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Colorado Space Grant Outreach

University of Colorado

Discovery Learning Center

520 UCB

Boulder, CO 80309




Phone: (303) 492-3704


Below is a list of the hands-on activities we use at space grant

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Edible Rockets
Using carrots, celery, bread, and peanut butter to build an edible rocket, Pre-K students learn about the different parts of a space transportation system, the space shuttle and they learn about the launch sequence.

Presentation: Edible Rockets 3.07MB
Checklist: Edible Rockets 22KB

Geodesic Dome
Students build a large dome structure using roles of newspaper, the integrity of the dome is then tested with weights at the pinnacle of the dome.  This module is a practice in engineering, students work together in groups, they must follow written directions and complete the task within a set time goal.  The students will learn that different shapes (square vs. triangle) have different load carrying abilities. Once the students finish building their dome, the dome will be tested by measuring how much external weight the top of the dome can support.  Domes on average are about 4 ft tall in the middle and about 6 feet in diameter at the base.  Some domes have held over 15 pounds!

Presentation: Geodesic Dome 2.24MB Spanish Version 2.27MB
Module: Geodesic Dome 1.04MB  Spanish Version 1.06MB
Checklist: Geodesic Dome 12KB Spanish Version 39KB
Handout: Building Directions 60KB Spanish Version 75KB
Handout: Volunteer Preparation14KB Spanish Version 39KB
Handout: Student Worksheet 24KB

Human Satellite
Using an assortment of materials, students will learn about the parts of a satellite, then they will build their own satellite based on what they have learned. By making connections between the functions of human body parts and the functions of satellite parts, students will understand the basics of how a satellite works and why each of its parts are essential.  Students will decide on a mission for their specific satellite and will explain why all of its parts are necessary to make that mission a success.

Presentation: Human Satellite 2.74MB Spanish Version 2.52MB
Module: Human Satellite 2.72MB Spanish Version 2.21MB
Checklist: Human Satellite 11KB Spanish Version 39KB
Worksheet: Satellite Mission 254KB Spanish Version 254KB
Handout: Human Body Diagram 92KB Spanish Version 100KB
Handout: Volunteer Preparation 16KB Spanish Version 41KB

Lego Capsule Challenge (LC2)
Students build a light weight Lego structure around a light bulb so that the light bulb can survive a drop off of a balcony.  The goal is to make the lightest structure, to recover an unbroken bulb, and to have their recovered bulb work.

Presentation: Lego Capsule Challenge 7.5MB
Module: Lego Capsule Challenge 1.28MB Spanish Version 1.31MB
Checklist: Lego Capsule Challenge 11KB
Handout: Lego Drop Building Techniques 4.5MB Spanish Version 4.53MB
Handout: Team Worksheet 10KB Spanish Version 10KB
Handout: Team Results 6KB Spanish Version 12KB
Handout: Volunteer Preparation 7KB

Living in Space
The students learn about what is needed to survive in space and on another planet, and how to work together to create an environment that will allow everyone to survive. A scenario will be created in which the students will have to save themselves by learning what they need to survive. By being placed on another planet, they will learn that not every planet has the same resources and how important pre-trip planning is for astronauts.

Presentation: Living in Space 1.41MB Spanish Version 1.45MB
Module: Living in Space 2.68MB Spanish Version 2.66MB
Checklist: Living in Space 12KB Spanish Version 23KB
Handout: Planet Profiles 462KB Spanish Version 431KB
Handout: Obstacle Cards 168KB Spanish Version 184KB
Handout: Student Survival Checklist 78KB Spanish Version 78KB
Handout: Volunteer Preparation 14KB Spanish Version 26KB

Lunar Observations: Craters and Core Samples
Students create craters in a flour and cocoa powder mixture using small spheres (bouncy balls, marbles), then students take a core sample of an unidentified candy bar.  This module teaches students about the Moon and how its distinctive craters were formed.  Students will also learn how surface core samples provide information about the history of a planet and its makeup.  Students use basic measuring tools, graphing, and math as well as scientific inquiry by comparison.  Students are introduced to the concepts of gravity and velocity by seeing the relationship between the height and the size of a crater and are introduced to the geological study of planets up close and from afar.

