Galaxy Explorer, 3rd Class Mission Plans

The Federation of Galaxy Explorers draft mission plans are a result of the volunteer efforts of dozens of aerospace engineers, astrophysicists, teachers, and artists. Each year of the Galaxy Explorer, 3rd Class (Grades 3,4,5) contains missions in the following areas: Earth Science, Engineering, Rocketry, Space Citizenship, and Space Science. We frequently update our lesson plans. Each mission has about 20 - 30 minutes of discussion material followed by an activity. Most mission plans offer a choice of several activities to ensure kids have the same learning experience,regardless of the availability of materials.

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 our volunteers and the above named organizations for their assistance.

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.

Engineering Introduction to Basic Engineering Concepts - Updated! What is Engineering in terms of the Space Program?

Space Suits - Updated! What types of space suits are their? And how do they work?

Rocketry 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? [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?

[Activity Sheets]

Space Art - Space as a visual medium through pictures, paintings, and others. [slides]

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

Astromony 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. [activity sheets] [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]

Engineering Space Stations - Updated! How are Space Stations put together? Basic principles of ISS. REQUEST VIDEO

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.

Rocketry Introduction to Launch Facilities - Basic purpose of space launch facilities. How does a spaceport work? Launch Infrastructure components, ground operations, launch windows, weather, etc.

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 story board.

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 Exploring the Solar System - Updated! Learn the sun, planets, moons, and asteroids of our Solar System. Understand distances in space. [slides]

Telescope Principles - Updated! Learn about reflectors and refractors. How do astronomers use telescopes?[slides

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 on the makeup of our world and other planetary bodies? A simple view of how the Earth has changed over time.

Engineering Basic Robotics - How are robots designed and built? How can they be used in the exploration and development of space? [slides] REQUEST VIDEO

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

Rocketry 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!

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.