Planetarium Activities

Welcome the the Planetarium Online Learning Center

Below you will find activities and resources you can explore on your own or browse our content by theme!

Tips for Caregivers Facilitating Hands-On Activities

Are you new to the role of educator in addition to caregiver? The Bishop Museum Education team offers these short guides developed by the National Informal Science Education Network. Many of the activities on our Online Learning Center are hands-on, like what you can experience at the museum. These quick tips can give you some new ideas and tools for engaging your learners at home.    

Imagine Life

Imagine and draw an extreme environment beyond Earth, then invent a living thing that could thrive in it. Learners find out that NASA scientists study extremophiles on Earth to imagine the variety of life that might exist elsewhere, and make predictions about where to look for it. This activity was developed by the National Informal Science Education Network for the Explore Science: Earth and Space Kit project. Adapted for at-home use by Bishop Museum Education Staff. Recommended for ages 4+. 

Mars Rovers

Discover how scientists and engineers use robotic rovers and other vehicles to explore distant worlds, and experience some of the challenges and teamwork required to navigate a rover across the surface of a planet millions of miles away. Players acting as “Mission Control” and a “Rover” must work together to navigate a large obstacle course. Participants can also design their own rover to fit the particular challenges of exploring a distant planet. This activity was developed by the National Informal Science Education Network for the Explore Science: Earth and Space Kit project. Adapted for at-home use by Bishop Museum Education Staff. Recommended for ages 4+. 

Paper Mountains

Explore the way the shape of the land and the pull of gravity influence how water moves over Earth. By making unique mountain models from crumpled paper and watching how water moves across them, learners can act as Earth scientists, using their observations to make predictions about the future of our planet. This activity was developed by the National Informal Science Education Network for the Explore Science: Earth and Space Kit project. Adapted for at-home use by Bishop Museum Education Staff. Recommended for ages 4+. 

Pocket Solar System

Make a scale model of the distances between objects in our solar system. Learn that there is a lot of space between planets, and that our solar neighborhood contains many other interesting features and objects. Learners can even imagine where they might like to send a NASA mission spacecraft in the future! This activity was developed by the National Informal Science Education Network for the Explore Science: Earth and Space Kit project. Adapted for at-home use by Bishop Museum Education Staff. Recommended for ages 4+.

Constellation Creation

For thousands of years all over the world people have looked up at the night sky and told stories about the figures and patterns they saw. But just because someone 1000 years ago said a pattern looked like something doesn’t mean you can’t make up your own today! Work with your family or on your own to connect the stars on this map into new shapes and figures. Will you draw a hero and a villain? Your family pet? A bicycle? The possibilities are only limited by your imagination! Take it a step further by making up a story to go along with one or more of your new constellation figures.

Additional Resources

Resource
Description
Age
NASA Home Page
Main landing page for NASA, the United States government space agency.
All Ages
NASA Space Place
Kid-focused NASA website with information, games, activities, and more.
Ages 4 -12
NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day
Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
All Ages
NASA Juno Mission
Images and information from NASA’s Juno mission studying the largest planet in our solar system.
All Ages
Women at NASA
NASA site highlighting the extensive contributions of women.
All Ages
Space Shuttle Model Glider
Printable make-at-home model of a space shuttle.
All Ages
NASA Eyes Interactive Solar System Model
Interactive Solar System simulator web page. Can also embed on our website.
Grade 2 +
NASA Eyes
Free downloadable program to explore the solar system and beyond.
All Ages
NASA STEM at Home
Activities for at home exploration and learning.
Ages 5+
10 things to do with NASA at home
Viewspace
Interactives and videos on Earth and Space Science.

Planetarium Activities By Theme

Fish of Hawai‘i

Starline & Maui Fishhook

See how to find Maui’s Fishhook, Manaiakalani in the sky this month along with the starline Kaiwikuamo’o. 

Pōhaku: Rocks in Space

There are many different types of rocks in space, from asteroids to moons to planets. Here are some resources to help you learn about them!