Presentation: Craters and Core Samples 8.99MB
Module: Craters 43KB
Module: Core Samples 34KB
Checklist: Craters and Core Samples 12KB
Handout: Student Worksheet 87KB

Navigation Extravaganza
Students learn how a GPS hand-held receiver can calculate longitude and latitude of a specific location on Earth. Students work on two activities, "Trilateration" and "It's About Time". They will use simple mathematical equations to pinpoint an unknown location using three other known locations on a map and to find how far an object has traveled using only time.

Presentation: Navigation Extravaganza 2.29MB
Module: Navigation Extravaganza 37KB Spanish Version 37KB
Checklist: Navigation Extravaganza 11KB Spanish Version 36KB
Handout: Trilateration Worksheet 129KB Spanish Version 129KB
Handout: It's About Time Worksheet 21KB Spanish Version 36KB

Operation: Communication
In this module students are introduced to satellites and how they communicate. They learn about radio waves and how satellites send photo images to ground control. Students will use the idea of sharing information via radio waves by sending bits of information at a time to complete an image. This activity demonstrates how ground control sends a message to a satellite and how data, such as pictures, can be sent back from the satellite to ground control.

Presentation: Operation Communication 3.96MB
Module: Operation Communication 355KB Spanish Version 378KB
Checklist: Operation Communication 12KB Spanish Version 36KB
Handout: Mission Control Worksheet 20KB Spanish Version 32KB
Handout: Volunteer Preparation 16KB Spanish Version 41KB

Space Hardware Challenge
This module encourages students to practice their observation and communication skills.  One student at a time looks at an unknown piece of Space Hardware made out of Lego pieces.  The student must then give verbal directions to their teammates to recreate the artifact without using their hands or any other physical cues.

Presentation: Space Hardware 25.37MB
Module: Space Hardware 436 KB
Checklist: Space Hardware 9KB

Space Shuttle Game
Similar to the Oregon Trail game, students must think about what supplies are needed to survive travel in outer space.  As a team, the students discuss how much food, water, seeds, entertainment, repair, and medicine they should take on their journey.  Students take turns pulling scenario cards and learn about the dangers of traveling through space.

Presentation: Space Shuttle Game 3.12MB
Handout: Easy Game Rules 22KB
Handout: Easy Game Sheet 34KB
Handout: Hard Game Rules 23KB
Handout: Hard Game Sheet 33KB
Handout: Entertainment Risk Cards 34KB

Space Suits
This module teaches students about space suits, their design, and about solar radiation.  Students will use scientific inquiry to make and test predictions.  They will also be introduce to the use of thermometers, the concept of a control, and forming a hypothesis.  This will lead to conclusions about solar radiation that explain space suit design as well as physical observations on Earth.

Presentation: Space Suits 3.07MB
Module: Space Suits 34KB
Checklist: Space Suits 12KB
Handout: Student Worksheet in Fahrenheit 48KB
Handout: Student Worksheet in Celsius48KB

This activity is a practice in engineering that challenges the students to construct a basic hand-held spectroscope using simple diffraction grating and a paper tube.  The students will learn the concepts of spectroscopy. They will then build their own spectroscope and use their knowledge to determine which element is in the gas tubes.

Presentation: Spectroscopy 24.24MB Spanish Version 8.67MB
Module: Spectroscopy 935KB Spanish Version 958KB
Checklist: Spectroscopy 11KB Spanish Version 22KB
Handout: Spectroscope Build Directions 32KB Spanish Version 46KB
Handout: Spectrum Coloring Worksheet 13KB Spanish Version 10KB
Handout: Volunteer Preparation 16KB Spanish Version 41KB

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