• Field Trip

    More than 250 interactive science, technology, energy and health exhibits await students of all ages.  We’re experts at making sure that bringing your group to the Museum is smooth sailing all the way. Discounted admission for groups of 20 or more!

  • ScienceWorks

    Your students become scientists during our ScienceWorks Labs. All programs align with National Science Education Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations and Common Core State Standards. Labs are available year-round for preschool to middle school students.

  • Outreach

    It's Science on Wheels: We bring the Museum to you!  We offer fun, inquiry-based programs for the students in your classroom, library, festival or youth center! All programs address objectives outlined in the Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations and include pre- and post-visit activities.

  • Distance Learning

    Our educators use videoconferencing to engage your students in a dynamic, hands-on learning experience. Program kits sent to classroom teachers include nearly everything you need for experiments. Kits are yours to keep! All programs address National Science Education Standards and align with Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations.

  • Professional Development

    Join us for fast-paced, hands-on teacher workshops that provide elementary and middle school educators with new hands-on tools for incorporating interactive science and math activities into your classroom.  Join us for professional development opportunities both at the museum and at your school.

  • Scout Camp-Ins

    Stay overnight with us as we dive deep into science experiments! These events are designed especially for our Scout audience. 

  • Summer Camp

    Explore week-long science and math activities in conjuntion with Ann Arbor Rec&Ed and other local organizations.  Elementary and middle school children can investigate a different theme each week through hands-on and engaging fun.

  • Birthday Parties

    What do you get when you mix one part science, one part fun, and one part celebration? A birthday party at the Museum! Experience a birthday full of discovery by exploring more than 250 exhibits and experimenting with a hands-on activity. Celebrate in a unique and interactive environment to make your special day really special!

  • Museum Rental

    Discover a unique, dynamic opportunity that will delight guests at your next function. The Museum is available after hours for receptions, award dinners, corporate meetings, client appreciation, bar and bat mitzvah, birthdays, holiday parties and more for up to 300 people. The Museum’s exhibit areas are open for guests to explore. 

Back to Programs

WORKSHOP The Universe

Outreach Workshop: The Universe

The program begins with an astronomy "orientation" that features lively demonstrations to illustrate the concepts that are important to understanding the study of the stars and ends inside our portable, inflatable planetarium known as StarLab.

Price

$310 - Includes two 50-minute workshops.  Additional workshops $125 each.

Register for an Outreach Workshop today!

The Universe Requirements

  • Maximum capacity of approximately 25 students plus 2 adults
  • Requires a room separate from all other activities
  • Minimum ceiling clearance of 12 ft
  • Minimum floor space of 25 ft x 25 ft
  • Requires inside location with a grounded outlet

Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations, Science v.1.09

  • Identify the sun as the most important source of heat which warms the land, air, and water of the Earth. (E.ES.01.11)
  • Identify the force that pulls objects towards the Earth. (P.FM.03.22)
  • Identify the sun and moon as common objects in the sky. (E.ST.04.11)
  • Compare and contrast the characteristics of the sun, moon and Earth, including relative distances and abilities to support life. (E.ST.04.12)
  • Describe the orbit of the Earth around the sun as it defines a year. (E.ST.04.21)
  • Explain that the spin of the Earth creates day and night. (E.ST.04.22)
  • Describe the motion of the moon around the Earth. (E.ST.04.23)
  • Explain how the visible shape of the moon follows a predictable cycle which takes approximately one month. (E.ST.04.24)
  • Describe the apparent movement of the sun and moon across the sky through day/night and the seasons. (E.ST.04.25)
  • Explain the apparent motion of the stars (constellations) and the sun across the sky. (E.ST.05.23)

The Universe Pre-visit Vocabulary

Astronomy: A laser is a focused beam of light.

Constellation: A group of stars in which someone saw a picture.

East: The direction of the rising sun.

Gas: One of the three states of matter, where molecules are spread apart.

