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    Discover science and connect to the natural world while staying safe and healthy at home!

    Check out our virtual programming schedule and browse through our list of resources, activities, crafts, videos, and more to help continue to bring science into your world.

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    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 and are led by an instructor.

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    Our Outreach staff brings the Museum to you—at schools, libraries, community centers, and festivals—by delivering hands-on programming customized to your schedule and curriculum interests.

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  • Summer Camp

    Through the Unity in Learning partnership, Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Leslie Science & Nature Center, and Yankee Air Museum now offer families incredible day camps at two fantastic locations in Ann Arbor and Belleville.

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    Want to dive deeply into specific topics? Join us for an Evening Workshop! Explore a variety of science concepts through hands-on activities, interactive demos, and experiments in a small group setting. Topics vary from stop-motion animation to computer programming to engineering – there’s sure to be something that piques your interest!

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WORKSHOP The Universe: StarLab Planetarium

Outreach Workshop: The Universe StarLab Planetarium

Bring the stars down to Earth with our inflatable, portable planetarium! Students will learn how to locate common constellations in the sky, listen to Greek myths related to stars, and discover how stars have been used by people throughout history.

Fees are determined by distance from the Museum:

  • Within 25 miles: $340
  • 26-50 miles: $370
  • 51+ miles: $370 + $.58 per mile
  • Each additional hour: $125

Register 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 20 ft x 20 ft
  • Requires inside location with a grounded outlet

Michigan K-12 Science Standards


Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.


Support an argument that the apparent brightness of the sun and stars is due to their relative distances from the Earth.

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!


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


  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.


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


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.



WORKSHOP The Universe: StarLab Planetarium


Library, School

50 minutes



Earth and Space Sciences

Still not sure we have the experience you want?

Visit unityinlearning.org to open a gateway to hands-on discovery, exploration of the natural world, and experiences that take flight.

Through the Unity in Learning partnership with the Ann Arbor Hands-On MuseumLeslie Science and Nature Center, and Yankee Air Museum we provide over 100 different  programs at our facilities, on site at your location, or through interactive video conferencing.