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 I. Science Activities

3rd grade

1. Energy: This activity is an interactive presentation that focuses on energy, its forms, its transformation, and its transfer from one place to another. 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.

  • California Science Standard: This activity addresses Grade 3 Physical Science Standard 1 sections a, b. c, d and h.
  • 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 Physical Science standard of Grade 2 will help.
  • Time: 60 to 75 minutes depending on request.

2. Light: Students 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 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 observe that light propagates in a straight line and they will explore the basic law of reflection. Time permitting they will learn about the wave nature of light and the relationship between color and wavelength.

  • California Science Standard: This activity addresses Grade 3 Physical Science Standard 2 sections a, b. c, and d.
  • Student preparation: This activity is self-contained and requires no special preparation although knowledge of the colors of the rainbow is helpful.
  • Time: preferably 75 minutes.

4th and 5th grades

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.

  • California Science Standard: This activity addresses Grade 4 Physical Science Standard 1 sections a, e, g
  • Student Preparation: Students should know about atoms, protons and electrons.
  • Time: 60 to 75 minutes depending on request.

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.

  • California Science Standard: This activity addresses Grade 4 Physical Science Standard 1 sections b, c, d and f.
  • Student preparation: Students should know about currents and circuits in electricity.
  • Time: This is best done in 75 minutes. A 60 minute version can be done but leaves out important components.

 

II. Planetarium Presentations

3rd Grade

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.

  • California Science Standard: This presentation addresses Grade 3 Earth Science Standard 4, sections a, b, c, d.
  • 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.
  • Time: This is a 60 minute presentation. For a longer presentation see #2

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

  • California Science Standard: This presentation addresses Grade 3 Earth Science Standard 4, sections a, c and d.
  • 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.
  • Time: 75 minutes

5th Grade

3. Molecules starts with a discussion of the Earth and the Moon and their differences. Their similarities, in particular their composition (on the atomic level), are stressed next. A three-dimensional fly through of the Earth, the Moon and the solar system precede the full dome video Molecularium.

  • California Science Standard: This presentation addresses Grade 5 Physical Sciences Standard 1, section a, b and d, and Earth Sciences Standard 5, sections a, b and c.
  • Student Preparation: This presentation 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 5 classes.
  • Time: 60 minutes

4. Mars starts a bit closer to home than the red planet. The Earth and its natural satellite, the Moon, will be used as the basis of comparison for a discussion of Mars. 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.

  • California Science Standard: This presentation addresses Grade 5 Earth Sciences Standard 5, sections a, b and c.
  • Student Preparation: This presentation 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 5 classes.
  • Time: 60 minutes

5. The Solar System starts with a discussion of the night sky and 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. Zooming out beyond Neptune to show the objects of the Kuiper belt and Oort cloud allows students to appreciate the full scale of the solar system. The concepts of Kepler’s laws and gravity will be reviewed during the presentation.

  • California Science Standard: This presentation addresses Grade 5 Earth Sciences Standard 5, sections a, b and c.
  • Student Preparation: This presentation 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 5 classes.
  • Time: 60 to 75 minutes depending on request.

Middle & High School

6. 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.

  • California Science Standard: This presentation addresses Grade 8 Earth Sciences Standard 4, sections a through e, as well as Grade 9-12 Earth Sciences Standard 1, sections a through g and Standard 2, sections a, c, d and f.
  • Student Preparation: This presentation 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 8-12 classes.
  • Time: 60 to 75 minutes depending on request.

7. 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.

  • California Science Standard: This presentation addresses Grade 8 Earth Sciences Standard 4, sections a through e, as well as Grade 9-12 Earth Sciences Standard 1, sections e and g and Standard 2, sections a, c, d and f.
  • Student Preparation: This presentation 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 8-12 classes.
  • Time: 60 minutes.





Last updated: 8/30/2012 2:49:41 PM