Moon: A celestial body that revolves around the earth.

North: The direction of the north magnetic pole.

Planetarium: A device that shows the movement of the stars and planets.

Satellite: A celestial body that orbits a planet; a moon.

Solar System: The sun and all that revolves around it.

South: The direction opposite north.

Star: A ball of gas.

Sun: The star at the center of our solar system.

West: The direction of the setting sun.

Zenith: The point in the sky directly overhead.

The Universe Post-visit Activity

Post-visit activities provide your students with an opportunity to review workshop-presented concepts and introduce related subjects. Below you will find a classroom extension activity and a list of suggested resources for further exploration. We hope that you enjoyed our Outreach Hands-On Workshop and we look forward to visiting your students again!

Hands-On Activity: Get Lost, Gravity!

Materials

  • Plastic Cup
  • String
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Modeling clay
  • Friend

Procedure

  1. Cut the string to be 24 inches long.
  2. Tape one end of the string to one side of the mouth of the cup. Tape the other end to the side opposite on the mouth of the cup. (They should be set across from each other).
  3. Cut a new piece of string to be 6 inches long.
  4. Tie the 6-inch piece of string to the center of the longer length of string.
  5. Mold a clay ball approximately ½ inch diameter around the hanging length of the shorter string.
  6. Ask your friend to hold your cup up above their heads by pinching the string where the short string is tied to the longer string.
  7. Go sit on a chair a few feet away from your friend where you can watch both the cup and the clay ball fall.
  8. Predict what will happen to both the ball and the cup as they fall.
  9. On your “GO!” have your friend let go of the string.
  10. Watch the ball and cup as they fall. Repeat the activity to verify your results.

Discussion

You should have noticed that while the cup and ball were falling, they stayed the same distance apart until the cup hit the floor. This is because both the clay ball and the cup were falling at the same speed. The cup was being pulled down by gravity (the natural force of attraction between any two objects, directly proportional to the masses and indirectly proportional to the distances of the falling objects), but the ball was experiencing a feeling of zero gravity. Falling objects experience an apparent weightlessness because there is next-to-nothing (only a few gas molecules in the environment) pressing against the object.

Astronauts in space can experience apparent weightlessness as they orbit Earth in their spacecraft. In orbit, both an astronaut and the spacecraft are constantly falling around the Earth. When you ride in a roller coaster you may feel zero gravity when the ride goes down very steep hills.

The truth of the matter is that gravity will never be totally absent. The pull of an object on another object is always present – even when the objects are very far apart, like in outer space. The strength of a gravitational pull may appear very weak between you and a banana compared to the strength of the gravity between you and the Earth – but the gravitational pull still exists!

Suggested Resources

Books

Cole, Joanna. The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System. Scholastic, Inc. 1992.
Evert, Laura. Planets, Moons and Stars (Take-Along Guides). Creative Publishing International. 2003.
Heifetz, Milton D. A Walk through the Heavens: A Guide to Stars and Constellations and their Legend. Cambridge UP. 1998.
Kerrod, Robin. The Book of Constellations: Discover the Secrets in the Stars. Barrons Educational Series. 2002.
Rabe, Trisha. There’s No Place Like Space (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library). Random House. 1999.
Rey, H.A. Find the Constellations. Houghton-Mifflin, Co. 1976.
Thompson, C.E. Glow-In-The-Dark Constellations: A Field Guide for Young Stargazers. Grosset & Dunlap. 1999.
VanCleave, Janice. Janice VanCleave’s Astronomy for Every Kid: 101 Easy Experiments that Really Work. John Wiley & Sons. 1991.

Internet

Exploratorium: Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception Starchild
Exploratorium Teacher’s Institute — Reflections of a Star: How to Find the Angular Diameter of the Sun
KidsAstronomy
NASA

WORKSHOP The Universe

Outreach

Library, School

50 minutes

K-2nd, 3-5th, 6-8th

30

Earth and Space Sciences