If you offer children's programs in informal learning environments such as libraries, planetariums, science centers, astronomy clubs, and scout troops, the following programming ideas and activities are tailored just for you!
Children may not know much about asteroids, beyond what they hear in popular media about asteroids impacting Earth -- the extinction of the dinosaurs, or what may happen to civilization if an asteroid hits today! Your programs could use the popular media to spark interest, but be sure to differentiate between fact and fiction!
Get in touch with your local astronomical society to find out if there is are upcoming opportunities for viewing asteroids close to Earth. Find videos, interactives and images in the Resources section.
You also can find eager and willing local speakers by contacting planetariums, and museums, local scientists (astronomy and geology departments at nearby universities are a good place to start), and NASA Solar System Ambassadors -- ask them to join your events and share their experiences or resources with the children.
In addition to the educational activities below, you can find fun games and materials at the Dawn Kids website. Be sure to submit photographs, artwork, music, or words of your community enjoying this activity to Share Your Stories.
| The Aster's Hoity Toity Belt || This activity is appropriate for organizations with a strong literacy component, such as library or afterschool programs. "The Aster's Hoity-Toity Belt," a compelling tale set in the Great Carousel of the Skies, tells of two friends, the gentle giant Ceres and feisty Vesta, as they find their place in the skyberhood. In addition to a supplemental activity, the Aster's story is available as a booklet handout, a story with space for imaginative illustrations and a version with learning notations. |
| Modeling Asteroid Vesta in 3-D || Students create a 3D model of Vesta using images, clay and other materials. |
| Vesta Flipbook || Animators build cartoons by flipping through a series of images over time. Make a flipbook using Vesta images to help you picture the asteroid spinning on its axis in orbit through space! |
| Space Rocks: A Giant Meteorite Board Game || Children learn about meteoroids, meteors, meteorites, asteroids, and comets as they move from outer space to Earth's surface. |
| Meteorite Investigators || Children examine several rock samples to determine which are meteorites and which are not. |
| Vesta Fiesta Activities || This site includes edible and active activities about asteroids, meteorites and the Dawn mission. |