We are closed due to ongoing concerns related to COVID-19. We look forward to welcoming you back to the planetarium soon. Sign up to receive updates about our summertime virtual programs and reopening plans.
Looking for some virtual astronomy and Earth science educational resources to use in your remote classrooms? Here is a list of our recommendations to get you started. If you have a useful resource you would highly recommend to other K-12 educators, let our Education Department know about it!
Astronomy @ Home (grades K - 12): Weekly live storytime, lectures, and activities kids ages 3-15 from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
NASA STEM @ Home for Students (grades K - 4, 5 - 8): NASA has compiled a variety of activities, puzzles, games, stories, videos, and more for students to do at home.
Astronaut Anne McClain’s Tips for Living in Close Quarters: NASA astronaut Anne McClain spent 204 days living on the International Space Station and shares her tips for living in close quarters with only a few other people. She shares what human behaviors create a healthy culture for living and working remotely in small groups. Read her advice here. Learn more about how NASA helps prepare astronauts for the social isolation they will experience.
ROADS on Mars - Freestyle Challenge (grades K - 12): A team project for K-12 students that uses STEM to enable social networking in a time of social distancing. Free registration opens March 26 and submissions are due April 27. Complete mission objectives, including:
- Design & build a martian landscape
- Design & build a communication dish
- Build & land a lander on Mars
- Navigate a rover across your Mars map
- Identify signs of life around your home
Earth and Space Science digital curriculum for 8th grade.
Scholastic Learn At Home Offers daily projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing. Activities are offered for preK – 9th grade. WIth stories, articles, videos, and activities, this website can be used to keep your students engaged in new material daily!
- Make Moon Craters (grades PreK - 1): What are the dents on the moon? How did they get there? In this activity, students will learn the fundamentals of crater formation by creating their own!
Mystery Science Offers a range of k-5 curriculum options that inspire kids to love science! Many of the lessons are hands-on and great for at-home learning, and all are aligned with NGSS and Common Core.
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 Astronomical Society of the Pacific offers a list of K-12 classroom activities.
The Exploratorium hosts robust professional development programs, activities for classrooms, and other tools for teaching and learning.
Visit NASA Space Place for classroom activities for elementary kids.
Digital Simulations and Apps
Download the Science on a Sphere free mobile app to explore different Earth and space datasets from a tablet or share during a teaching videoconference.
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.
Stellarium (grades 4 - 12) is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. Use it to observe patterns of motion of the sun, moon, and stars, magnify the planets to learn more about them and their moons, and more.
PhET Interactive Simulations (grades 7 - 12) offer a large number of STEM simulations that help students learn challenging concepts effectively. Each simulation also is accompanied by curriculum pieces designed by other teachers for your use!
To Space & Back (grades K-12): International award winning planetarium show describing how the technology that transports us through space is paving the way for the devices and apps we use every day (available until mid June). Associated Educator's Guide also provided.
Science Never Stops (grades K - 12): STEAM videos exploring museum artifacts, hands-on science, live astronomy demonstrations and so much more!
NASA eClips (grades 3 - 12): Videos explaining science, engineering, and the natural world in ways that make you think! Activity links also provided.
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.
Celebrating Earth Day
On April 22, 2020 celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day!
UCAR Center for Science Education offers a long list of hands-on activities, games, and videos about weather, climate, air quality, the Sun and space weather, and other Earth science topics.
Want some Earth Day activities for your youngest ones? TinkerLab lists 50 different ways to encourage toddlers to create objects from natural and recycled materials and spend more time outdoors.
Daylight in a Bottle hands-on activity: Celebrate Earth Day at home by harnessing the power of natural resources! This family guide explores how you can read a secret message from a friend or light up a room with just two things: free, clean energy from the Sun and a water bottle.
Want to be featured in our Fiske Planetarium Explorations film series? We’re looking for your video submissions of you or your kids using the GLOBE Observer: Clouds App. In this episode, we will be highlighting the cloud images that you or your kids can take with their smartphones and how they help space satellites interpret and predict the weather. All ages are welcome to participate!
GLOBE Observer is an international network of citizen scientists and scientists working together to learn more about our shared environment and changing climate. To participate, just download the GLOBE Observer app and submit regular observations.