STEM@Home: NASA SpacePlace

By NASA – Great Images in NASA (image link), Public Domain,

Hi all! Welcome back to the STEM@Home blog. My name is Kate, and I’m one of your virtual camp counselors! I will be a junior at Hope College this fall, studying elementary education. I am spending this summer happily in Holland with my family, taking a class online, and working for ExploreHope from home. 

Is your curiosity out of this world? If you ever find yourself looking up into the sky and wondering what on earth (well, what in space) is up there, this is the spot for you. 

NASA Space Place has games, activities, crafts, and informational videos about All Things Space. Use the topic headers at the top of the page to navigate, starting close to home and travelling farther and farther each day. Start at Earth, of course, then on to Sun to Solar System, all the way to the UNIVERSE. Here are some of my personal favorite activities!

Build Your Own Nanorover! 

Not sure what a nanorover is? Don’t worry; this website not only has all the materials and steps you’ll need to take to create your own nanorover, it also includes tons of background information and learning material. Start in the informational column on the right of the page to learn all about the real asteroid rover. 

Write a Zany Adventure Story!

The fun of Mad Libs never seems to go out of style… I love this version of it because the stories you get to fill in are earth and space themed (with topics from meteorites and black holes, to ocean currents and ‘surfing in space’) and after your out-of-this-world story has been created, there are fascinating facts and information regarding the topic at the bottom of the page. This online activity is a perfect way to combine science with language arts, and have a ton of fun doing it!

Make a Topo Map!

Have you ever wished you lived in the days of explorers – charting new routes, fording rivers and climbing mountains? Wish no more! Although most of Earth has been mapped, planetary scientists are eagerly working to map planets like Venus, Mars, and the moons of Jupiter – and learning tons about them on the way. This activity is a fun and easy way to explore the world of map-making — specifically topographical map-making. Map-making is one of the best ways to learn about new lands and environments.

Want to get friendly with topo maps (that’s what their buddies call them)? Check out this world topographical map. Compare where you live with somewhere else in the world. How do the maps of the more mountainous regions compare with flatter areas? What do the different colors and lines represent? And just for fun, here are topo maps for Venus and Mars. Dabble in a little comparative planetology this summer!

Alright, enough talking from me; it’s time for you to let your curiosity sky-rocket. On behalf of everyone here at ExploreHope, have fun exploring! We miss you – to the moon and back. -Kate

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