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STEM Activity Spotlight: Space

By Keerthana Vinod


The wonders of space are virtually endless. With thousands of stars, galaxies, planets, and more, there is still a lot to be learned about our universe. However, with the knowledge we have used from STEM, we’ve learned to reach for the stars and above by designing rockets and rovers. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at a few STEM activities that you can do to learn more about space.


Make Your Own Moon Phases Calendar (GRADES 5-12)

The moon is the first object in outer space that we’ve landed on. It’s also something that we can still observe from here on Earth. This activity will involve engineering and math. It will challenge you to build and use a moon phase calendar to see what phase the moon will be in on any given day.


Materials:


Procedure:

  1. Print out the template two-sided on heavy paper/cardstock

  2. With your drawing tool, shade in each of the moon phases according to the labels

  3. Cut out each of the pieces on the dashed lines as instructed on the template

  4. Punch a hole with your hole puncher where it says “Punch Hole” on the viewing wheel

  5. Tape down the moonrise & moonset panels on the viewing wheel as instructed

  6. Use a pencil to poke a hole in each of the 3 wheels

  7. Stack the pieces with the calendar wheel on the bottom, the moon phases wheel in the middle, and finally the viewing wheel at the very top

  8. Fasten all of the pieces together by guiding the brass fastener through the holes you made in the center

  9. Try your moon phase calendar out by referencing the “How to Use” Section of the template


Moon Journal (GRADES 5-8)

Each time you see the moon, it’s a bit different. Sometimes it’s full, other times, it’s not there at all! This STEM activity will involve science and math. It will encourage you to see the moon’s phases in real-time, as well as make connections about their patterns.


Materials:


Procedure:

  1. Go outside when you can see the moon and make note of the date & time, as well as the phase of the moon

  2. After doing this for around a month, look at your observations. Is there a pattern?


Build Your Own LEGO Rocket! (GRADES K-12)

Rockets are how we’ve been able to explore the moon, the solar system, and beyond! Now it’s your turn to design and build your rocket out of the spare LEGO pieces you have lying around! This activity will involve engineering and technology. It will challenge you to build a rocket out of the LEGO pieces you have.


Materials:

  • Spare LEGO pieces

Procedure:

  • Use your imagination to build a rocket out of your LEGOs


Space is an endless realm of possibilities, and with the power of STEM, we’re only beginning to scratch the surface. These activities will help you learn about things beyond planet Earth and help you gain further inspiration for our galaxy.


Works Cited

Bush, Coy. “Hands-on STEM Activities for Students.” NASA, NASA, 9 Feb. 2021,

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/stem/80th-stem-activities-space.

“Rocket Gallery.” NASA, NASA, https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/rocket/gallery.html.

“What Are Moon Phases?” Phases of the Moon, https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy

/moon/phases.html.

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