Asteroid Mining Activity

In this activity, learners will imagine the challenges and opportunities of asteroid mining. Learners will draw their own asteroid mining machines, and consider how these devices would extract, process, and return mined materials to Earth. They can also assume roles assigned by the activity’s “challenge cards,” and imagine what concerns or priorities they might have as a scientist, explorer, lawyer, or engineer. Download all four files to do the activity! Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Meteor Showers Video

Have you ever seen a shooting star? Learn about what causes meteor showers in this short video and then go to https://www.bishopmuseum.org/astronomy-resources/ to find when the next meteor shower occurs and dates for other showers this year.  

The Rocky Inner Planets Video

Blast off from Earth and discover what makes the rocky inner planets of our solar system so amazing! 

Earth Week

The planetarium features many technologies and activities that allow our in-person visitors to experience weather models, see the variety of terrain on earth, and even track pollution levels over time and more. Below find some of these experiences and links to resources from other organizations like NOAA & NASA to try out at home.

International Space Station: Pass May 14

Use this map to see where to look for the next evening bright pass of the International Space Station over Hawai‘i! Other passes may be visible, but they are not as bright or are in the early morning or possibly too close to sunrise or sunset to be as visible. Data is current as of 4/12/2020, but check Heavens-Above.com for updates as it gets closer to May 14th. You can also search for other ISS flyovers. Be sure to set your location to Hawai‘i in the upper right corner!

Listen to this short description of the International Space Station and how to use the Sky Map.

Eyes On Island Earth Part 1

In this Bishop Museum-produced show, learn from the traditional ahupuaʻa land and resource management system about sustainability today and explore why Hawai‘i is a great place to learn about Earth system science through NASA satellites. Designed for grades 3–5, but suitable for all ages. 25 minutes total. See the lesson plans section for lesson extensions about Earth System Science and the International Space Station.

Eyes On Island Earth Part 2

In this Bishop Museum-produced show, learn from the traditional ahupuaʻa land and resource management system about sustainability today and explore why Hawai‘i is a great place to learn about Earth system science through NASA satellites. Designed for grades 3–5, but suitable for all ages. 25 minutes total. See the lesson plans section for lesson extensions about Earth System Science and the International Space Station.

NOAA Science On a Sphere Explorer App

Do you love our Science On a Sphere exhibit in the Planetarium Lobby? We do too, and now you can explore it on your own mobile device or tablet! Explore visuals of climate data, see information about our oceans, and learn about other planets or the sun. Over 100 different datasets are available. For a guided experience, you can find lesson ideas and more here: https://sos.noaa.gov/sos-explorer/sosx-mobile-uses-and-resources/

NASA Globe Observer App

Be a citizen scientist! Download this free app to your phone or tablet, create a free account, and follow the tutorials. Help NASA scientists gather more accurate data on their satellite observations by providing ground-based observations they can use to make the data better. NASA collects data about the atmosphere, including cloud cover, to help build better models for things like predicting the weather and tracking changes to climate over time.

NASA Climate Science Interactives

Explore information collected by NASA on our changing global climate through interactive activities, photos, real satellite data, quizzes, and more! All for free.

NASA Pollution Satellite Data

Can you observe a decrease in pollution levels during the COVID-19 pandemic? Take a look for yourself!

The Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan

At the suggestion of Carl Sagan, on February 14, 1990 NASA engineers turned the Voyager 1 space probe around for one last look at the Earth as it sped towards the fringes of our solar system. From a distance of about four billion miles, Voyager 1 caught Earth suspended in a ray of sunlight, appearing as a pale blue dot about 0.12 pixels in size in the image. Of the image, Dr. Sagan points out, “To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

Wings

Birds of Summer Star Map

This is a map of the early morning sky on April 15 2020 at 5:30 a.m. and it will be accurate from April 15 – 21. After that time the Earth will have moved enough through the solar system that stars and the planets will have shifted away from our point of view.

Highlights include the Birds of Summer in the Summer or Navigator’s Triangle and ‘Iwakeli’i, the Great Frigate Bird also known as Cassiopeia. Also note the line up of Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter along with the Moon the morning of the April 15! The Moon is only in that position on the 15th. Its own orbit around the Earth changes where we see it every day. Check out the video Birds of the Summer to learn more!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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