Virtual Field Trips for Grades 3 and Up

Teachers, are you interested in virtual field trip opportunities?

Below, find unique opportunities for you and your students to engage with the Museum’s content online. Each reservable experience is standards-aligned and provides a suite of materials surrounding the content area aimed at engaging students through:

  • content deep-dives ready for instructional use
  • hands-on experiences that include adaptations for completion at home
  • artifact immersions that connect our collection to your content
  • and virtual games and activities that extend the content for your students

To register for a virtual field trip experience, please sign up through the link associated with your selected topic. Within the registration form choose the topic materials you would like to receive and pick a start date for your experience. The start date will determine the window of time your students may participate and be scored in the virtual game or break out room corresponding with your experience. If you have any questions about these experiences, please contact NASMFieldTrips@si.edu.

These experiences are available for groups of 10 or more. 

A purple spherical planet.

Earth and Its Place in the Universe 

Grades: 5-12 

What is in our universe, and what is Earth’s place within it? Investigate the tools, objects, and phenomena that teach us more about the Universe and explore a variety of readings sharing different peoples’ experiences observing the sky.

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More about Earth and Its Place in the Universe

Standards: 

  • NGSS: 5-ESS1-1, 5-ESS1-2, MS-ESS1-1, MS-ESS1-2, MS-ESS1-3, MS-ETS1-2
  • VA SOL: 4.6, 4.7, 4.8, 6.8, ES.5, ES.13

Content Deep-Dive: Learn about Earth and its place in the universe through a meteorite exploration, and engage in a sorting activity that challenges students’ knowledge of size, distance, and age of different objects in our universe.
Hands-on Activities: Students use their observation skills to compare Earth rocks with meteorites and engage in a cratering simulation using commonly available materials.
Artifact Immersion: Astronomy tools from our collection that illustrate how we know what we know about the universe.
Class-wide activity: A GooseChase competition that challenges students to demonstrate what they have learned about the relationships between Earth, the Moon, and the Sun and solve the mystery of the shrinking moon.

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Tracking and Data Relay satellite composed of two sets of panels and tow sets of umbrella shaped device, connected at the center at a copper octogon.

Finding Our Way (Geography & GIS) 

Grades: 6-8 

How do we know where we are? Through this field trip, students will better understand maps as rich visual resources. 

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More about Finding Our Way

Standards:

  • DCPS: 6.1.6; 6.1.8; 6.1.9; 6.1.10
  • C3: D2.Geo.2.6-8., D2.Geo.1.6-8.  
  • CCSS: D4.1

Content Deep-Dive:  Learn about the history and uses of navigational technology while determining imaging most helpful in locating a fallen drone.  
Hands-on Activities: Students learn about GIS maps and create a GIS-inspired map of their own neighborhoods.
Artifact Immersion: Items are highlighted from our collection that contribute to our ability to understand and navigate the world around us.
Class-wide activity: The class will engage in a GooseChase competition that challenges students to locate different elements of their own community that are important for GIS mapping.

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A photograph of an astronaut in space.

Living and Working in Space

Grades: 3-12 

The more we know about the universe, the more we learn about ourselves. Every NASA mission embodies the spirit of discovery. While living in space might appear to be nothing but fun; some of the known and unknown effects of space can spoil the party.  This field trip will provide a glimpse into astronauts' daily lives while in space and the impact on the human body.  

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More about Living and Working in Space

Standards:

  • NGSS: 3-LS1-1, 3-LS4-1, 3-LS4-3, 3-LS4-4, 4-LS1-1, 4-LS1-2, 4-ESS3-2, 5-PS1-1, 5-PS2-1, 5-PS3-1, MS-LS1-1, MS-LS1-3, MS-LS1-7, MS-LS4-5, MS-ETS1-1, HS-PS3-1, HS-LS2-7

Content Deep-Dive: Learn about the number of biological and psychological hazards astronauts encounter that can impact the success of the mission as well as the long term health of the astronaut.  (Complete with recorded audio for an asynchronous student experience.)
Hands-on Activities: Students will participate in two different activities that demonstrate how easily the body can change in different situations. “Bag of Bones” will demonstrate how an astronaut’s bones start to lose density in space. “Get a Leg Up” will get your students out of their seats and interacting with the way fluids in the body shift when we’re in different positions.
Artifact Immersion: Items are highlighted from our collection that help astronauts live and work in space.
Class-wide activity:  The class will engage in a GooseChase competition that challenges students to identify the different ways that being in space can affect the body and the different precautions that astronauts take to protect themselves.

