Lesson Plans

Each year of the Galaxy Explorers educational program contains missions in the following areas: Earth Science, Engineering, Rocketry, Space Citizenship, and Space Science. Each ‘mission’ has about 20 – 30 minutes of discussion material followed by one or more activities to ensure kids have the same learning experience, regardless of location and the availability of materials. Many of the mission plans include slide presentations for students and “How to teach” videos are also available for several lessons.

Grade 3
Earth Science
  • Introduction to Earth Science – Updated! What is Earth Science? How does our World work? Why do we need to understand the forces on our Planet? What are the benefits of understanding for space? [slides]

  • Basic Planetary Geology – Earth Forces – Updated! The composition of the Earth. How geological forces interact with each other over time and what is the resultant impact on the planet.

  • Introduction to Rockets – Updated! A basic overview of rockets. What are rockets? What part do they play in the ongoing inquiry and exploration of Space? Check out our video on how to teach this mission:  [video]  [slides]

  • Aerodynamics – Updated! What is aerodynamics? How do things fly? What is pitch, yaw, roll? Demonstrate the principles of flight.

Space Citizenship
  • Space as an Idea, an Overall Concept – Updated! What are the basic reasons for going to space? What are the commercial possibilities? Why should we explore? What will we learn? Check our video on how to teach this mission:  [video]

  • Space Art – Updated! Space as a visual medium through pictures, paintings, and others. Check out our video on how to teach this mission: [video]  [slides]

Space Science
  • Space Basics – Updated! What is the space environment like? What are the dangers? How do we survive in space? [slides]

  • Astronomy Introduction – Updated! The constellations in other cultures. Learn how ancient cultures explained what they saw in the night sky. Write your own constellation stories or build a Star Finder. Check out our video on how to teach this lesson [video] [slides]


Grade 4
Earth Science
  • Updated! Introduction to Weather and Climate – What are the different climates on our planet? What is the water cycle? How do clouds form? What causes the seasons? What about storms?

  • The Environment – How are we taking care of our environment? How are humans changing the Earth? How are we taking steps to prevent irreversible damage? The effects of pollution. [slides]

  • Space Stations – Updated! How are Space Stations put together? Basic principles of the International Space Station. This NASA video provides background on the ISS: Video 1; A tour of the ISS Video2

  • Life Support Systems – What do humans need to survive in different environments in Outer Space? Consider power, air and water filtration systems. Emphasis on water purification.

  • Introduction to Launch Facilities – The basic purpose of space launch facilities. How does a spaceport work? Launch Infrastructure components, ground operations, launch windows, weather, etc. This four-minute NASA video gives the Mission Team Leader a little background on Life Support Systems in space. [video]

  • The Space Shuttle – Updated! Learn about the Space Shuttle. How does it work? What are its capabilities? [slides]

Space Citizenship
  • Space Writing – How do we experience space expressed in science fiction writing? What impact has science fiction writing had on us? Learn how to develop characters and storyboard. [video]

  • Space Program Related Benefits – How does the Space Program benefit everyone here on Earth? What are specific space-related benefits of technology and of going into space?

Space Science

Grade 5
Earth Science
  • Mapmaking and Geography  Updated! – Understand basic geography. Learn about basic maps and how to use them. Identify geographical features.

  • Basic Geology Updated! – Basic geological forces – volcanism, tectonism, graduation and cratering. How do these forces impact the makeup of our world and other planetary bodies? A simple view of how the Earth has changed over time.

  • Basic Robotics – How are robots designed and built? How can they be used in the exploration and development of space? [slides]. Check out our video on how to teach this mission.  Here is another NASA video that can be used with add to the mission.

  • Spacecraft – How would a spacecraft be constructed? What are the parts? How would it function?

  • Rocket Staging – An understanding of rocket stages and how greater altitudes can be reached by using staging.

  • Model Rocketry Updated! – Learn how to build a basic Galaxy Explorers model rocket. Learn National Association of Rocketry safety standards. Fly your rockets! Check out our video on how to teach this mission.

Space Citizenship
  • International Cooperation Updated! – International cooperation in space. Why we as a planet should cooperate to expand humanity’s presence in space. What are the benefits? How does one negotiate? Includes a fun “negotiation game” for the Mission Team. Adults can join in as well.

  • Great Space Luminaries – A look at the biographies of the key leaders in space. How did they impact the world? [slides]

Space Science
  • Electromagnetic Spectrum – Updated! Learn all about the energy, particles, and waves. This is an exciting lesson and activity.slides

  • Great Telescopes of the World – Great telescopes in space: Hubble, Chandra, NGTF, etc.


