Solar System Treks

NASA’s Solar System Treks is an online, browser-based portal that allows you to visualize, explore, and analyze the surfaces of other worlds using real data returned from a growing fleet of spacecraft. With a host of 3D visualization tools, including features for virtual reality exploration and hands on 3D printing, Solar System Treks is a fun, easy way to explore the solar system!

Eclipse in a Cup

Grades 6-12
Why are eclipses relatively rare?  It’s due to the relationship of the moon’s orbit around Earth and Earth’s orbit around the sun.  This experiment helps students understand those orbits and why it’s difficult for the earth, moon, and sun to align in a way that results in an eclipse.

Strange New Planet

Grades K-8

What is it like to discover a new planet or moon in space?  As a scientist, what information would you need to gather about your discovery and how do you get that information?  Try this “Strange New Planet” activity from NASA to help your students learn about this scientific process.  The student observation worksheets begin on p. 14 of the PDF.  Grades 5-8 can use p. 30-37 of the PDF for their directions and research journal entries.

Robotic Hands

Grade Level 6-9
Move over dinosaur grabber toy!  Let’s use household craft supplies to design and make a “robotic hand” that can pick up an object or move a ball around.  Bonus points – you get to learn a little anatomy as well because your robot fingers will need joints!

Build your own Telescope

Grade Level 2-6
Telescopes are a great way for us to get a closer view of something that is far away – like the moon and stars!  Your students can make and decorate a simple, usable telescope following this activity from Science Buddies.  Note that you can use 2 paper towel tubes instead of cardstock (cut 1 tube lengthwise so it can fit inside the other tube).

Build and Launch a Foam Rocket with Fins

Grade Level: 6-8
This activity comes from NASA’s Artemis Camp Experience Educator Guide.  Students will build a foam rocket, design the stabilizing fins for the rocket, and flight test their rocket with a simple rocket launcher.  The goal is to design fins that enable the rocket to fly far, but also stay on the desired flight path.

There is a YouTube video related to this activity.  Go to the following webpage and watch the video “Mission: Design Stabilizing Fins”

Build a Paper Airplane Launcher

Grade level: 4-8
Aircraft carriers are much shorter than a typical airport runway. How do airplanes manage to gain enough speed for takeoff over such a short distance? A catapult gives them an extra boost! In this lesson, your students will practice engineering design as they build their own paper airplane launchers, while learning about kinetic and potential energy.

Pi in the Sky 5

Grade Level 6-12
In the fifth installment of this illustrated problem set, students use the mathematical constant pi to solve real-world science and engineering problems. Students will use pi to reveal the size of a planet outside our solar system, find out how much helium is raining out from Jupiter’s cloud tops, locate a seismic event on Mars called a “marsquake,” and study an interstellar object detected in our solar system.

Spacecraft Materials and the Chemistry of Space Exploration

Grade Level 5-12
In this lab activity, students will become materials scientists for a day. Working with NASA to design a satellite or a rover means understanding the properties of metals under conditions very unlike those on Earth. Which material should we use to construct a rover going to a planet like Venus? What if we were traveling to an icy planet or even underwater? The answer can be found in chemistry!

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