Have you tried the Sloan Digital Sky Survey site? There is a whole set of lab exercises there where students use SDSS data and images. When I taught astronomy, the (high school) kids liked the activities a lot, but of course, did not like all the reading! I'm sure there is a way to adapt the reading piece so it's not as daunting. You may also want to try CLEA, and what about the remote telescope sites that are now available for school use? Also try the ESA set of labs- there's a good one on calculating the distance scale using Cepheid variables in M100. The kids loved this exercise because it was so much like a puzzle (although some had issues with the math piece.) I haven't run across too much for Kepler's Laws, but try this and see if it helps you: http://www.physics.sjsu.edu/tomley/kepler.html
Have you taken a look at Celestia? It is a free software program for your computer that allows you take a tour of the entire solar systems and the other areas of the universe we know about. You can tour planets, stars, space craft, moons, nebula, etc. Not sure about Kepler's second law, but it should work with the other ones. You can turn planet orbits on so you see the orbit lines, zoom out, and speed up time so you can examine the laws this way. Celestia is available from http://shatters.net/celestia
Here are a couple of good videos that will show you what Celestia is capable of:
Also try Stellarium for a good general use planetarium program. It's free and easy to use- the elementary teachers in my district use it with the 4th graders, and the 4th graders go home and download it themselves.
I teach elementary school science but I am passing this on in case you hadn't heard of it and wanted to check it out. There is a song called On the Shoulder of Giants, which my kids LOVE. It can be downloaded (there is a contest in conjunction with the song). http://www.astrocappella.com/IYA/shoulders.shtml
"This song was commissioned by the Johannes Kepler Project for the International Year of Astronomy 2009. "Shoulders of Giants", which celebrates Galileo's first glimpse of the heavens through his telescope -- and the astonishing pace of discovery ushered in by his observations -- will be used for Kepler's Astronomy Music Video Contest."
The same group did a good song about the sun too with lots of vocabulary. That sadly is not downloadable. You would need to purchase the entire album. You can listen to the song online you just can't download.
Also the International Year of Astronomy site (2009-2010) has a lot of information and resources that might be helpful.
Wow all of these are awesome sites! Some a little beyond what we are going to cover in 8th grade, but Carol, that site with kepler's laws is great (I just need to get it to work on my computer at school!). And Eve the Shoulders of Giants song is so cute! (That won't work at school either... I need to check with our tech guy about filters). Google Earth and Celestia are fun to explore with, I posted those on Angel for the kids to play around with.
Thanks so much for all the input... being in my first year of teaching I have a lot to learn, and classroom 2.0 is a wonderful way to get ideas!
I mixed the song with pictures off the internet and showed it to my kids (got the idea from a conference I attended). I've tried to attach it so you can see it. If you can't, it is on my website under science and astronomy (www.mrsheatonsclass.com) I am having students create their own illustrations to go with the song. I also wrote and received a grant to get make your own telescopes for the students. We haven't ordered them yet but here is the link to the site http://www.sciencefirst.com/vw_prdct_mdl.asp?prdct_mdl_cd=PS-04B. They were the least expensive and I don't know how well they will work but it will be more about the process. Will post a review of them when finished.