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
Ad astra per aspera.
A collection of simple activities for younger kids, including experiments, podcasts, and coloring books.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
A learning resource specifically focused on lesson plans related to the ISS laboratory, exploring concepts like orbital research and long-term microgravity.
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.
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.
Get alerts and watch the International Space Station pass overhead from several thousand worldwide locations. It's visible to the naked eye.
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.
A collection of space themed lesson plans and videos about galaxies, AI, black holes, aliens and more.
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.
Snoopy and the Peanuts gang use space principles to teach STEM through these downloadable lesson plans.
An animated TV series for kids produced in collaboration with NASA, Space Racers provides free episodes and educational STEAM resources for families.
Inspiration for the little ones from 350km above the Earth: A video series featuring astronauts on the International Space Station reading stories from space.
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.
Note: Image of the Andromeda Galaxy at the top of the page from NASA's Image Archives