Space-inspired STEAM activities that kids can do at home (K-12)



Most of us are physically isolating ourselves during this exceptional time in the world. For those of you who are seeking ways to spark curiosity, creativity, and learning amongst kids who are at home, I've compiled a list of space-inspired activities and learning plans that you may want to try out.


Below are free K-12 resources about space. These range from lesson plans, multimedia, and games, to experiments and hands-on activities. There is a mix of teaching resources for adults (teachers, caregivers, parents, etc.) and others that are directly for kids. Most of the content here is geared toward educators as these materials tend to offer helpful context, structure, and guidance for exploring complex space concepts. Moreover, most activities can be done at home using wifi, a computer, and everyday household objects. There are multiple points of entry for this content -- from making paper rockets to calculating gravitational force to understanding black holes -- so don't feel that you need to be an expert to engage.


Let me know if there are other resources I should add to this list: andrea [@] lunainnovates.com


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Canadian Space Agency Educational Activities

A collection of simple activities for younger kids, including experiments, podcasts, and coloring books.


Club for the Future Space Mail Campaign

Club for the Future is a non-profit started by Jeff Bezos' space company, Blue Origin. Kids are invited to share their vision for millions of people living and working in space on a postcard and Club for the Future will fly it to space aboard New Shepard, Blue Origin's suborbital reusable rocket. Space mail is returned with an official "Flown to Space" stamp.


European Space Agency (ESA): Kids

There are activities and educator resources with full lesson plans, including teacher and student guides, on various space related topics.


ISS National Lab: Space Station Explorers

The ISS National Lab is the US laboratory aboard the International Space Station where unique space-based research and development takes place. This site provides activities and lesson plans related to ISS microgravity research.



Images: CSA 'build a spacesuit' activity, a postcard flown to space by Club for the Future, ESA's media on exercising in space, & ISS National Lab lesson on space food and nutrition



Kennedy Space Center on Facebook Live

During this period of self-isolation, KSC is hosting Facebook Live videos covering topics like Mars and rocketry, and offering tours of Space Shuttle Atlantis and the Astronaut Training experience. Videos will be followed by Q&A and paired with at-home activities. Tune in Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at:

  • 9:30 a.m. EST for younger children

  • 1 p.m. EST for high schoolers


Kerbal Space Program

Not free, but it's a classic: Build spacecraft, fly them, and help the Kerbals fulfill their ultimate mission of conquering space. KSP costs $40 USD for the base program. There is also a classroom version of KSP available for purchase.


Microsoft Educational Materials

In partnership with NASA, Microsoft created a series of space-themed lesson plans. A heads up: This content requires access to Microsoft programs and tech that may be harder to find around the house.



Images: KSC's latest livestream, the world inside Kerbal Space Program, Microsoft lesson on designing astro socks



NASA International Space Station (ISS) LABS Educator Resource Guide

A learning resource specifically focused on lesson plans related to the ISS laboratory, exploring concepts like orbital research and long-term microgravity.


NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL): Learning Space

An awesome collection of Learning and Teaching activities and toolkits from JPL that you can sort by type, subject, grades, and topics.


NASA Microgravity Resources for Educators

Offers an overview of microgravity and some helpful resources like lesson plans and multimedia, including this Microgravity Teacher’s Guide which is packed with theory and experiments for the classroom.


NASA Skywatching Tips

As you practice social distancing, remember to (safely) get some fresh air. NASA provides updated content for your skywatching needs including moon guides, sky charts, and daily guides to the sky.


NASA Spot the Station

Get alerts and watch the International Space Station pass overhead from several thousand worldwide locations. It's visible to the naked eye.


NASA STEM

Find STEM content for students and educators, organized by grade. It's worth checking out

Lessons from Space for Educators which includes a collection of demonstrations, lesson plans, and multimedia featuring NASA astronauts.



Images: NASA Skywatching guide, JPL activity on making your own starshade, Spot the Station tracking map of ISS, & NASA STEM activities about the Artemis program



PBS Learning Media

A collection of space themed lesson plans and videos about galaxies, AI, black holes, aliens and more.


Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Activities and multimedia that explore concepts related to physics and astronomy, from black holes to dark matter. PI's resource center for educators also has comprehensive lesson plans, some designed for the Ontario school curriculum.


Space Foundation STEM Lesson Plans

Snoopy and the Peanuts gang use space principles to teach STEM through these downloadable lesson plans.



Images: PBS lesson on the Milky Way, Perimeter Institute lesson plan on M87, & Space Foundation lesson materials



Space Racers

An animated TV series for kids produced in collaboration with NASA, Space Racers provides free episodes and educational STEAM resources for families.


Story Time from Space

Inspiration for the little ones from 350km above the Earth: A video series featuring astronauts on the International Space Station reading stories from space.


TEDEd

These TEDEd videos include additional resources and crowdsourced learning materials. There is some K-12 friendly space-related content, but you'll have to search around. Notable videos feature Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson.



Images: Space Racers lesson on planning a field trip, Story Time in Space with Astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori, & TEDEd video featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson




Note: Image of the Andromeda Galaxy at the top of the page from NASA's Image Archives

© 2020 Luna Design and Innovation Inc.