Student Activities

Check out some easy, free activities that you can do at home or in your classroom!

Grass in Space

Here’s an easy experiment you can do to see the differences in how plants grow on Earth compared to how they grow in microgravity on the International Space Station. In this experiment, you will make your own “Alien Head” and watch it grow. Then, you can compare its growth to that of grass on the International Space Station.

Density in Space

Do you know why things float in space? It might not be why you think! In this activity, you can make your own Mixstix to see how density and gravity works on Earth and compare it to how it works on the International Space Station.

Water Tube

If you’ve ever poured out a cup of water, wrung out a towel, or sprayed something with a hose, you’ve observed how water acts here on Earth. However, what do you think happens when you wring out a wet towel on the International Space Station?

In this quick, easy activity, you can compare what happens when you wring out a towel soaked on water on Earth with what happens in space.

Centrifugal Force

Have you ever taken a ride on a spinning amusement park ride? Maybe you’ve watched clothes spin in the dryer or seen track and field athletes compete in the hammer throw. All of these demonstrate the impact of centrifugal force.

Astronaut in a Bottle

It’s common misperception that everything is floating on the International Space Station because there’s no gravity. This is a myth! Astronauts float on the ISS because they are falling around the Earth at the same rate as the ISS, and this is what causes the state of microgravity.

Using simple materials, you can observe microgravity and demonstrate it to your students.

Leaky Water Bottle

You might have experienced the feeling of microgravity during a roller coaster ride with a vertical drop. When you feel yourself float up from your seat for a brief moment, you are experiencing the same effect that astronauts experience on the International Space Station. Learn more about how microgravity works with this simple activity. 

Heat Shield

Heat shields work to protect the spacecraft by reflecting, absorbing, or redirecting heat. This is extremely important for any humans and temperature-sensitive equipment inside the spacecraft. For example, damage to the heat shield on the space shuttle Columbia led to the 2003 disaster that took the lives of seven astronauts. Because different materials have different abilities to absorb or reflect heat, some work better than others for heat shielding.

In this activity, you will design and test your own heat shield and determine which materials work best to protect a candy bar “spaceship”.

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