more about scientific topics!

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:33 AM

This was my first sci pack. I loved it. As a middle school science teacher for grades 6-8th, I have to teach multiple areas. This sci pack gave me a better understanding of how astronomers know what they know. I can now explain what parallax is and how to figure out red shift. It was very helpful!

Theresa  (Bethel Park, PA)
Theresa (Bethel Park, PA)

  • on Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:29 PM

This was my favorite sci pack yet. This is all information that I did not have the joy of learning in high school. This is some of the most exciting and temporary subjects going on in the field of physics. This sci pack covers the scale of the univers, the tools that are uses to observe the universe, the sequence of events leading to current understandings and some thought provoking facts, and beautiful images. I learned a lot from this sci pack and was hooked in like a good book.

Jason W
Jason W

  • on Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:33 PM

This is a great SciPack. It provides great information about the origin and makeup of the Universe, as well as helps to explain how all matter today came about.

Erik  (Bountiful, UT)
Erik (Bountiful, UT)

  • on Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:41 PM

The abstract and sometimes difficult to understand concepts are presented here in an easily understandable fashion. Gave good examples and analogies to use with students too.

Katherine Jezidija-Kendall
Katherine Jezidija-Kendall

  • on Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:36 PM

The interactive parts were really helpful and informative

Kelly  (Brewster, NY)
Kelly (Brewster, NY)

  • on Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:20 PM

This is my particular field of study for my Master's degree. The one thing I struggle with is how to take the things I know and turn them into things I can relay to my students. Going through this Sci-pack and going through the experience of how to present the HR diagrams, Absolute magnitude, and even the Big Bang theory definitely impressed me. I took a lot of notes. Thank you for this wonderful resource!

Brandy Stewart
Brandy Stewart

  • on Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:13 PM

I enjoyed learning about the Universe. This Scipack helped to build my confidence with talking to my students about the Universe.

Nikki Turner
Nikki Turner

  • on Sun Oct 23, 2016 9:33 PM

This SciPack taught me a lot about the Universe that I didn't already know. Doing the questions throughout the lesson helped on some of the assessment questions. The assessment has a range of questions that target average and above level learners that could make it difficult to use in the classroom.

Paige Birdwell
Paige Birdwell

  • on Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:17 PM

I thought the SciPack was very well done but the assessment ranged from trivial, elementary questions, to unneccessarily tricky question of very little value. In short, little consistancy in the quality or value of the assesment questions as far as comprehension and mastery.

James Johnson  (Custer City, PA)
James Johnson (Custer City, PA)

  • on Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:18 PM

The overall scope of the review was very thorough and some of the visuals were very well done. Is there a way to grab some of the small videos to use in the classroom? As I teach in California, there are a few standards that were not covered in this SciPack that would be useful to teachers. Specifically, the first item that comes in mind is the importance of gravity in the solar system (and universe) and the small bodies that are located in the solar system and their properties.

Juli Cotta  (Los Angeles, CA)
Juli Cotta (Los Angeles, CA)

  • on Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:37 AM

This SciPack was great during the lesson portions of it. The review quizzes were very spot on with what was just discussed. However, the final assessment had questions on there that were much more in depth than what was asked while completing the SciPack. This is not something I would ever recommend for my classroom. It took too long of my own time, which means it would take even longer for my students. The information on there was too trivial and things that no one but an astronomer would need to know.


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