Best Space and Astronomy Lesson Plans and Resources
by National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz

Space and astronomy are ways to get students interested in space and also enhance your ability to use lessons that require reading and math as per the Common Core requirements. With the anniversary of America’s First Space Walk ( nearly 50 years ago coming up in June it could be just the teachable moment to create interest in that event as well as research the future and make a case for where we will be in space in another 50 years.

Very few things get students interest as much as the future, especially when there can’t be a wrong answer. I even have toyed with the idea of placing their ideas in a time capsule and keeping it on campus until they day they return. Here are some tips if you are going to bury it: I would prefer to just leave it in the school library where the students could check on its contents in future years.

There is another option and that is to have the student sent a time capsule to themselves in the future. You need to check what is going into the capsule, but is is more fun for the students and easier for them to access in the years ahead.

My students at Suzanne Middle School in Walnut have sent their ideas about the future to the Griffith Park Observatory for its time capsule to be opened at the arrival of the Halley’s come in 2062. Needless to say, I won’t be around for it and the students who created it are going to be in their 70’s, but the idea of it gave students the motivation to start thinking and that is what good education is about.

Another lesson that I like to use to promote thinking is Space News ( It offers students the opportunity to read interesting and factual stories and to use them as a starting place for their own science fiction writing.

Using images of space often gets students thinking about space travel and there is always the possibility of having students build their own rockets and fly them as the ground crew measures the altitude that they reach.

I also like to have students looks at the Constellations from the perspective of those in the Northern Hemisphere and those in the Southern Hemisphere. Here is the Southern Hemisphere information and here is the Northern Hemisphere information:

Finally, having the students write and produce their own play about space is very motivating for them as they have to solve the problems of how to make the audience believe they are in space. The props could include fairly accurate drawing. Regardless of what method you use, the theme of space and astronomy are valuable lessons for students that can motivate them and work as a tool to make science, history, language arts, and math more interesting and meaningful.

Images from space

Important of math in space travel

This is the main NASA site
Some of the information may be of value. What is interesting for older students is the Pathways program signed into law by President Obama that enables students to work for NASA.

Discovery Education has a large offering of lesson plans.

For younger students this Pinterest site may have some ideas that combine art, craft, and science.

Astronomy lessons
For every grade level. A fantastic collection.

Remote sensing can be useful in studying numerous disciplines, from biology to ecology to geography. The material in Earth from Space therefore can be used to satisfy the requirements of many .

Space and Flight
High Interest stories

Daily Science Fiction Short Stories
Allows the students to read and get ideas for their own creations.

Where you can submit good science fiction short stories
This is competitive, but worth a try.

A free map of the sky
This is an intriguing site that the students might want to explore on their own.

Astronomy and Space

National Teachers Hall of Fame

These sites are designed to help students become interested in astronomy and space and get them involved starting with studying the stars on their own birthdays and homes. Lots of good lessons and enough here to offer advanced students more depth.

For many more free resources go to

Space and flight lessons and links

Space lessons and units on the solar system

Huge selection of astronomy links

Astronomy for Kids

Astronomy links

Find the sky above you anywhere on earth and much more. Great fun.

Solar System Simulator

Order a simulated photograph of the Sun and planets as seen from any

vantage point.  The reader can choose any time in 5 minute

intervals from 1600 to 2399.

Lessons and good links

Online Astronomy
Easy to understand with good images.

Classical constellations and myths

Simple lesson plans and links

Space and astronomy lesson plans

NASA’s Ask an Astrophysicist site

Solar system lessons

Worksheets and more

Science vocabulary hangman

Fun for younger students

Science link site

Kids’ Astronomy lessons

Free worksheets

Links to physics and astronomy lessons by grade level

Extremely vibrant looking site with astronomy lessons

Includes history of telescopes

Science link site

Teacher developed lesson plans

Excellent astronomy sites for all levels

You need to search as there are some dead links, but the diversity of material is very good.

Astronomy link site from About

Lots of advertisements and a mixed bag of quality, but a lot of variety

Astronomy, mythology, and music

A very complex and complete unit of study for elementary students

How to set up science labs in many subject areas

Integrated Activities

Some poems about astronomy

Art and Space

Nice collection of links on how artists capture the heavens.

Family astronomy activities

Checking out the night sky. Great homework assignment to involve parents.

Pluto Express Home Page

This is full of great information of resources for teachers. Excellent.

Look into astronomy and others far out things.

Building a Telescope

How to build a telescope

Building a simple telescope

NASA lesson on building telescopes


Astronomy as a career links

Women in space and astronomy careers

National Association of Space Simulating Educators


Astronomical Society of the Pacific

David Dunlap Observatory

Database of stellar information

National Space Society

Mount Wilson Observatory

General information

National Optical Astronomy Observation

Naval Research Laboratory

Royal Greenwich Observatory

NASA’s Observatorium

Other sites

SETI Institute

Looking for aliens?

Sky On Line

Rocket and Space Technology
Encyclopedia Astronautica
Center for Science Education
Planet Quest
Nine Planets

Center for Educational Resources

Library of online and interactive K-12 science materials for teaching astronomy.

Asteroid Hits Earth

What a site, literally. See what NASA thinks about this issue.

What was the moon like on?
Just plug in the date to get a virtual photo
Satellite tracking sites


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