Activities for Camps and Outdoor Learning Centers

Created by NASA Wavelength Last updated 3/6/2014

Explore our sampler of fun and educational activities for camps and outdoor learning centers from the Wavelength collection. Want more? Try the following keyword searches in Wavelength: "Outdoor" or "Kinesthetic" to find activities best done outside or based on physical activities; "Art" for STEM activities that incorporate arts activities, or browse "Informal Education" and refine your search by categories like middle school programming, families, and more.
Be sure to also check out collections of activities such as the "Explore!" series - NASA activities for children designed specifically for use in libraries and other out-of-school settings (e.g., http://tinyurl.com/ExploreToTheMoon or http://tinyurl.com/JupitersFamilySecrets).

  • Survivor: Earth

    Ages 12-14 - This series of ten lessons is designed to teach students about local and global water issues. Activities are done largely outdoors and include scientific data collection and analysis and integrate technology. Each lesson is designed to take one hour; the lessons build on each other, but can also be used independently. The series is based on NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Mission and were developed in partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools Outdoor Environmental Education Program.
    Benchmarks: 1B/M1b, 4B/M7, 4B/M8
  • Universe Discovery Guides

    All ages - The twelve guides - one per month - each contain a science topic, an interpretive story, a sky object to view with finding charts, hands-on activities, and connections to NASA science. The guides are modular, so that educators can use the portions that are the most useful for their audiences/events. Monthly themes include: May - Hubble Deep Field, June - Hercules Cluster, and July - Ring Nebula.
  • The Incredible Two-Inch Universe

    All ages - Explore the size and scale of the universe by shrinking cosmic scale in 4 steps, zooming out from the realm of the Earth and Moon to the realm of the galaxies.
  • Kinesthetic Astronomy

    Ages 9-12 - Children act out the rotation and revolution motions of Earth around the Sun over the course of one year. They'll also physically model the tilt of the Earth and will identify the summer and winter solstice and vernal and autumnal equinox locations in relation to Earth's orbit around the Sun.
    Benchmarks: 4A/E4, 4B/E2bc, 4B/H3
  • S'COOL Introduction/Overview Tutorial

    All ages - This tutorial lays the foundation to participate in the Students' Cloud Observations Online (S'COOL) project, which engages students and citizen scientists in contributing to NASA science: making and reporting ground truth observations of clouds, which helps NASA validate observations from the CERES satellite instrument.
    Benchmarks: 1B/P1, 1B/E1, 1C/P1, 12A/E1
  • Discoveries at Willow Creek

    Ages 6-10 - Children learn about making observations, taking scientific measurements and recording their findings in a science journal. In the story, students Simon, Anita and Dennis join Hannah, a local scientist, as they comparing spring and fall observations of changes they see at Willow Creek. Part of the Elementary GLOBE series of illustrated storybooks and activities.
  • The Scoop on Soils

    Ages 6-10 - This science-based storybook provides an introduction to soil description and sampling. Simon, Anita and Dennis follow their dog, Scoop, and find themselves in the middle of an adventure in soil. This is one of four storybooks under the title Elementary GLOBE; each book also has companion learning activities that complement the science covered in each story.
  • Do You Know that Clouds Have Names?

    Ages 6-10 - In this story, children learn that clouds have different names based on their appearance and position in the atmospheric column. Contrails, or condensation trails, are also discussed. Part of the Elementary GLOBE series of illustrated storybooks and activities.
  • The Mystery of the Missing Hummingbirds

    Ages 6-10 - in this story, children learn about seasonal migration of hummingbirds as they are exposed to the scientific process. Students Anita, Simon and Dennis and the rest of Ms. Patel's class research when the hummingbirds have gone and when they might return. Part of the Elementary GLOBE series of illustrated storybooks and activities.
  • All About Earth: Our World on Stage

    Ages 6-10 - Students learn how plants, animals, water, air, and soil are all connected in the Earth system. In this storybook, Simon, Anita, Emily and the rest of Ms. Patel's class gain an understanding of Earth system science while preparing their end of the school year play. The play in the story can also be performed as an activity. This science-based storybook is the last of four under the title Elementary GLOBE; each book also has companion learning activities that complement the science covered in each story.
  • Observing with NASA

    All ages - Even first-time observers can control the ground-based MicroObservatory telescopes from their computer, download their images and access the Observing With NASA "Control Telescope" web interface at anytime.
    Benchmarks: 4A/E2, 4A/H3, 10A/M2
  • Our Magnetic Sun Outreach Toolkit

    All ages - The toolkit includes background information about the Sun, magnetic fields of the Earth and Sun, and space weather, activity suggestions, and detailed activity scripts. Themes address both the constant nature of the Sun as a reliable source of energy and the dynamic nature of the Sun due to its changing magnetic fields. These activities can be done separately or as a group as part of an informal education event.
    Benchmarks: 4F/M8, 4G/H7, 5E/M3c, 10A/M2
  • Scale Model of Sun and Earth

    All ages - This is an activity about size and scale, also called the Solar Pizza. Learners, or the facilitator, will cut out scaled images of the Sun and Earth and walk them approximately sixty-five feet apart to simultaneously show the size scale and distance scale of the Sun and Earth.
    Benchmarks: 12B/M5
  • What Can We Learn About The Sun From Shadows?

    Ages 8-12 - Children will make outdoor sundials to learn about light and shadow. They will use the sundial and the length of the shadow that is cast to explore the relationship between the size and position of the shadows and the position of the Sun in the sky.
    Benchmarks: 4A/P2, 12C/P3, 12C/P4
  • Moon Tune

    Ages 8-12 - Introductory activity for "Explore! To the Moon and Beyond" series, children will sing about the LRO mission to the Moon, learn that craters on the Moon may harbor water ice, and discover how LRO is searching for water and other resources needed to build future lunar outposts.
    Benchmarks: 3A/M2, 4A/M4, 10A/M2
  • Space Place: Hear Tiny Sounds with a Super Sound Cone

    Ages 9-12: Children create a "sound cone" and use it to understand how the Deep Space Network antennas pick up radio communications from space.
    Benchmarks: 4F/M4
  • Active Accretion

    Ages 9-13 - Similar to tag, the children run around, have fun, and burn off energy. Different from tag, there is science involved in this game about the formation of the solar system!
    Benchmarks: 4A/H6, 4G/E3, 11B/E4
  • Vesta Mosaic: Art informing science

    Ages 11-14 - This is an activity about albedo, which is a measurement of the reflectance of a planet's surface. Learners will classify areas on an image in terms of albedo values and then sketch their own portion of an image from space. These sketches are assembled to view the larger image that the class or group has created.
    Benchmarks: 12D/H1
  • Hasta La Vesta - Ceres is Going to be a Ball!

    In September 2012, NASA’s Dawn mission left Vesta, one member of the main asteroid belt and is heading to explore a second new world, dwarf planet Ceres, arriving in late March/early April 2015. When it reaches Ceres, Dawn will become the first spacecraft to go into orbit around two destinations in our solar system beyond Earth. Join in the fun with this collection of games, interactives and activities from NASA’s Dawn mission.