Activity Kits

Hands-on Earth and Space Science activities from the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE), that are suitable for use in informal learning settings, such as afterschool programs, summer camps, libraries, scouting groups, community organizations. The activities can be adapted by educators to use in formal K-12 classroom settings.

Rental for educator members only. 2 week rental period.
Restocking fee: $15 (per loan, up to 5 kits). Available for pick-up only.


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Light and Shadows

Solar Eclipse:   

  • A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves between the Sun and Earth, casting a shadow on Earth.   
  • A solar eclipse is a rare and beautiful event.   
  • People have observed and tried to explain solar eclipses for thousands of years.   

Big Sun, Small Moon:   

  • We can see a solar eclipse from Earth because the Sun and Moon appear to be the same size in the sky.   
  • The further away an object is, the smaller it appears.   
  • NASA researchers learn new things by studying the Sun during a total solar eclipse.   

Bear’s Shadow: 

  • This activity works especially well for younger visitors and their families.
  • A shadow is created when an object blocks light from falling on a surface.   
  • An object’s shadow always appears on the opposite side from the light source.  

Explore Earth

Rising Sea:   

  • Earth’s sea levels are rising, submerging land and causing coastlines to recede.   
  • Rising sea levels will have major consequences for people all around the world.   
  • Scientists are monitoring the sea level, providing information that can help us prepare for and adapt to the changing ocean.   

Investigating Clouds:   

  • Clouds influence Earth’s weather and climate.   
  • Clouds form when individual water molecules combine into droplets.   
  • NASA researchers study clouds in order to better understand and predict how Earth’s climate is changing.   
  • Particular to the information sheet, worksheet, and Globe postcard that come in the activity: Citizen science programs collect and share the data with researchers that collaborate with NASA.  

Paper Mountains:   

  • Earth is a constantly changing and dynamic system.   
  • The shape of the land and the pull of gravity both influence how water moves over Earth.   
  • NASA scientists use observations to make predictions about the future of our planet. 

Explore the Solar System

Pocket Solar System:   

  • There’s a lot of empty space in our solar system—distances between planets are vast!    The solar system is made up of eight planets and many other objects orbiting the Sun.   
  • NASA’s science missions are exploring our solar system, and beyond.  

Stomp Rockets:  

  • Some rockets carry science tools—not scientists—into space!  
  • Sounding rockets take quick, low-flying trips into space.   
  • Scientists use many different kinds of spacecraft to make new discoveries.   

Magnetic Fields:  

  • Scientists have observed active magnetic fields throughout the solar system.   
  • Earth has a strong, protective magnetic field.   
  • The Sun’s magnetic field extends out into space and sends powerful bursts of magnetic energy into the solar system.   

Mars Rovers:  

  • Teams of scientists and engineers use rovers and other robotic vehicles to explore distant worlds.   
  • Rover missions, like those to Mars, are carefully planned here on Earth   
  • NASA missions require large teams of people working together.  

Craters:   

  • Studying the surface of a planet or moon can reveal its history and composition.   
  • Impact craters form when a meteorite collides with the surface of a moon or planet (or other body in space).   
  • Scientists use tools to find and observe craters and learn more about the geologic processes on planets, moons, asteroids, and other worlds.   

Hide and Seek Moon 

  • Specifically designed for early childhood.
  • Tools help scientists study objects that are very far away.   
  • Binoculars make distant objects appear closer and brighter.   
  • NASA scientists use powerful telescopes to study objects in space. Explore the Universe  

Ice Orbs:   

  • Ocean worlds may be the most likely places to discover life beyond Earth.   
  • Scientists think that ocean worlds have icy cold, frozen exteriors and warmer, liquid interiors.   
  • Some astrobiologists are studying ocean worlds for evidence and signs of life.   

Orbiting Objects:  

  • The force of gravity influences everything (with mass) in space.   
  • Every object in space exerts a gravitational pull on every other object.   
  • Gravity keeps objects orbiting other objects, and prevents them from flying off into space.   

Imagining Life:   

  • If life exists elsewhere in the universe, it could look very different from life on Earth.   
  • Life on Earth comes in an amazing variety of forms.   
  • Astrobiologists use our knowledge about life on Earth to make predictions about what life might be like elsewhere in the universe.  

Pack a Space Telescope:   

  • Engineers design, build, and test new technologies to study the universe.   
  • Careful planning and design help us make new discoveries and better understand Earth and space.  
  • NASA teams work together to launch, guide into orbit, and operate a space telescope.   

Exoplanet Transits:  

  • Scientists are searching the universe for planets orbiting distant stars.   
  • When a planet, or other object, moves between its star and Earth, some light from that star gets blocked from view.   
  • The transit method is one of the ways NASA scientists search for distant planets.   

Objects in Motion:  

  • Objects in the universe interact in complex but predictable ways.   
  • Stars, planets, moons, and other objects in space orbit around each other because of gravity.   
  • NASA scientists use what we know about the laws of physics to make new predictions and discoveries.