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Stardust-NExT Educational Resources

Stardust-NExT Educational and Outreach (E/PO) Initiative is dedicated to bringing the excitement of space exploration to students of all ages. We offer standards-based classroom activities. National Education Standards are incorporated into the Educator Guides. All materials are downloadable free of charge and available for your use.

Our dynamic activities unpack the science and engineering behind missions to comets. Sequence several and tell a comet story! All materials have been tested in the classroom by teachers and kids, and reviewed by NASA educators and scientists. Many offer inquiry extensions.

Kids learning about space science Student building a comet on a stick Students building comet on a stick Father and son holding comet models created in the Comet on a Stick activity

Comet Activities
Activities for novice learners of all ages, as well as those ready to dig in deeper into comet science and engineering!

Science: What is a Comet?


Activity Description Introductory Intermediate Advanced Informal
Comet Mystery Boxes
+ Educator Guide
+ Explorer Guide: Class
+ Explorer Guide: Event
+ Assembly Directions
Use your tactile senses to discover what makes up a comet. Gold check mark Gold check mark   Gold check mark
Comet on a Stick
+ Educator Guide
+ Explorer Guide
+ Make a Comet Video
A tactile experience, exploring the physical characteristics of a comet. Construct comet models from craft supplies and practice scientific discourse. Gold check mark Gold check mark   Gold check mark
Tales Comets Tell
+ Educator Guide
+ Timeline Cards
Integrate literacy and science to illuminate comets' impact on people through history!   Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark
Comet Lingo Bingo
+ Educator Guide
+ Bingo Clues/Cards
+ Bingo Boards
A vocabulary-building bingo game, especially fun in conjunction with The Comet Chronicle (see Comet Resources).   Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark
Comparing Comets
+ Educator Guide
+ Explorer Guide
+ EPOXI Education
Play the role of a cometary scientist from the EPOXI or Stardust-NExT missions investigating the surface of comets.   Gold check mark Gold check mark  
Make a Comet & Eat It
+ Deep Impact Education
Model elements of a comet nucleus using food items: Yum! Gold check mark     Gold check mark
Cookin' Up a Kitchen Comet
+ Education Guide
+ Standards
+ Video Demo
Demo for younger or larger audiences – or use as a lab for older students exploring characteristics of bodies in our solar system. Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark
Feel the Impact
+ Education Materials
Designed by the Deep Impact mission for students with visual impairment. Students conduct experiments and analyze tactilely; engaging for all learners.   Gold check mark    

Engineering: Mission to a Comet


Activity Description Introductory Intermediate Advanced Informal
Seeing in 3-D
+ Educator Guide
+ Explorer Guide
+ PowerPoint
+ Stereo Viewer
Learn how our brains interpret what we see and build your own stereoscopic viewer to see space imagery in 3-D!   Gold check mark    
Extreme Navigation
+ Educator Guide and PPT
+ Role Cards
+ Slide Show
Kinesthetic model illustrates mission planning to enable a spacecraft to make it from Earth to a comet.   Gold check mark    
Crater Capture
+ Educator Guide
+ Explorer Guide
Explore the challenge of capturing images of a fast moving target using a basketball. Includes open inquiry extensions.   Gold check mark Gold check mark  
Cosmic Cameras
+ Educator Guide
+ Explorer Guide
+ PowerPoint
+ PowerPoint Notes
Comparing two different spacecraft cameras, find out what the image data is really telling scientists!     Gold check mark  
Getting a Feel for Gravity
+ Educator Guide
+ Standards
These kinesthetic group activities develop our intuition for the power of gravity. Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark
Adventures in Math
+ Math Problems
Explore size and scale in space using real-mission-to-comet problems—you'll find the answer key in the math!   Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark
Designing Craters
+ Educator Guide
A student inquiry into the question: "How do you make a 7-15 stories deep, football stadium-sized crater in a comet?"   Gold check mark   Gold check mark
Basics of Space Flight
+ Educator Guide
Learn concepts that apply to interplanetary space exploration, and their relationship to each other. Plan a mission!     Gold check mark  

Support Materials
Deepen your and your students' ability to conceptualize comets in space with multimedia interactives, games, gorgeous images… fun stuff!

Comet Resources


Activity Description Introductory Intermediate Advanced Informal
Comet Interactive
+ Play Interactive
Interactive media model explores comet history and anatomy, and introduces viewers to mission data. Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark
Cool, Curious Comets
+ Fact Sheet
It all starts here! Elementary fun fact sheet explores what comets are and where they come from. Gold check mark Gold check mark   Gold check mark
A funny, tabloid style, newspaper is written for high school. Articles are enjoyed by middle and afterschool audiences with support. Pair with Comet Lingo Bingo! Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark
A set of these diverse comet images – both from afar and up close and personal, enrich your students’ experience. Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark
Comet Story and Song
+ Deep Impact Education
Learn about comets through story telling and song. Designed by the Deep Impact mission. Gold check mark Gold check mark   Gold check mark

Other Resources


Activity Resources Description Introductory Intermediate Advanced Informal
Watch a video musical about members of our solar system. Each song has fun activities associated with it. Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark
Explore the cosmos from your computer in
3-D! Interactive uses real NASA mission data.
Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark
Help Exo and Disco in their search for resources in our solar system, including comets, in this interactive game. Gold check mark Gold check mark   Gold check mark
Fun interactive games and activities just for kids! Gold check mark Gold check mark   Gold check mark
NASA materials are organized according to National Science Standards – find what’s best for your classroom! Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark  
A volunteer public outreach program designed to communicate the excitement of JPL mission with local communities. Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark Gold check mark
Program Resources Description
Network of trained educators who are available to do teachers workshops across the nation.
Offers educators access to a core collection of NASA's exciting, easy-to-implement and free education resources designed to increase your students' interest and engagement in STEM topics.
Explore this exciting website and learn not only about the bodies in our Solar System but the NASA mission currently exploring them.