Looking for ways to learn astronomy with your family or while at home? We have you covered!
Check out the variety of hands-on activities, citizen science projects, videos, and games & simulations listed here for some starting points.
If you are a K-12 teacher, you can find additional resources on our Virtual Teaching for K-12 Educators page.
Activities, Projects, Videos + more
NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover Landing Resources
On February 18, 2021 (at approximately 1:30 pm MT), NASA’s Perseverance rover will touch down on Mars! Check out Fiske’s Dome to Home: Perseverance to Mars series for a more in-depth look at this mission.
Now through February 2021:
- Get Your Landing Resources - Posters, stickers, fact sheets, mission patches and more.
- Ways To Participate - Try the Photo Booth, Send Your Name on the next mission to Mars, and check out other interactive experiences.
- Watch Online - Our quick guide to the TV programs coming up you can watch online.
- Mission to Mars Student Challenge - Launching in mid-January, get Mars-related webcasts for learners of all ages, along with lessons and activities for students.
On Landing Day, Feb. 18, 2021:
- Tune in to Watch Live - The NASA TV broadcast from Mission Control starts at 12:15 pm MST/2:15 p.m. EST.
- Explore Mars with Perseverance - As the rover begins its mission at Jezero Crater, visit the mission website for the latest news and images every day.
Check out these sites for activities to do for little or no cost with materials you might find lying around your house!
Astronomy @ Home (grades K - 12): Weekly live storytime, lectures, and activities kids ages 3-15 from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
McDonald Observatory from the University of Texas offers a wide variety of activities to explore astronomy. Here are a selection of our favorites to do at home:
Shadow Play (grades K - 5): Everyone and everything has a shadow. Shadows illustrate how three dimensional objects can be viewed in two dimensions. Younger students can learn about the Sun’s relative motion in the sky as they experiment with shadows
Observing The Moon (grades K - 5): Does the Moon always look the same? Does its surface look different at different times?
Seeing the Invisible: Dust in the Universe (grades K - 2; 3 - 5; 6 - 8; 9 - 12): Dust is all around us: at home, on Earth, and in space. Explore the properties of dust and the astronomical research of dust in space with these three inquiry based activities from McDonald Observatory.
Scale Models (grades 6 - 8): Use playdough to make two balls that represent different objects in the solar system. Can you guess which ones they represent? (Make your own playdough if you don’t already have some!)
Color of Stars (grades 9 - 12): Observe colors in the flame of a burning candle to explore connections between matter, light, color, and temperature
Stars and Galaxies (grades 9 - 12): Apply concepts of scale to grasp the distances between stars and galaxies. You will use this understanding to elaborate on the question, Do galaxies collide?
The NISE Network offers hands-on activities with material kits. Check out their website for more activities and get creative with ways you can adapt these activities based on what materials you have available to you.
Exploring the Universe: Imagining Life (grades PreK - 12): Imagine and draw an extreme environment beyond Earth, then invent a living thing that could thrive in it. Learn about NASA scientists that study extremophiles on Earth to imagine the variety of life that might exist elsewhere, and make predictions about where to look for it.
NASA JPL Activities: STEM activities and resources
NASA STEM at Home offers a list of activities and resources compiled by NASA partners for families to keep exploring science, technology, engineering, and math while at home.
PBS Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms WGBH in collaboration with NASA presents digital media resources you can use to teach topics in K–12 Earth and Space Science. These free resources are organized into four grade bands. Each resource emphasizes engaging students in phenomena related to core ideas and science and engineering practices of the Next Generation Science Standards.
Mystery Science: How can the Sun help you if you are lost? Why do the stars change with the seasons? How much water is in the world? Why is the sky blue? What is a black hole? Mystery Science offers easy science lessons perfect for a remote learning environment.
Visit Science Buddies for many great STEM activities that can easily be done at home.
Citizen Science Projects
Want to contribute to the work of scientists directly? Follow some of these links to help out with different crowdsourcing science projects from your computer or phone!
Galaxy Zoo (grades 7 - 12): Help classify different galaxies based on their shapes!
GLOBE Observer Citizen Science (grades 7 - 12): Take pictures of clouds to help scientists learn more about our climate.
Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) Citizen Science (grades 7 - 12): Help scientists take measurements of rain, hail and snow.
You can explore even more citizen science sites at CitizenScience.gov.
Want to watch engaging, educational videos about astronomy? Here are some sites we recommend.
Science Never Stops (grades K - 12): STEAM videos exploring museum artifacts, hands-on science, live astronomy demonstrations and so much more!
Story Time From Space (grades K - 2): Join live videos of Astronauts on the Space Station reading stories to and conducting science experiments for the children of Earth as the world rotates below!
NASA eClips (grades 3 - 12): Videos explaining science, engineering, and the natural world in ways that make you think!
SciShow Space (grades 9 - 12): The universe is awe-inspiring! From ground breaking discoveries in the news to the big questions about what makes life possible, SciShow Space brings you answers to your burning questions... and poses some even weirder questions along the way.
MinutePhysics (grades 9 - 12): Short videos on astronomy and physics with easy-to-understand illustrations. Learn about fundamental concepts such as gravity and light all the way up to higher level topics like relativity and quantum mechanics.
PBS Space Time (grades 11 - 12): Space Time explores the outer reaches of space, the craziness of astrophysics, the possibilities of sci-fi, and anything else you can think of beyond Planet Earth with astrophysicist host Matthew O’Dowd.
Games & Simulations
Exoplanet Lab (grades 7 - 9) from NOVA. A Galactic Resettlement team has received distress calls from aliens in desperate need of new homes. To help, you’ll have to master the same techniques scientists use to find and characterize exoplanets – worlds orbiting faraway stars.
In the popular Kerbal Space Program (grades 8 - 12) space flight simulation video game, take charge of the space program for the alien race known as the Kerbals. You have access to an array of parts to assemble fully-functional spacecraft that flies (or doesn’t) based on realistic aerodynamic and orbital physics.
In the tabletop Mission to Space board game (grades PreK - 12), players will represent a team of scientists and engineers sending a spacecraft on a mission to space. They'll meet with the surprises, setbacks, and success that accompany every scientific mission. The player who collects enough data and completes their mission first is the "winner," but all players are encouraged to complete their mission and discuss their results. (Spanish version also available.)
NASA’s Eyes App (grades 1 - 12) allows you to experience Earth and our solar system, the universe and the spacecraft exploring them, with immersive apps for Mac, PC and mobile devices.
Download the Science on a Sphere free mobile app to explore different Earth and space datasets.
SciGames has a variety of free apps and games, such as Star Maze, Space Stage, and Planet Families.