Activities

Vesta Trek
Vesta Trek, a free, web-based application that provides detailed visualizations of Vesta, one of the largest asteroids in our solar system. NASA's Dawn spacecraft studied Vesta from July 2011 to September 2012. Data gathered from multiple instruments aboard Dawn have been compiled into Vesta Trek's user-friendly set of tools, enabling citizen scientists and students to study the asteroid's features. The application includes: -- Interactive maps, including the ability to overlay a growing range of data sets including topography, mineralogy, abundance of elements and geology, as well as analysis tools for measuring the diameters, heights and depths of surface features and more -- 3-D printer-exportable topography so users can print physical models of Vesta's surface -- Standard keyboard gaming controls to maneuver a first-person visualization of "flying" across the surface of the asteroid
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
Eyes on the Solar System
Experience Earth and our solar system, the universe and the spacecraft exploring them, with immersive apps for Mac, PC and mobile devices.
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
Juno's Family Secrets
Bring the excitement of NASA's Juno mission to children ages 8-13 with Explore: Jupiter's Family Secrets!  This module includes: Hands-on activities for children ages 8-13, with an additional selection of deeper investigations for children ages 11 to 13 Correlations to the National Science Education Standards Background information for facilitators Reading and multimedia resource lists The module showcases how the Juno mission will unveil Jupiter's deepest secrets, including clues about how our solar system formed and Jupiter's unique traits. The module may be flexibly implemented in summer camps, after-school programs, festivals, science days, family events, and more! You may design your own program of one or more of the hands-on activities, or you may choose to build the story of the Juno mission and its science through the complete series of activities. The activities rely on inexpensive, easy-to-find materials to investigate science concepts like weather, magnetic fields, density, gravity, solar system formation, and the process of science. And children may take their creations home with them! 
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
Dwarf Planets
What is a dwarf planet? In 60 seconds, you'll know. This is "Space Shorts." Dwarf planets are a lot like regular planets: They both have enough mass and gravity to be nearly round - unlike odd-shaped asteroids. They both travel through space in a path around the Sun. The big difference? A dwarf planet could be in for a bumpy ride as it travels - its path is full of other objects like asteroids. A regular planet has a clear path around the sun. Most of those impacts happened billions of years ago, so there's not much left over to get in the way. There may be dozens of dwarf planets in our solar system. So far, we've classified just a handful -- most of them are very far away. Pluto is the most famous, but closer to home is another mysterious world. Ceres: the first dwarf planet to be visited by a spacecraft. With everything we learn from the Dawn mission, our understanding of planets and dwarf planets will rocket far beyond all that's been known before.
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
Europa
Could Jupiter’s moon Europa have an ocean? Find out now – on “Space Shorts.” Here on Earth, water covers three fourths of our planet. That’s a lot of H2O! Europa may have twice as much – right under its icy surface! Why do scientists think so? First – A spacecraft showed us! Europa’s surface is mostly made of water ice, with some salts. Second – We see lots of cracks and ridges, but not so many craters. It may be that an underground ocean causes the surface to warm and crack – again and again – changing the landscape and erasing any craters. And the final most compelling clue? Europa’s changing magnetic field. What’s under the surface conducting that much electricity? A hidden, salt water ocean explains it! A future NASA mission can tell us for sure if Europa has an ocean. That’s the next step in knowing if this mysterious world has the right conditions for life.
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
OCEAN Worlds
Oceans help make life on Earth possible. So if there are oceans beyond Earth, do living things exist on those worlds, too? This is a question that NASA scientists are trying to answer. Right now, we know there are moons and dwarf planets in our solar system where oceans do exist. And there are more places where they could exist. To find out more, we will need to send spacecraft to study these places up close. But we already have some good clues to get us started. Flip through the slideshow to see what we know about ocean worlds in our solar system. Which of these places do you think is most likely to have living things? Download the free NASA "Ocean Worlds" poster. Click on the download type below.
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
What is a Planet?
Students learn about the characteristics of planets, comets, asteroids, and trans-Neptunian objects through a classification activity.  Students can then apply what they have learned by participating in a formal debate about a solar system object discovered by the New Horizons spacecraft and by defining the term ‘planet.’
  • 9th-12th
Pluto
This activity relates an elastic collision to the change in a satellite’s or spacecraft’s speed and direction resulting from a planetary fly-by, often called a "gravity assist" maneuver. Both hands-on and online interactive methods are used to explore these topics.
  • 9th-12th
Earth
Students explore the relationship between angular width, actual size, and distance by using their finger, thumb and fist as a unit of angular measurement in this hands-on activity.
  • 5th-8th
Earth Calling
A hands-on activity exploring spacecraft radio communication concepts, including the speed of light and the time-delay for signals sent to and from spacecraft.
  • 5th-8th
Blink Comparator
An activity exploring parallax and then simulating the discovery of Pluto with a Blink Comparator via an online interactive.
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
Orbit
A whole-body activity that explores the relative sizes, distances, orbit, and spin of the Sun, Earth, and Moon.
  • K-4th
Signals and Noise
Students are introduced to the terms "signal" and "noise" in the context of spacecraft communication. They explore these concepts by listening to a computer-generated signal from two different distances with no additional background noise, and then with background noise and compare their experiences in a science journal page.
  • K-4th
NASA For Students
Find games, stories, great photos, podcasts, career information, homework help, interactive features and more.
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
Kids' Club
Explore some cool activities and play fun games with Elmo and Buzz Lightyear!
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
Interactive Lesson
Get your students out of their seats and hustling to learn about the origin of asteroids! Students model the accretion of specks of matter in our early solar system into minor planets—and they do it dynamically while burning off energy!!
  • 5th-8th
What are we made of preview image
By counting elements extracted from a simulated sample, students will learn how the extraction of atoms from the Genesis samples help scientists have a better understanding of the abundances of elements from the solar wind.
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
Meteorite
Challenge your students as to how meteorites and asteroids differ from each other and learn how they both provide clues to unlocking the mysteries of the asteroid belt.
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
Explore this one-stop shop for planetary information published by NASA's Science Mission Directorate.
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
Did wind create features on Mars? What can we learn from images of other planets? Encourage students to test their ideas about how some of the features on Mars may have been produced.
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
Learners work in teams to create motorized mobiles of NASA's new sample return mission OSIRIS-REx. Traveling to asteroid Bennu in 2016, students investigate science goals, design features and engineering solutions unique to this unprecedented mission. Working in groups paralleling real NASA teams, learners create mini scale models of the OSIRIS-REx mission. Through a guided approach, teams utilize their simple and complex machine knowledge to make kinetic systems and create their own asteroid.  Teams then add a tech pack - tape circuit, battery base and tiny motor - to create an exciting mobile with emerging technologies. Throughout collaboration is emphasized and the project is scalable for all ages. 
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
Simple Machine Rover
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
Space School Musical
Join Hannah on a trip through the solar system in this ultra-cool edu-tainment “hip-hopera” that is out of this world!  Move and groove along with the planets, moons, meteors, comets, asteroids and even some rockin’ scientists as they sing, dance and serve up the freshest facts in the galaxy.  Space is definitely one cool place.
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th
Art & The Cosmic Connection
Art & the Cosmic Connection is an interdisciplinary program developed by scientists, artists & educators to encourage learners to explore the mysterious worlds in our solar system and their geologic stories.
  • K-4th
  • 5th-8th
  • 9th-12th