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A silver trailer with the text "Mobile Quarantine Facility" on the exterior

Living Through History

Grades: 1-8 

What does Air & Space have to do with pandemics and protests? Explore connections between student experiences at home during the COVID-19 pandemic and astronaut experiences during space exploration.

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More about Living Through History

Standards:

  • NGSS: ESS3.C; MS-ESS3-3
  • Health: 1.2.1, 1.5.1, 1.8.1; 1.12.3
  • CCSS: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.1.C; CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.1.D; CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7, CSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.4; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1d
  • C3: D2.Geo.4.6-8; D2.His.4.6-8; D2.Civ.10.K-2; D2.His.4.6-8; D2.His.7.9-12; D2.His.6.6-8

Content Deep-Dive: Learn about how astronauts experience quarantine and isolation during long term space travel and ways that NASA mitigates the associated biological and psychological impacts.
Hands-on Activities: Using astronaut hygiene and personal preference kits as models, students create and justify their own COVID-19 pandemic kits.
Artifact Immersion: Items are highlighted from our collection that were used by astronauts for  hygiene and during quarantine and how this has changed over time.
Class-wide activity: The class will engage in a virtual breakout room that explores what satellites are teaching us about human impact on the environment during stay at home orders.

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A photograph of an astronaut in space.

Mission to Mars

Grades: 6-12 

From Mariner's first pictures of Mars in 1964 to Perservearance's anticipated landing in March of  2021, humans have been on a mission to learn more about the red planet. Students will explore the climate and geology of Mars, along with the challenges of robotic exploration in space.  

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More about Mission to Mars

Standards:

  • NGSS: MS-ESS2.C, MS-ESS2.D, MS-ESS1.B, MS-ESS1.A, MS-ETS1-1, HS-ESS1-4, HS-ESS2-2, HS-ESS2-5, HS-ETS1-1
  • CCSS: MATH.CONTENT.6.NS.C.5, MATH.CONTENT.5.G.A.1, MATH.CONTENT.6.NS.C.6
  • VA SOL: Science 4.6, 4.7, 4.9, 6.2, 6.3, 6.5, 6.6, 6.8, ES.3, ES.7, ES.11, ES.12, PH.4. PH.5

Content Deep-Dive: Students will explore the climate and geology of Mars, along with the challenges of robotic exploration in space.
Hands-on Activities: Students will program a Mars rover using Scratch and plan their own mission to Mars.  
Artifact Immersion: Spacecraft from our collection are highlighted and show the evolution of technology we have used to explore Mars.
Class-wide activity: The class will engage in a GooseChase competition that challenges students to incorporate what they know about Mars.

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A young person throw an airplane through a hoop.

Paper Airplane Design 

Grades: 3-8

How do airplanes fly? Control surfaces, forces of flight, and center of gravity are all things that impact how an aircraft flies whether they are made out of paper, fabric, aluminum, or carbon fiber.  Paper airplanes are a great way to experiment with aircraft design.  This field trip uses paper airplanes and the scientific method to explore the relationship between an airplanes center of gravity and flight stability.

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More about Paper Airplane Design

Standards: 

  • NGSS: 3-5.Engineering Design, MS.Engineering Design,  3-PS2.A, 5-PS2.A, MS-PS2-2

Content Deep-Dive: Students will explore the relationship between an airplane's center of gravity and flight stability and how control surfaces affect how an aircraft flies.
Hands-on Activities: Students experiment with the center of gravity on a paper airplane and collect data to make conclusions about aircraft stability and manipulate control surfaces to get their paper airplane to meet several challenges. 
Artifact Immersion: Aircraft are highlighted from our collection that show the connection between wing design and aircraft function.
Class-wide activity: The class will engage in a GooseChase competition that challenges students to apply aviation concepts to the world around them.

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An astronaut on the moon.

