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Outside Activities

A collection of activities designed for use in the outdoors or those that can be easily adapted to use outside. These activities can work well in different outdoor settings including nature centers, summer camps, parks, and playgrounds.

Activities and Programs

A young learner in a grassy field observes an image of the Sun being projected on her solarscope

Exploring the Solar System: Observe the Sun

In this activity, learners safely view the Sun and study features on its face, via a solarscope.
The near side of the Moon, as seen by the cameras aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft (NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University, 2017)

Exploring the Solar System: Observe the Moon

In this activity, we can look up from Earth and see the Moon with our own eyes. We can observe the Moon in even greater detail by using tools, like binoculars, telescopes, and NASA spacecraft.
Exploring Earth: Bear’s Shadow activity image of a mother and girl holding a flashlight representing the sun

Exploring Earth: Bear’s Shadow

In this activity, learners move a flashlight around an object to make and experiment with shadows, followed by reading a storybook.
A family of three crafts their rockets out of paper, stickers and tape

Exploring the Solar System: Stomp Rockets

In this activity, learners will build and launch their own air rockets to help imagine the challenges and triumphs of engineering spacecraft.
A group of learners observing a cloud that was made in a plastic bottle

Exploring Earth: Investigating Clouds

In this activity, learners create a cloud in a bottle and explore it with laser light.
Family using thermometer to take temperature of their arm for the Heat Map activity

Exploring Earth: Temperature Mapping

In this activity, learners model the way Landsat satellites use a thermal infrared sensor to measure land surface temperatures.
Photo of person pouring water on soil and sand to demonstrate erosion

Exploring Earth: Land Cover

In this activity, learners model some of the ways natural processes affect Earth’s landscape through erosion and sediment pollution.
Learner investigates the crater made in the sand after dropping a weight into the sand box

Exploring the Solar System: Craters

In this activity, learners drop objects of various sizes and shapes into a tub full of sand and other materials, to simulate the formation of a meteorite crater.
A facilitator loads a small plastic tube with fizzing solution that will pop the cap off in front of an audience of learners

Rocket Reactions

In this activity, learners experiment with finding the best mix of "rocket fuel" by making miniature baking soda and vinegar "rockets" that shoot plastic caps into the air.
Facilitator and young learner squeeze colored water into a dish

Exploring Science Practices: Early Explorations

In this activity, learners are given an opportunity to practice scientific ways of thinking that are developmentally appropriate for early learners.
Facilitator standing in the middle of a room while learners are spaced out at different lengths

Exploring the Solar System: Big Sun, Small Moon

In this activity, learners explore the concept of the apparent size by looking at models of celestial bodies at different distances.

Nature Journals and Outdoor Observations

Working with STEM Experts Guide cover including an image of expert  puring a liquid and using a strainer with a girl and her family at a museum public event

Finding STEM Experts

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