Almost any topic in Astronomy can be taught with the Cosmic Adventures planetarium. Below is a sampling of lessons availble to your audiences. If you don't see what you are looking for, let us know; we can customize programs to meet your teaching needs.
Most of the activities listed here come from the fine folks at
Digitalis Education Solutions, manufacturers of the projector used in the Cosmic Adventures dome.
Throughout the lesson plans are items in [bracketed
system is used to separate an instruction from the body of the
lesson, to remind you to show an image or video, or to provide
possible answers to a suggested question.
These lessons were designed
to address National Science Education Standards. You can see
how these standards are addressed.
If you have suggestions for improving these lesson plans, for
resources, or for new lesson topics, please let us know.
These lessons are linked below in PDF (for printing) and RTF (for editing) formats.
All Ages (PreK-Adult)
- A Brief Tour of the Universe (New! Program available now, write up coming soon) Inside the computerized planetarium, audiences are immersed in a 360º view of the sky while discussing different cultures' interpretations of the stars, exploring the moon's phases, zooming in on the planets and venturing into deep space before returning to Earth. (This program encompasses some elements of other lesson plans listed below.)
- The Sky Tonight (New! Program available now, write up coming soon)This program focuses on the current evening sky, including prominent constellations, moon phases and visible planets. We will also study significant astronomical events in the days and weeks ahead. This program is well suited to short programs shown multiple times throughout a day or evening such as during "Space Day" or "Star Party" events.
- The Star of Bethlehem (New! Program available now, write up coming soon)In this Christmas-themed program, we'll travel back in time and across the world to examine both the faith-based and scientific evidence for the "Star of Wonder" that announced the birth of a very special baby.
- Voyage to the Moon (New! Program available now, write up coming soon) This program focuses on Earth’s nearest neighbor. First, the Moon’s phases will be discussed. Then still images and video clips will be used to look back at the first Moon landing. Finally, audience members will experience a unique perspective - viewing Earth from the Moon.
- Moving Right Along (RTF) is an introduction to Earth's rotation and revolution and how those movements affect our view of the sky.
- Sky Stories (RTF) introduces students to the pictures and stories of some Greco-Roman constellations, as well as reasons why constellations were created.
- What's Up? (RTF) explores what we can see in the sky (stars, planets, the moon) and differences between those objects.
- Moons of the Solar System (RTF) (NEW!) explores differences between planets and moons, and introduces students to major moons of the
- Planets (RTF) explores the differences between stars and
planets, how we can recognize a planet in the night sky, and planetary
motion (prograde and retrograde).
- Star Quest (RTF) introduces some Greco-Roman
constellations; students also learn to use star maps to find the
pictures in the sky.
- StellarLunar (RTF) explores stars, constellations, and the phases of
the moon. Students learn what causes the phases and the name of each
phase as they model the earth, moon, and sun system.
The Astronomy of Lewis & Clark (New! Program available now, write up coming soon) discusses the journey of the Corps of Discovery and their two year mission to explore the Louisiana Purchase. The techniques and instruments used to chart their course are illustrated and the skies as seen by the explorers are shown in the planetarium.
- Mars (RTF) (NEW!) explores how to recognize the
Red Planet in the sky, what makes Mars interesting, and past and future exploration missions to this planet.
- Stellar Navigation (RTF) , written for the northern hemisphere, introduces
students to the idea of navigating by the stars. Students learn to use
stars to determine latitude and compass points, and observe how our
location on Earth affects our view of the sky.
- Solstice and Equinox (RTF) explores the relevance of solstices and equinoxes, including how they relate to the seasons we experience.
- World in Motion (RTF) explores what is in motion in our solar system,
that Earth's movements give us the day and the year, that gravity keeps
planets in orbit around the sun and the moon in orbit around the earth,
how to recognize a planet in the night sky, and prograde and retrograde
- Astrology: Fact or Fiction (RTF) debunks astrology, explores the differences
between science and pseudoscience, introduces students to the ecliptic
and precession, and explains how and why the zodiac signs were created.
- How do we Know? (RTF) explores how we know what we know about our
universe by looking at developments in three major eras: Greco-Roman
times, the 17th century, and the late 19th century to today.
- Hubble Space Telescope (RTF) explores why the
Hubble Space Telescope is in space, as well as several discoveries it