Lessons & Activities

Access free space and astronomy lessons, maker activities and workshop-specific materials.

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Space / astronomy lessons

Family activities

Marble Run Challenge
‘Tis the season for wrapping paper rolls! Give everyone a pile of paper plates, scissors, tape, a wrapping paper roll, whatever other recyclables you have on-hand, and a few marbles. Give everyone 30 minutes to build something. Give awards for the longest run, the fastest, slowest, most creative, etc.

Ice Cube Challenge
Ever wonder what salt does to ice on the road? See the power of salt with this challenge: Give everyone a bowl of ice water, some string, and then leave the salt shaker on the table. Challenge everyone to see if they can lift the ice cube up by just using the string. How does this work? (Check out the link for details to complete this challenge, and the science behind it.) 

Six-Sided Snowflakes
Take your paper snowflake game to the next level by making them six-sided, just like the real things. Fold your circle in half, then fold that into three overlapping pizza-slice shapes (each will be 60 degrees). Fold it in half one more time, and cut away! Check out our links for additional snowflake patterns for the serious science enthusiast.

Star Hop 
One of the most well known constellations, Orion, is visible on winter evenings in the south-eastern sky. Look for an hour-glass shape with that famous belt of three stars along the middle. (The other stars mark the hunter’s shoulders and knees.) Follow the belt in a straight line to the right and you’ll see a V of stars — that’s the head of Taurus the Bull. Follow Orion’s belt to the left and you’ll see the brightest star in the night sky: Sirius. On a clear St. Louis night, you can see that Sirius marks the chest of stick-figure dog, Canis Major.

Maker activities

Paper Airplane

This twist on the “classic dart” paper plane includes the instructions on the plane itself. Print this double-sided. Have students tested it as-is, then put on their “Engineering Hats” and make their plane the best it can be. What happens if they add a paperclip? Tape? Fold the wings?

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Paper Helicopter

Pre-cut sheet into 4 helicopters. Help students to make one helicopter following the instructions. Then let them modify them. Consider assigning each table a modification:

  • Adding a big paper clip
  • Adding a small paper clip
  • Cutting the blades
  • Taping

Let each group observe how the other group’s helicopters perform. Then, let each student create a second paperclip however they decide.

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The Great Rocket Design Challenge

These files can be used for various versions of compressed air rockets. You are welcome to modify copies of these files to create your own classroom engineering design challenge.

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Safe Stop Robot

These files can be used for various versions of compressed air rockets. You are welcome to modify copies of these files to create your own classroom engineering design challenge.

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MarkerBot

These instructions are from our MarkerBot Maker Kit, but all the materials can be purchased separately as well.

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DustBot

These instructions are from our DustBot Maker Kit, but all the materials can be purchased separately as well.

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Continuity Tester

This will buzz whenever its circuit is completed. It can be used as the basis for electric games and quiz sheets.

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