Astronomy & Physics Activities

1: Solar System Bracelet
Students will discuss the order of the planets in our Solar System and some features of each. Then they will make a bracelet using beads to represent the planets of the Solar System including the Sun, asteroids, and dwarf planets, to help them remember the order. They learn fun facts about the celestial bodies as the build their bracelets. Students will take home their creations. (Grades: PreK-3)

2: Sun’s Energy

Students will master the color spectrum and learn about ultraviolent light as they construct a bracelet or bookmark (determined by age). As they do their project they will learn about what the sun is, what it does for us, and different properties of light. (Grades: PreK-3)

3: Solar System Models

If the distance from the sun to the edge of our solar system were 100 feet, where do you think each planet would be on that scale? Find out by guessing and then walking our solar system. The answers might surprise you!

Explore gravity and orbits with our interactive model of a solar system, using a variety of “planets” on our “fabric of space-time”. (Grades: 3-12)

 

4: Solar Eclipses
On August 21, 2017 there will be a rare total solar eclipse visible on a path through the center of the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. In Central Texas we will see only a partial eclipse, but this is still an uncommon event. Using a variety of manipulatives students will learn all about solar eclipses and how to safely view them, in preparation for the August eclipse. (Grades 3-5)

Paleontology & Earth Sciences Activities

1: Triceratops Footprint
Students guess how many of their feet will it take to fill up a Triceratops track. Then, they trace and cut out their footprints to test their guesses. Classrooms will get to take home their Triceratops print covered in the students’ footprints. (Grades PreK-K)

2: Stegosaurus Sleuthing

Students will be paleontologists as they look at Stegosaurus fossils to learn about what the animal looked like and how it lived. (Grades: 1-3)

3: Ecosystem Jenga

What happens when changes in ecosystems occur? Find out in this team exercise. Students will construct ecosystems of water, plants, herbivores, and carnivores, then predict what will happen as those ecosystems change. (Grades: 4-8)

4: Unique Beak Physique

Try out different “beaks” to collect different “food sources” and discover that not beaks are equal! What will happen when a food source disappears? Why are their so many different types of beaks and how did this diversity happen? Find out in this activity. (Grades: 1-12)

5: Rising Seas

PreK-K students will explore how changes in global temperatures effect ice sheets and the polar bears that call them home. Students will create polar bear masks and then populate an “ice sheet” which starts disappearing. They will discuss problems polar bears face while pretending to be polar bears. (Grades: PreK-K)

1st-12th grade students will conduct experiments to learn how the Earth’s surface changes as seas rise and how sheet ice and ocean ice effect sea level rise. They will learn about NASA’s JASON mission satellites and how they give scientists a better understanding of changes in ocean levels. (Grades: 1-12)