Grades 6-8

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


Milky Way Mission: Tour of the Milky (6-8)

The audience is transformed into an alien species that is desperate to find a new place to live. The aliens stumble upon the Milky Way Galaxy and begin to explore its vast systems. Suddenly they begin to receive strange radio transmissions. Following these transmissions leads them to survey a solar system with an array of planets and physical characteristics. Take this journey to help the alien species find a planet that is suitable for them to live. The engaging visuals within this learning experience incorporate key grade band curriculum targets. NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: ESS1.A, ESS1.B, ESS2.A, LS1.A, PS2.A, PS2.B, PS3.B, PS3.C, PS4.C

Sacred Fire – Our Sun (6-8)

Let’s discuss the life giving energy that is produced by our closest star, the Sun. The content of this experience details the life cycle of stars, beginning with the birth and the energy producing process, fusion. Our Sun is also compared in size to the planets and other stars. The journey ends with the death of stars, including our Sun, and nucleosynthesis. NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: ESS1.A, ESS1.B, ESS2.A, LS1.C, PS1.C, PS3.D, PS4.A, PS4.B

Asteroids – Finding Them Before They Find Us (7-12)

With the recent flyby of DA14 and the atmospheric explosion of a small meteor over Russia, we all wonder when the next “big one” will hit the Earth. Using real world data that tracks near earth and potentially hazardous asteroids, we investigate the thousands of asteroids that travel within our solar system. We will analyze previous impacts on the Earth, Moon, and other celestial bodies. Discussion of the early solar system will describe the formation of our Moon, which was a beneficial result of a huge impact. NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: ESS1.A, ESS1.B, ESS2.A, LS1.A, PS2.A, PS2.B, PS3.B, PS3.C, 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 6-8 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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