Explore the wonders of the universe through hands-on fun! In Astronomy Lab for Kids, science educator Michelle Nichols has compiled 52 labs and activities that use everyday materials from around the house to encourage kids, their friends, and their families to look up, down, and around at everything from the shadows on the ground to the stars in the sky. Mini astronomers will learn about things such as the size and scale of planets using sandwich cookies and tennis balls, how to measure the speed of light with a flat candy bar and a microwave, how to make a simple telescope with magnifying glasses, and so much more! Kids begin their journey through the stars by creating a science journal to track their experiments and record their observations. Foundational skills, like how to make observations, measure angles, and determine directions, are laid out first. The lessons expand with explorations of size and scale; light, motion, and gravity; and then on to investigations of our Solar System and finding constellations in the night sky. Each lab includes:
Michelle Nichols is Master Educator at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, IL, where she has worked for twenty years. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National-Louis University. At the Adler Planetarium, Ms. Nichols specializes in informal education (i.e., "out-of-school-time" education). She has developed, facilitated, and evaluated hundreds of astronomy, space exploration, and history of astronomy activities for audiences ranging from early elementary children to adults. She has served on Adler staff teams to create planetarium shows, several of which have been distributed to planetariums internationally, and several dozen exhibits, both large and small. From 2008 to 2014, she was a member of the NASA Interstellar Boundary Explorer Education and Public Outreach team. She currently works with Adler's Far Horizons Space program, bringing the excitement of high altitude ballooning and space exploration to middle and high school students and teachers, and Ms. Nichols coordinates the Adler Planetarium's telescope outreach program, 'Scopes in the City. Ms. Nichols has served as an advisor for several Bearport Publishing children's books: Superfast Rockets, Space: Surviving in Zero-G, Ellen Ochoa: Reach for the Stars, and The Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion, as well as the Scholastic News Nonfiction Readers series (The Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, The Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto: Dwarf Planet, and Comets).