To the Moon and Beyond

Grades: 3-12

The Moon has fascinated people throughout time. The 1969 Apollo 11 mission was the first time humans set foot on a celestial body. This field trip will discuss the science of landing humans on the Moon and its lifeless environment.  Content is scaffolded to explain how the moon affects us here on Earth, NASA’s fight for first place in the space race, and today’s journey to produce future missions to explore the Moon and Mars.

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More about To the Moon and Beyond

Standards: 

  • NGSS: 4-ESS2-1, 5-ESS1-2, 5-ESS1-1, 5-PS2-1, MS-ESS1-1,  MS-LS2-2, HS-ESS1-6, HS-ESS3-1
  • VA SOL: Science 4.6, 4.7, 4.8, ES.3

Content Deep-Dive:  Explore the phases of the Moon, its relationship to Earth and the story of the Apollo missions. (Complete with recorded audio for an asynchronous student experience.)
Hands-on Activities: An engineering challenge where students work as mission design engineers to create a Lunar Rover to support humans on the Moon and a coding challenge using Scratch.
Artifact Immersion: Items are highlighted from our collection that were part of historical milestones in space exploration.
Class-wide activity: A virtual breakout room that challenges students to demonstrate what they have learned about the Moon and our exploration of it.

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An aerial photograph of land and water.

Weathering and Erosion

Grades: 3-12

Mountains, valleys, peaks, and crevasses our rockiest terrain has been built and demolished by the powerful effects of weathering and erosion. But Earth isn’t the only planet to experience these phenomena, Mars has also been shaped by these natural forces. In fact, Mars’ mysteries are slowly being uncovered as weathering and erosion takes its toll. Hidden ice caps and moving boulders are slowly telling the story of Mars’ existence. Join us as we explore the processes of weathering, erosion, and deposition and how they appear on Earth and Mars.

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More about Weathering and Erosion

Standards:

  • NGSS3-ESS2-1, 4-ESS2-1, 4-ESS1-1,  4-ESS2-2,  MS-LS2-5, MS-ESS2-2,HS-ESS1-6, HS-ESS2-1, HS-ESS1-2, HS-ESS1-6, HS-ESS2-2, HS-ESS3-2, HS-ESS2-5
  • VA SOL4.9, 6.7, 6.8. 6.9, ES.5, ES.7, ES.8, ES.11

Content Deep-Dive: Students will apply what they know about the processes of weathering, erosion, and deposition and how it creates soil on Earth and use it to understand the geologic history of Mars. (Complete with recorded audio for an asynchronous student experience).
Hands-on Activities: Get your hands dirty to learn about weathering & erosion! Students will complete two different challenges showing the effects of weathering and erosion on the soil. First students will build erosion bottles to test what materials will best stop the soil from leaving the bottle. Next students will build erosion barriers to create a product that will stop weathering and erosion from taking its toll on the “landscape.”
Artifact Immersion: Items are highlighted from our collection that detect, prevent, and explain weathering and erosion.
Class-wide activity: The class will engage in a GooseChase competition that challenges students to demonstrate their knowledge of weathering and erosion.

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A black and white photograph of a pilot.

World War II

Grades: 3-8

This year is the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.  Explore the history of World War II, pioneering events during this period, and the legacy of the people that served.

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More about World War II

Standards:

  • NGSSMS.Engineering Design and 3-5.Engineering Design
  • VA SOLUSII.1-a, USII.1-c, USII.1-d, USII.7-c

Content Deep-Dive: Learn about the contributions women and African Americans made to the Army Air Force, and how they impacted the development of the armed forces for the future.
Hands-on Activities: An engineering challenge where students recreate Triple Nickles jumps, figuring out the best method for their “paratrooping potato” to land safely on target.
Artifact Immersion: World War II-era aircraft are highlighted from our collection connecting design and to aircraft purpose.
Class-wide activity: The class will engage in a Virtual Breakout Room that challenges students to demonstrate what they have learned about World War II by solving multiple puzzles or in a GooseChase competition that challenges students to remember what they have learned about World War II.

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Virtual Field Trips are made possible by the generous support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and The Hillside Foundation — Allan and Shelley Holt.