We have a wide variety of programs suited for Grades 3 and up. Our most popular programs include:
CONSTELLATIONS & MYTHOLOGY: (Grades 4 and up)
What constellations are in the sky in the early evening? Do you look up and feel lost amongst a myriad of stars? Many cultures in the past made up stories about the stars to give their people a better understanding of what was out there. Today, we have science to tell us. This class will introduce you to the constellations and mythology of the night time sky, as well as provide some science background about the stars. This class is generally taught in conjunction with the Starlab class (see below) but can be done in a regular classroom setting.
LUNAR CRATERS: (Grades 4 and up)
Have you ever looked closely at the Moon's surface and seen how heavily cratered it is? How did those craters form? This class will introduce you to the dynamics of cratering and what the future may hold for us in terms of impacts on our world.
MODEL OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM: The immense sizes and distances of our nearest neighbors in space have managed to confound even adults. Now, using the Science Center's own visible scale model of the solar system, your students will gain an appreciation for its awesome dimensions. This activity is best presented at the Science Center, but can be adapted for your classroom.
PHASES OF THE MOON: (Grades 3 and up)
Why does the Moon cycle through its monthly phases? How does it move around the Earth? This class will introduce you to the motions of the Moon through the celestial sphere, as well as the phases seen from the Earth. Students will also model the Earth-Moon-Sun system to demonstrate the phases as well as lunar and solar eclipses, and the distance that the Moon is from the Earth.
SOLAR OBSERVING: (Grades 4 and up)
The only star where we can see surface detail is the Sun, and now is a great time to observe the Sun, as we are near a maximum of the solar activity cycle. This class will introduce you to safe solar viewing and the implications involved with an active Sun. Learn about the solar wind and how it affects the near Earth environment.
SUN, MOON & EARTH FIELD TRIP: The Sun, Moon and Earth field trip consists of two hours, divided into three 40 minute activities conducted at Talcott Mountain. The activities focus the theme of Sun, Moon and Earth and their relative motions. Students become familiar with these concepts from direct observation and simulation both in the Capt. Alan Bean Hypospherium and from our observation deck on top of the ridge. From the ridge students can observe the largest visible model of the solar system and compare this to landmarks they can recognize. An option to construct sundials in case of bad weather will be offered as an alternative activity. Students will learn how telescopes work and use them to observe the moon in the daytime or familiar objects from our high vantage point.
SUNDIALS: This classic interdisciplinary activity weaves history, culture, and astronomy with observation and critical thinking to allow students to discover the oldest known method of timekeeping. Each student will build a simple sundial, then use it outdoors (weather permitting) to tell the time of day. On cloudy days, the passage of time may be simulated in the classroom so students will see their sundials at work.
Other programs that are available:
ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY: (Grades 6 and up)
Do you want to take images of the planets and the stars? Astrophotography is really not all that difficult, it just takes a little patience and creativity. This class will introduce you to the ins and outs of astrophotography, from the basics to the advanced concepts. Since this class requires special equipment, it is necessary to come to the Science Center for this class.
GALAXIES: (Grades 6 and up)
What is a galaxy? How do they form? Why are there different types? How far away is the most distant galaxy? These questions and more will be addressed as you learn about the nature of galaxies and their distribution throughout the Universe. Students will also try their hand at galaxy identification using Hubble's Tuning Fork Diagram.
LIGHT: (Grades 5 and up)
Of all the sciences, Astronomy is the most hands-off science of them all. If technology permitted we could travel to distant planets and stars and witness firsthand the beauty of them all. Instead, earth-bound astronomers have to study the only thing which arrives here from those distant and exotic locales - light. The study of light and how it behaves is crucial to the science of Astronomy. This class will introduce you to the many forms of light, from high energy gamma rays to the low energy radio waves and how these other forms of light provide us with new insights into the nature of the Universe.
NIGHTTIME OBSERVING: (Grades 4 and up)
After several classes with the Science Center at your school, how about wrapping up your unit on Astronomy with a nighttime visit to the Science Center for a night of observing the heavens? Explore the wonders of the night sky through many telescopes. Observe planets, stars, galaxies, and nebulae. This class will also use the Captain Alan Bean Hypospherium, Connecticut's largest planetarium to familiarize everyone with the night sky. Since this class is weather dependent, a rain/cloud date should be considered.
ROCKETRY: (Grades 4 and up)
What better way to introduce a unit on space and astronomy than a class in rocketry? Students will learn about the history and physics of rocket flight and construct a rocket for launch. This class generally consists of at least two (and sometimes three) sessions, each 1.5 hours in length; (1) history/construction and (2) launch.
SPECTRAL ANALYSIS: (Grades 7 and up)
This class probes more deeply into the properties of light and spectral analysis. Students will study stellar spectra and how they relate to the spectral sequence for stars. Analysis of stellar evolution and the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram will also be included.
STELLAR EVOLUTION: (Grades 4 and up)
How did our Sun come to be? What is the eventual fate of our Sun and the others that we see in the sky at night? Stellar evolution is one of the most fascinating subjects in Astronomy, covering the births and deaths of the stars. This class will introduce you to young protostars, middle-aged main sequence stars, red giants, white dwarfs, neutron stars, pulsars, and black holes.
THE BEGINNING & END OF THE UNIVERSE: (Grades 6 and up)
How did the Universe originate and what is it's eventual fate? Do we live in an open or closed universe? These questions are some of the most profound that astronomers ask. This class seeks to answer some of these questions through an introduction to the Big Bang, evolution of the Universe, and what lies in the future.