NASA Explorer Schools Lessons

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Bring NASA Into Your Classroom With Featured Lessons

Find exciting and interactive lessons to bring space exploration into your classroom! NASA Explorer Schools takes the work out of searching through thousands of materials on the NASA website. NES provides a comprehensive set of teaching materials for dozens of science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts in our searchable Lesson Library.

What are NES Featured Lessons?

NES featured lessons link the subjects you teach to NASA's innovative research and missions. Lessons are easy to implement and are educator-reviewed and tested. Each lesson includes the following:
 Lesson plan to facilitate classroom use.
  An essential question.
 Instructional objectives.
 Digital multimedia resources.
 Extension and supplemental classroom activities.
 National science, mathematics, and technology standards and 21st-century skills addressed by the lesson activities.
 Professional development opportunities, including live Web seminars and a teacher video collection that provide guidance for classroom implementation!
  View Lesson Titles, Topics, and Grade Levels.


What are teachers saying about the NES Featured Lessons?

"The 'On the Moon Educator Guide' is outstanding! One of the highlights for me and my 8th-grade physical science students this year. I used this lesson to kick off our entry in the topics of physics, specifically potential energy, kinetic energy, speed, gravitational potential energy and more. The students were really engaged with this activity."
– Wendy Dlakic, Sleeping Giant Middle School

"I thought the module was well-conceived and that the Teacher's Guide was informative enough to make the process easy."
– Dale Anderson, Jamestown High School

"This was a great module that my students were highly engaged in. We loved the simulator and video clips that went with the program. This was a well-designed unit and easy for me to use with my students."
– Lynne Boucher, Ralph M. Williams Elementary School


Sample Lesson and Professional Development Video

The front cover of the Lunar Nautics educator guide

Featured Lesson
Rocket Staging: Balloon Staging

Essential Question
How do Newton's Laws of Motion apply to space exploration?

Traveling into outer space takes enormous amounts of energy. This activity is a simple demonstration of rocket staging first proposed by Johann Schmidlap in the 16th century. Students learn how rockets can achieve greater distances through rocket staging.

Grade Level: 5-8

Activity Type: Student investigation

Instructional Objective
Students explain Newton's Laws of Motion and apply them to space exploration.

Time to complete the activity
One to three 45 minute classes

Subject(s) Covered:
Physical Science

Topic(s) Covered:

  Newton's Laws of Motion
  Centripetal force



  Next Generation Science Standards [PDF 224KB]
  21st Century Outcome: Life and Career Skills
  21st Century Element: Social and Cross-cultural Skills
  21st Century Skill: Interact Effectively with Others
  21st Century Outcome: Learning and Innovation Skills
  21st Century Element: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  21st Century Skill: Reason Effectively
  21st Century Outcome: Learning and Innovation Skills
  21st Century Element: Communication and Collaboration
  21st Century Skill: Collaborate with Others
  Science Content Area: Physical science
  Science Standard: Motions and forces
  Technology Content Area: Design
  Technology Standards: Students will develop an understanding of engineering design



  Two long party balloons
  Nylon monofilament fishing line
  Two plastic straws
  Foam coffee cup
  Masking tape
  Two spring clothespins


Professional Development

This brief video overview is an introduction to the Lunar Nautics educator guide. Get a glimpse of the resources available in the guide, an overview of the content, and standards and grade level matrices.

NES Recognition

Did you know you could be recognized for implementing the NES Featured Lessons in your classroom? NES offers incredible, multiday educational workshops and educator experiences for teachers that demonstrate an innovative use of NES materials in the classroom. Would you like to find out more? Visit our Recognition Overview page.

› Get more information

Are you ready to join NES?

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It's easy!

To be a participant in NES, you must be a U.S. citizen. You must have a current valid education certification as an administrator or educator in a state or nationally accredited education institution (grades 4-12) in the United States or a U.S. territory, or a Department of Defense or Department of State school.

Join over 1,000 teachers in the NES experience.

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Page Last Updated: September 30th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator