Note:  in the following pages

  1. NGSS refers to the Next Generation Science Standards and
  2. CSS refers to the old California Science Standards

 

I. Science Activities

1. Energy: This activity is an interactive presentation that focuses on energy, its forms, its transformation, its transfer from one place to another and its basic laws. Students engage in hands-on activities that explore energy of motion or “kinetic” energy, and various forms of stored or “potential” energy. Students will learn to identify these different forms of energy, and they will engage in several types of energy transformation, from potential to kinetic and vice-versa. They will also explore ways of carrying energy from one place to another. Time permitting they will investigate the different types of matter and look at the periodic table.

  • Science Standards: This activity is adaptable and can address the energy component of the NGSS in Grades 4, 5 or 6 as well as that of the CSS for Grade 3.
  • Student Preparation: This activity is mostly self-contained and does not require much that students do not already know from daily life. Nevertheless familiarity with the basic mechanics will help.

2. Light and wavesStudents will show that white light can be spread into the colors of the rainbow, and they will look at the light and colors produced by different sources. They will learn about the wave nature of light, the properties of waves, and the relationship between color and wavelength. They will also show that the colors can be recombined to produce white light. They will explore the difference between emitted and reflected light and see that the color of an object depends on the light with which it is illuminated. They will explore other forms of electromagnetic radiation, such as infrared, and will observe that they all propagate in a straight line but are absorbed differently by various substances.

  • Science Standards: This activity can address the CSS on light for Grade 3 as well as the NGSS on waves and electromagnetic radiation in Grade 4.
  • Student preparation: This activity is self-contained and requires no special preparation although knowledge of the colors of the rainbow is helpful.

3. Electricity:  In this activity, students will experiment with static electricity and discover the two types of electricity and the laws of attraction and repulsion. They will test the electrical conduction properties of different materials. Then they will construct simple circuits with batteries, wires, light bulbs and switches, learn the function of these components and discuss applications of different types of circuits in real life.

  • Science Standards: This activity addresses the CSS on electricity in Grade 4.
  • Student Preparation: Students should know about atoms, protons and electrons.

4. Magnetism: In this activity, students will build a compass and then experiment with magnets and discover the two types of magnetic poles and their law of attraction and repulsion. They will map the magnetic field around a bar magnet and relate it to the earth’s magnetic field. They will test the magnetic properties of various metals. They will also investigate the relationship between currents and magnetic fields, and use that to build an electromagnet and a motor.

  • Standards: This activity addresses the CSS on magnetism in Grade 4.
  • Student preparation: Students should know about currents and circuits in electricity.
  • Note:: This is a long activity, best done in 75 minute; a 60 minute version can be done but leaves out important components.

 

II. Planetarium Presentations

1. The Moon starts with a discussion of the differences between the Earth and the Moon (size, surface material, atmosphere…) and continues to include demonstrations explaining the different phases of the moon (with a digression to eclipses if appropriate), and the craters on the moon. A simulated view of the night sky, including where the moon is in space the day of the visit will also be shown.

  • Science Standards: This presentation addresses the CSS on Earth Science in Grade 3
  • Student Preparation: This activity is mostly self-contained and does not require much student preparation. It can work as a nice introduction to the unit on Astronomy for Grade 3 classes.

2. The Solar System starts with a discussion of the Earth, the Moon and the night sky.  It continues with a three-dimensional fly through of the solar system, with a close up visit to two (or more, if time allows) planets and their moons. The concepts of gravity and light will be stressed during this presentation.

  • Science Standards: This presentation very adaptable and can address the Earth Science requirements of the CSS in Grades 3 and 5, and of the NGSS in Grade 5.
  • Student Preparation: This activity is mostly self-contained and does not require much student preparation. It can work as a nice introduction to a unit on Astronomy in any of these grades.

3.  Mars starts with a comparison with the Earth and its natural satellite, the Moon. The size, color, temperature variations and geological features of Mars will be reviewed within this context. In addition, spectacular images from the most recent NASA missions will be showcased. A three-dimensional fly through of the solar system, with a close up visit to Mars will round out this presentation.

  • Science Standards: This presentation can address some of the Earth Science requirements in Grade 5 for both the NGSS and the CSS.  In interesting ways it can also help understand the history of planet earth as required by the NGSS particularly in Grade 7.
  • Student Preparation: This presentation is mostly self-contained and does not require much student preparation.

4. The Universe Fly Through starts with a presentation of the moon, planets and major constellations as seen in the sky (day and night) on the day of the visit. A three-dimensional tour of the solar system, including the planets, asteroids, and Kuiper Belt objects, is followed by an exploration of the near-by exo-planetary systems on the way to viewing the Milky Way from beyond its galactic confines. The culmination of the journey out through the Universe ends with a tableau of millions of galaxies as catalogued by the Sloan and 2df Digital Sky Surveys. The concepts of gravity and cosmic evolution will be stressed during this presentation.

  • Science Standards: This presentation can address some of the Earth Sciences requirements of the CSS in Grades 8 to 12 and of the NGSS in Grades 5 and 8.
  • Student Preparation: This presentation is mostly self-contained and does not require much student preparation.

5. Tonight’s Sky is a presentation that showcases the bright stars and the constellations that will be observable on the night of the visit. The color/temperature, size/mass and distance to the brightest stars will be discussed in the context of stellar evolution and intrinsic vs. apparent luminosity. Some of the more famous ancient myths associated with the constellation will be shared, prior to a screening of the full dome video, Infinity Express.

  • Science Standards: This presentation can address some of the Earth Sciences requirements of the CSS in Grades 8 to 12 and of the NGSS in Grades 5 and 8.
  • Student Preparation: This presentation is mostly self-contained and does not require much student preparation.
Last updated: 8/27/2015 11:17:44 AM