PreK-12 Programs

PreK-12 Programs are available only during the calendar school year (September - June).


Grade - Blake Planetarium Presentation Title

  • Topics that may be covered in a planetarium presentation…

Overarching Theme
MA SciTech Framework Standards…


PreK - The Sky Around Me

  • apparent motion of Sun and Moon
  • shadow of the Earth causes our night
  • shadow of the Moon causes its phases

The World Around Me
PreK-ESS1-1. Demonstrate awareness that the Moon can be seen in the daytime and at night, and of the different apparent shapes of the Moon over a month. Clarification Statement: The names of moon phases or sequencing of moon phases is not expected.
PreK-ESS1-2. Observe and use evidence to describe that the Sun is in different places in the sky during the day.
PreK-PS4-2. Connect daily experiences and investigations to demonstrate the relationships between the size and shape of shadows, the objects creating the shadow, and the light source.


Kindergarten - In the Sky

  • identification of sky objects
  • directions (up/down/left/right/N,S,E,W)
  • patterns in the sky

Reasons for Change
K-ESS2-1. Use and share quantitative observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.


GR1 - Cycles in the Sky

  • daily motion
  • seasonal changes

Describing Patterns
1-ESS1-1. Use observations of the Sun, Moon, and stars to describe that each appears to rise in one part of the sky, appears to move across the sky, and appears to set.
1-ESS1-2. Analyze provided data to identify relationships among seasonal patterns of change, including relative sunrise and sunset time changes…


GR2 - The Whole Sky and Its Parts

  • seasonal path of the Sun
  • seasonal star patterns; stick figures; artistic figures
  • constellations as areas
  • zodiacal constellations
  • circumpolar constellations

Wholes and Parts


GR3 - Our Human Sky

  • constellations: stories in the sky
  • planets and how we name the days of the week
  • global weather and cliimates as seen from space
  • force that produces orbital motion
  • what would happen if there was no gravity in space
  • how lack of frictional forces allows solar system to continue in motion indefinitely

Human Interactions
3-ESS2-1. Use graphs and tables of local weather data to describe and predict typical weather during a particular season in an area.
3-ESS2-2. Obtain and summarize information about the climate of different regions of the world to illustrate that typical weather conditions over a year vary by region.
3-PS2-1. Provide evidence to explain the effect of multiple forces, including friction, on an object. Include balanced forces that do not change the motion of the object and unbalanced forces that do change the motion of the object.


GR4 - Energy

  • seeing
  • energy transfer (heat and light)
  • color of stars
  • collisions in space

Matter and Energy
4-PS3-2. Make observations to show that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
4-PS3-3. Ask questions and predict outcomes about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide.
4-PS4-2. Develop a model to describe that light must reflect off an object and enter the eye for the object to be seen.


GR5 - Motions

  • the Sun is a star: larger and brighter because it’s “close”; apparent and absolute magnitude of stars
  • Earth’s own shadow and its rotation cause hourly/daily changes in shadows and produce day and night
  • revolution causes daily/monthly/yearly changes in apparent position of the Sun, Moon, and stars
  • gravitaitonal force produces the spherical shapes of the Sun and planets and our perception of up & down

Connections and Relationships in Systems
5-ESS1-1. Use observations, first-hand and from various media, to argue that the Sun is a star that appears larger and brighter than other stars because it is closer to Earth.
5-ESS1-2. Use a model to communicate Earth’s relationship to the Sun, Moon, and other stars that explain (a) why people on Earth experience day and night, (b) patterns in daily changes in length and direction of shadows over a day, and (c) changes in the apparent position of the Sun, Moon, and stars at different times during a day, over a month, and over a year. Clarification Statement: Models should illustrate that the Earth, Sun, and Moon are spheres; include orbits of the Earth around the Sun and of the Moon around Earth; and demonstrate Earth’s rotation about its axis. State Assessment Boundary: Causes of lunar phases or seasons, or use of Earth’s tilt are not expected in state assessment.
5-PS2-1. Support an argument with evidence that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed toward Earth’s center.


