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Celebrate the History of Space Flight

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Screenshot from First Orbit (the movie), created by FirstOrbit.org.

Today marks the 50 year anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's 108-minute, first human in space, orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961. It's a big day in the history of space exploration and flight!

To join in the celebration, make a bit of "space" in your day for some space history!

  • Make contact.

    Students (or classes) interested in space studies can try and make contact with astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). Our HAMing It Up with the Astronauts* project can help get them started.

  • Explore liftoff.
    Students can learn more about the power behind liftoff when they use an online NASA simulator to design an ion engine, part of a propulsion system which is replacing the standard chemical propulsion system.


  • Think big.

    Students can explore a range of astro-related science projects in the Science Buddies Project Ideas Directory.


  • Look ahead.

    Explore a space- and astronomy-related careers, including Aerospace Engineer and Astronomer.


  • Tune in.

    Don't miss First Orbit, a free hour-and-a-half YouTube video that weaves together original footage and new footage from the ISS to recreate, in real time, that first flight. Class popcorn party anyone?

Science Buddies Science Activities

Science Buddies and Autodesk for Student STEM Exploration


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A new website feature at Science Buddies, sponsored by Cisco Foundation, brings science news to students. With the news feed, students can easily locate science news stories related to a project or science interest.

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Thanks to Aerojet Rocketdyne, the INFINITY Science Center, and Science Buddies, teachers in Mississippi got a booster course in rocket science—and paper airplane folding.

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School and family science weekly spotlight: use dough to explore the relationship between dimensions of an object and volume.

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In movies like Dolphin Tale, you don't have to look far to find the engineering design process in action. With the steps of the engineering process being acted out as the story unfolds, students see that success often involves a great deal of trial, error, testing, and redesigning.

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School and family science weekly spotlight: explore the science of making soup from dried beans.

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Book 3 in the Nick and Tesla series offers great gadget-oriented science and engineering fun from the twins as they stay with their eccentric scientist uncle for the summer.



Your Science!
What will you explore for your science project this year? What is your favorite classroom science activity? Email us a short (one to three sentences) summary of your science project or teaching tip. You might end up featured in an upcoming Science Buddies newsletter!



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