Grade 6
Earth Science
  • Meteorology Updated! – How do we forecast the weather? What are some of the more complicated tools we use? What is an anemometer? A rain gauge? What is meteorology?[slides] Click here for a good NASA video on Meteorology basics for the Mission Team Members [video]

  • Asteroids and Meteorites – What is an asteroid? What is a meteor? How about a meteorite? Learn the difference and what happens when a meteor moving tens of thousands of miles per hour hits our planet. Check out this explosive lesson plan. Make sure you borrow our Meteorite Collection for your Mission Team. Order well in advance. Check out this seven minute on asteroids by Bill Nye “The Science Guy”.

  • Solar Power Updated!- Solar Power uses on the International Space Station. [slides]

  • Space Colony – How is a Space Colony constructed? Structures and habitats: shielding, food, logistics, production, in-situ survival strategies. This eight-minute NASA video provides Mission Team Leaders good background on the Space Colonies.

Space Citizenship
Space Science
  • Living with the Sun – What is the Sun? What is its effect on earth?

  • Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Updated!- Life in the Universe? How about our galaxy? What would do when/if we make contact? How can we make first contact? What role can you play? Check out this five-minute History Channel video on the Search For Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.


Grade 7
Earth Science
  • Rocks and Minerals Updated!- An understanding of how rocks and minerals are formed. What are the processes involved? What are the different types of rock formations? How does the study of rocks help us to understand the Earth itself?

  • The Global Positioning System – Updated! What is this system and how does it work? How is this system used to improve lives? How can this system be used to improve our awareness of our planet? [slides]

  • Advanced Robotics – How are robots used to explore space? How can they enhance human efforts? What factors influence design? What promise does future technology hold?

  • Sky Island – What do you need to build a city in space? How can you survive in different environments in Outer Space? What kind of considerations would you plan for? Consider power, industrial production, food, science, and entertainment. [slides]

  • Rocket Propulsion – What types of fuel do we use with rocket propulsion? What is the difference in use and application? What are the dangers in usage? REQUEST TAPE

  • Rocket Design and Nose Cones – Learn some of the principles of rocket design. How are wind tunnels used to test rockets and airplanes? What is the impact of nose cone shape on rocket flight? What is the concept of drag?

Space Citizenship
  • Space and the Media – A look at how scientific and Space endeavors are portrayed in the Media. How should we educate the citizenry through the information mediums?

  • Careers in Space – An overview of the Space industry and insight into the types of careers available.

Space Science


Grade 8
Earth Science
  • Remote Sensing – What is Remote Sensing? How do we use it to sense and monitor the environment? An understanding of the use of satellite and airborne remote sensing technology. [slides]

  • Imagery Analysis – An introduction to Imaging. How do we use images from EarthKam (or space and aircraft) to give us a detailed analysis of the Earth?

  • Radio Communications – How does the Space Program use Communication systems? What impact does time delay have? Wave propagation. [slides]

  • Deep Space Communications Network Updated!- What is NASA’s deep space communications network? How is it used to communicate with spacecraft?[slides] This four-minute NASA video provides Mission Team Leaders good background on the DSN

  • Advanced Model Rocketry – Build advanced model rocketry. Apply rocket staging and scientific experiment.

  • Altitude Tracking – What is altitude tracking? Why is it important? Mathematical concepts Build model basic rocketry basic. Learn National Association of Rocketry safety standards.

Space Citizenship
  • Philosophy of Space Exploration – Investigation into why humanity seeks to explore space. Review of history. What is our place in the universe?

  • Space Agencies – A study of the history of European, Russian, and other space agencies; their respective roles in expanding humanity’s knowledge of the cosmos.

Space Science
  • Learn to Observe – Learn to observe the solar system and much more. Use planetary observational techniques, scientific notation, Universal Time, etc.

  • Great Life Cycle of a Star – How stars form and die. The types of stars and their characteristics. Learn the characteristics of stars and build a spectrograph to analyze light.



We used as a basis for this work, the lesson plans and educational material developed by NASA, Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Education, and U.S. Geological Survey. The Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers and the Boeing Company contributed lesson plans and educational material on astronomical observing techniques and the International Space Station. We are grateful to all of our volunteers and the above-named organizations for their assistance.


Nonprofit (501(c)(3) space education for the next generation, Federation of Galaxy Explorers is supported by an extensive network of professional volunteers, forward thinking individual and corporate partners. 


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