GR6 - Phases and Eclipses

  • motions of the Sun-Earth-Moon system explain lunar phases and eclipses

Structure and Functions
6.MS-ESS1-1a. Develop and use a model of the Earth-Sun-Moon system to explain the causes of lunar phases and eclipses of the Sun and Moon. Clarification Statement: Examples of models can be physical, graphical, or conceptual and should emphasize relative positions and distances.

GR6 - Galaxies and Solar Systems
  • how we know many solar systems exist
  • galaxies, galaxies, galaxies…
  • size and structure of the known universe

Structure and Functions
6.MS-ESS1-5. Use graphical displays to illustrate that Earth and its solar system are one of many in the Milky Way galaxy, which is one of billions of galaxies in the universe.
6.MS-PS2-4. Use evidence to support the claim that gravitational forces between objects are attractive and are only noticeable when one or both of the objects have a very large mass.


GR7 - Our Dynamic Solar System

  • the Sun; planets; moons; asteroids; meteor/oid/ites; and comets
  • gravity is a universal non-contact force that produces changes in motions
  • collisions among solar system objects

Systems and Cycles
7.MS-ESS2-4. Develop a model to explain how the energy of the Sun and Earth’s gravity drive the cycling of water, including changes of state, as it moves through multiple pathways in Earth’s hydrosphere.
7.MS-PS2-5. Use scientific evidence to argue that fields exist between objects with mass, between magnetic objects, and between electrically charged objects that exert force on each other even though the objects are not in contact.
7.MS-PS3-5. Present evidence to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.
7.MS-PS3-7. Use informational text to describe the relationship between kinetic and potential energy and illustrate conversions from one form to another.


GR8 - Seasons

  • direction of sunrise and sunset changes seasonally
  • maximum height of Sun (at noon) changes seasonally
  • different constellations are seen at different seasons
  • the Earth’s axial tilt and it’s revolution around the Sun produces these seasonal effects

Cause and Effect
8.MS-ESS1-1b. Develop and use a model of the Earth-Sun system to explain the cyclical pattern of seasons, which includes Earth’s tilt and differential intensity of sunlight on different areas of Earth across the year.

GR8 - Gravity
  • tides
  • orbital motion

Cause and Effect
8.MS-ESS1-2. Explain the role of gravity in ocean tides, the orbital motions of planets, their moons, and asteroids in the solar system.


GRHS - The Sun and Stellar Evolution

  • fusion and nucleosynthesis
  • stellar life cycle: stellar nebulae; main sequence stars; red giants; white dwarfs; novae and supernovae; neutron stars; black holes

Earth's Place in the Universe
HS-ESS1-1. Use informational text to explain that the life span of the Sun over approximately 10 billion years is a function of nuclear fusion in its core. Communicate that stars, through nuclear fusion over their life cycle, produce elements from helium to iron and release energy that eventually reaches Earth in the form of radiation. State Assessment Boundary: Specific stages of the life of a star, details of the many different nucleosynthesis pathways for stars of differing masses, or calculations of energy released are not expected in state assessment.

GRHS - Big Bang
  • cosmological red shift
  • galaxies and Hubble’s law
  • cosmic background radiation
  • chemical composition of the universe

Earth's Place in the Universe
HS-ESS1-2. Describe the astronomical evidence for the Big Bang theory, including the red shift of light from the motion of distant galaxies as an indication that the universe is currently expanding, the cosmic microwave background as the remnant radiation from the Big Bang, and the observed composition of ordinary matter of the universe, primarily found in stars and interstellar gases, which matches that predicted by the Big Bang theory (3/4 hydrogen and 1/4 helium).

GRHS - Kepler’s Laws
  • gravity changes motion of orbiting objects
  • spherical vs. elliptical orbits
  • specific changes in velocity along elliptical orbits
  • changes in orbits due to “close calls” and/or collisions among solar system objects

Earth's Place in the Universe
HS-ESS1-4. Use Kepler’s laws to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system. Describe how orbits may change due to the gravitational effects from, or collisions with, other objects in the solar system. Clarification Statements: Kepler’s laws apply to human-made satellites as well as planets, moons, and other objects. Calculations involving Kepler’s laws of orbital motions should not deal with more than two bodies, nor involve calculus.