This selection of activities looks at the basics of how planets moves around the Sun, the influence of gravity and human space exploration.
Orbital Mechanics: in this activity we teach you how to measure the mass of Jupiter by measuring the orbital period and semi-major axis of its moons.
Rockets: To get objects into space from the surface of the Earth we need to launch them on a rocket. We have water rocket launches and show how these can be used to teach the basics of ballistic flight, the rocket equation, and touch on orbital mechanics. This activity is an outdoor one.
Scale of the solar system: We use our augmented reality planets to demonstrate the scale of the solar system and show orbital attributes of the planets. This is a great activity for getting the students outside and showing relative distances while also learning about the how the planets orbit the Sun, the differences in spin, and axis tilt. Ideally this is done outside, if the weather is bad it can also be done in the classroom with the AR models.
The power of the Sun: we use solar radiation to measure how powerful the Sun is.
Human exploration of Mars: we look at human attempts to understand our neighbour, Mars and discuss what it would be like to live on Mars. This activity is based on Hari’s experience as a Mars analog astronaut and our Curious Minds-funded Synergies in Space – Mission to Mars programme.
We take you wherever you want to go in the Universe. Our lessons cover all space and astronomy aspects of the NZC.
Learn about Planet Earth, the Moon, Mars and what’s in the sky, and take a journey through the Universe in our portable planetarium. We feature live presentations and, on request, we have a selection of educational planetarium shows. We can tailor the programme to match where you are in the curriculum for any astronomy, astrobiology or planetary sciences enquiry. With our portable planetarium we can travel throughout the Universe, whether that’s around the Solar System or out to the edge of the Universe is up to you!
Our planetarium is brand new and large enough to comfortably fit one class at the time. We project in the night sky in 4K and our presenters, Hari and Sam, are highly skilled science communicators and can easily fly the planetarium view to anywhere in the Universe.