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Classroom Activities

Grades K-4 (Ages 5-9)

Grades K-4

Shadow Play183K pdf
Everyone and everything has a shadow. Shadows illustrate how three-dimensional objects can be viewed in two dimensions.

Modeling the Night Sky387K pdf
Use an entire class to model motions of objects in the solar system with respect to the stars. Download large images of the constellations (3.2 MB pdf) that are used in this activity.

Observing the Moon276K pdf
Does the Moon always look the same? Does its surface look different at different times?

Grades 5-8 (Ages 10-13)

Grades 5-8

Planet Tours
Planning to take a vacation soon? Visit Phobos! Try this creative activity to help your students explore the solar system in an imaginative manner.

Solar System Science95K pdf
Each student becomes the "ambassador" for a planet and prepares by researching their planet, then meets with other ambassadors to form new mini-solar systems.

Rock Cycle
After learning about Earth's rock cycle and the basic characteristics of objects in the solar system, students can consider how to extend this concept to other objects.

Equatorial Sundial156K pdf
One of astronomy's first tools to measure the flow of time, a sundial is simply a stick that casts a shadow on a face marked with units of time.

Scale Models111K pdf
What are the relative sizes and distances of objects in the solar system?
Students create two 'mystery objects' to learn about scale models.

Reflective Solar Cooker
Use the Sun’s energy to cook marshmallows.

Grades 9-12 (Ages 14-17)


Sunspots are some of the most noticeable features of the Sun.

Spectroscope95K pdf
Just as a geologist collects rocks or minerals and a botanist collects plants, an astronomer collects light. When an astronomer looks at a star through a spectroscope, he or she sees a colorful spectrum that is full of information.

The Milky Way
Stretching across the dark night sky, not easily visible when the Moon is in the sky, is a faint irregular glowing strip of light. For thousands of years peoples of various cultures tried to explain what they saw, sometimes using stories.

Stars and Galaxies107K pdf
Galaxies contain billions of stars. Do galaxies collide? Do the stars
within them collide?

Coma Cluster of Galaxies
Students learn the basics of galaxy classification and grouping, then use
Hubble Space Telescope images to discover the 'morphology-density effect'
and make hypotheses about its causes.