Space exploration is an exciting and wide-ranging area. Getting into space (and back down) is hard, involving rockets and launch vehicles, satellites, spacecraft, re-entry systems, landers and rovers, robots, and orbital mechanics, not to mention hypothetical technologies like space elevators and artificial gravity. To survive and thrive in space, we must understand many additional issues such as human performance in space, the space economy, and the science of astronomical bodies.

Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
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Do you need a fun, easy way to teach your students about the scientific method? Try this lesson that uses rockets made from nothing but paper, tape, and straws. An elementary school version of this lesson plan is also available. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-Science Practices.
Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
This hands-on science lesson will help your students get a more accurate view of the solar system by making a scale model. They will do the calculations, make model planets, and find out where to place them so their model reflects reality. Seeing the relative size of the eight planets and their distance from the Sun displayed before them will allow your students to grasp the structure and vastness of the solar system. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ESS1-3. Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd
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Forces, which we might instinctively describe as pushes and pulls, are acting on us at all times, but we cannot always see them. This hands-on lesson offers a fun opportunity to explore "invisible" forces like gravity and air resistance. Students will build parachutes and investigate how they allow skydivers to safely land. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
The egg drop project is a time-honored tradition in many science classrooms. Students build a device to protect an egg and prevent it from breaking when dropped. This project typically relates to lessons about Newton's laws of motion or potential and kinetic energy. However, it is also a great way for students to practice the engineering design process, and learn about the importance of design iteration and learning from failure. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-5th
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This lesson will introduce your students to the scientific method using a fun, hands-on activity. A middle school version of this lesson plan is also available. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-5—Science Practices.
Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Learn about real space flight and Newton's laws of motion with this fun lesson! This new twist on a classic project lets your students build a multi-stage balloon rocket that they can launch across the classroom. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-PS2-2. Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object's motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.
  • MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
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Free science fair projects.