Grades 3-5

The following experiences are designed to address Next Generation Science Standards and are easily customizable. (Click titles for details.)


Tilted Twist (2-5)

Beginning the experience from an observational perspective of seasonal differences, board a virtual spaceship to explore how Earth seasons are caused by a complex 3-dimensional interplay between the Sun and Earth. Fly above the plane of the Solar System to examine Earth’s orbit around the Sun and the tilt of its axis and how this causes our predictable seasonal variation. Discover that this tilt, and associated seasons, is a major factor in keeping extreme global temperature swings under control – potentially vital for enabling life to develop on Earth and a possible feature to look for in the search for extra-solar planets that might sustain life. Extend the investigation throughout the solar system to consider the science behind planetary motion and encounter other planets with differing axial tilt to compare what that might mean for ‘seasons’ on other planets. The journey ends with a tour of the night sky, highlighting major constellations of the current season. NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: ESS1.A, ESS1.B, ESS1.C, ESS2.C, PS2.A, PS2.B, PS3.A, PS3.B, PS3.C, PS3.D, PS4.D, PS4.A

My Moon: Moon Phases (3-5)

This experience takes kids on an exploration of humankind’s ongoing fascination with our beautiful celestial satellite – the Moon. Be there at the formation of the moon through early Earth’s gigantic collision with a Mars-sized planet tearing off a huge chunk of Earth. Explore how our huge Moon played a vital role in creating conditions conducive to the emergence of life on Earth. Recreate the intense experience of overcoming formidable obstacles to landing the first humans on the Moon. Thoroughly explore the science of Moon phases, empowering each individual to deepen their own fascination with our celestial neighbor that is the most dominant object in the night sky. The journey ends with a tour of the night sky, highlighting major constellations of the current season. NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: ESS1.A, ESS1.B, ESS1.C, PS2.A, PS2.B, PS3.C, PS4.B, PS4.C


Our Place in Space (K-12)

Attendees at the Festival of Faiths, Home and Garden Show and school science nights all have been awed by this dynamic, immersive option. The experience is easily adapted to reach a large number of people of various ages and knowledge levels, from kindergarteners to adults. Beginning on the Earth, the audience is launched into space to venture to the edge of the observable universe. The pilot makes stops along the way to point out key astronomical facts and data. This exciting voyage also chronicles man’s desire to travel amongst the stars. NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: ESS1.A, ESS1.B, ESS1.C, PS4.B, PS4.C


NGSS Disciplinary Core Idea Progressions

Each experience/program within the astronomical experiences offered by Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium is focused upon the Disciplinary Core Idea Progressions. Each core idea is presented at the appropriate grade band with overlapping of more than one sub-idea, to allow a transition period for understanding and meeting performance expectations. Click the button below for detailed Performance Expectations and additional information.

Grades 3-5 NGSS Alignments


Customize Your Experience

Our experienced and knowledgeable planetarium educator can work with you to customize the experience (within the capabilities of the technology). Possible customizations include, but are not limited to:

  • Expanded experiences (up to half a day per session)
  • Concentrated focus on specific learning objective
  • Incorporation of teacher-led instruction into program delivery
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