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Outreach Activities

Below we’ve listed the science outreach activities sponsored by Astronomy Live! and the Institute for Planets and Exoplanets.  Please take note of the requirements for each activity, and make sure to select an activity that is appropriate for the grade level of your students.  Read more about how to apply for an outreach event at your school or a UCLA school visit here and contact iplex@epss.ucla.edu with questions.  Don’t forget to apply early, as priority will be given to requests made at least 60 days before the event.

Download a printable version of the activity list.

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  • Make a Comet
  • Sponsored by Astronomy Live!
  • Duration: 20 min
  • Age Range: Grades K-6
  • Volunteers: 1
  • Requirements: Table
  • Description: We teach students about the origin and importance of comets in our Solar System by making a comet out of dry ice, dirt, water, corn syrup, and ammonia.
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  • Pocket Solar System
  • Sponsored by Astronomy Live!
  • Duration: 30-45 min
  • Age Range: Grades K-1 (with adult supervision) and 2-5
  • Volunteers: 2
  • Requirements: Indoor activity
  • Description: Students learn about distance scales in our solar system, and what would happen if you shrunk our solar system down to the size of a piece of ticker tape!
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  • Water Bottle Rockets
  • Sponsored by Astronomy Live!
  • Duration: 45 min
  • Age Range: Grades 3-8
  • Volunteers: at least 2
  • Requirements: Outdoor activity, requires a large space and access to water and power
  • Description: We teach students about the aerodynamics and the parts of a rocket while building a plastic water bottle rocket which we launch with an air compressor.
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  • The Sun and Solar Telescopes
  • Sponsored by Astronomy Live!
  • Duration: 30 min (depends on the number of students)
  • Age Range: Grades K-8
  • Volunteers: at least 2
  • Requirements: Outdoor activity, weather permitting, requires power
  • Description: We use a large cross-section model of the Sun to teach students about the layers of the sun, sunspots, and solar flares.
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  • Stars and Stellar Evolution
  • Sponsored by Astronomy Live!
  • Duration: 45 min
  • Age Range: Grades 3-8
  • Volunteers: at least 2
  • Requirements: N/A
  • Description: Students will assemble a large HR diagram, which teaches them about the temperatures and colors of stars. In addition, we use multicolored beads to show them where different elements in the universe come from.
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  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Sponsored by EPSS/iPLEX
  • Duration: 30 min
  • Age Range: Grades K-8
  • Volunteers: at least 2
  • Requirements: Power outlets
  • Description: Students learn the basics of electricity and magnetism in the context of our solar system through several hands-on demos. Students learn about the Sun, solar wind, Earth’s magnetic field, and the effects of space weather.
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  • Dinosaurs and Fossils
  • Sponsored by EPSS/iPLEX
  • Duration: 1 hr 30 min
  • Age Range: Grades K-5
  • Volunteers: at least 2
  • Requirements: Access to water
  • Description: Teaches students about fossils, dinosaurs and allows them to make their own fossil casts from clay and plaster of Paris.
UCLA Meteorite Gallery
  • Meteorite Gallery Tour (UCLA Campus Only)
  • Sponsored by EPSS/iPLEX
  • Duration: 30 min
  • Age Range: Grades 3-12
  • Volunteers: 1-2
  • Requirements: N/A
  • Description: Students learn about a wide variety of meteorites, how they came to be and learn to tell the difference between a meteorite and a “meteorwrong” by examining specimens.
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  • Rocks and Minerals
  • Sponsored by EPSS/iPLEX
  • Duration: 45 min
  • Age Range: Grades K-6
  • Volunteers: at least 2
  • Requirements: N/A
  • Description: Students examine different types of rocks and minerals to learn what the Earth and planets are made of and how they are used in everyday applications.
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  • Vortices Galore!
  • Sponsored by EPSS/iPLEX
  • Duration: 30-45 min
  • Age Range: Grades K-8
  • Volunteers: at least 2
  • Requirements: Requires water and power
  • Description: Students use rotating tables/weather-in-a-tank apparatus and food coloring to learn about Coriolis forces, and natural phenomena like hurricanes, tornadoes and the Great Red Spot on Jupiter.
Explore Your Universe
  • Natural Disasters: Earthquakes
  • Sponsored by EPSS/iPLEX
  • Duration: 45 min
  • Age Range: Grades K-8
  • Volunteers: at least 2
  • Requirements: Requires water and power
  • Description: Students use liquefaction tank, elastic rebound table, and ground motion demos to learn about earthquakes. Students will also be taught earthquake safety drills
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  • Space Missions
  • Sponsored by EPSS/iPLEX
  • Duration: 1 hr
  • Age Range: Grades 3-8
  • Volunteers: at least 3
  • Requirements: Requires power, tables
  • Description: Students learn about current missions Diviner, Artemis/Themis (terrella, magnetic fields), Elfin (spacecraft engineering)
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  • Natural Resources and Alternative Energy
  • Sponsored by EPSS/iPLEX
  • Duration: 1 hr
  • Age Range: Grades 3-8
  • Volunteers: at least 3
  • Requirements: Requires power, tables
  • Description: Students see how energy is transferred and electrical energy is produced using tabletop Stirling Engines.  Students can also experiment by creating their own wind turbine blades and see for themselves how wind turbines and solar panels produce electricity.

 

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