For 3rd grade and up

From September 10 until December 18, 2019
TIMES10:00am - 1:00pm
COST$11 per person
PLEASE NOTE:This program requires a minimum of 15 paid participants and can serve a maximum of 50 participants. One free adult chaperone is required for every ten students. Additional adults will be charged the program fee and the parking fee. No other discounts, including SLSC membership discounts, apply to field trip package prices. Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your program start time as programs begin promptly at 10am. Doors open at 9:30am. Field trip schedule subject to change in order to better coordinate program components.

Here’s your agenda for the day:

Enjoy a private Educational Program, Rocket to Mars: 10am-10:45am

Learn about the forces that affect spaceflight and some of the physics behind rocketry. Through both demonstration and participation, learn about propulsion and other forces of flight needed to get to Mars and back. Students will design paper rockets in teams and test variables that affect the distance their rockets travel. Use science skills such as measuring, observing and testing to design your rockets.

Explore Our Mission:Mars Galleries 10:45am–11:15am

Mission Control will allow you to experience the design process involved in creating a Mars rover. Students will also learn the challenges involved in designing and working with a rover that will operate on another planet. Mars Base will allow you to learn about living and working on Mars in the future. You will learn how scientists study various features of Mars including its geology and its planetary motions.

Watch the Planetarium Show Mission Mars: Live Sky 11:30am-12:15pm

Join us in the Planetarium for a brief tour of the current night sky. During the show you will learn how Mars has been observed through history and what discoveries the rovers and landers are learning today. Learn about the motion of Mars and how to find it in the night sky. Finally, you will see what it might be like to observe the night sky from the surface of Mars.

Lunch – 12:15pm-1:00pm

Lunch may be purchased starting at $6 per student and $10.50 for adults, or you can bring your own.

Pre and post-visit activities

Learning Goals (for field trip and pre/post-activities)
  1. Students will understand that with current technology, rockets use chemical reactions to generate the thrust needed to counteract the force of gravity.
  2. Students will understand that there are vast distances in space and will be able to discuss these distances using astronomical units.
  3. Students will be able to identify the forces that affect rockets during space flight such as gravity and thrust.
  4. Students will be able to state and explain Newton’s laws of motion and tell how they relate to rocket propulsion.
  5. Students will be able to identify different parts of a rocket.
  6. Students will use the scientific method and change variables to improve the performance of a straw rocket.
  7. Students will find the mass of their rocket using a scale and use this information to design their straw rocket.
  8. Students will predict how far their rocket will travel. Students will record and test their prediction.
  9. Students will collect and record data about the distance their rocket traveled and use this information to improve their rocket design.
  10. Students will graph the data they collected and use this data to identify variables that improved the way their rocket traveled.
Standards Met

Next Generation Science Standards

  • NGSS 5-PS2-1 – Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.
  • NGSS 3-5-ETS-3 – Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
  • NGSS MS-ETS1-1 – Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit solutions.
  • NGSS MS-ETS1-3 – Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

Common Core Standards

  • ELA/LITERACY.SL.3.3 – Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
  • ELA/LITERACY.SL.4.1.C – Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others
  • ELA/LITERACY.SL.6.4 – Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • ELA/LITERACY.RST.6-8.3 – Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
  • ELA/LITERACY.RST.6-8.7 – Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
  • ELA/LITERACY.W.3.2 – Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • ELA/LITERACY.W.4.2.b – Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
  • ELA/LITERACY.W.6.1.b – Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
  • ELA/LITERACY.W.8.2.d – Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
  • ELA/LITERACY.SL.4.4 – Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
  • ELA/LITERACY.SL.5.5 – Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.
  • ELA/LITERACY.RST.6-8.9 – Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.
  • MATHEMATICS.2.MD.A.1 – Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.

Project Mercury

Gemini Program

Apollo Program

Space Shuttle Program

International Space Station

NASA Rocket Science Activities

New Horizons Mission to Pluto


Before bringing students to the Science Center you may want to try some of the following activities in
order to activate prior knowledge and prepare them for their field trip. (Grades 3 to 8) Lessons should
be adjusted for grade level.

  1. Make a paper airplane
    1. Needed materials – paper, meter sticks.
    2. Students will make paper airplanes of their own design.
    3. Discuss in class some forces that act on their airplane while in flight. Some of the forces you can discuss with 3rd through 5th graders are gravity and thrust. You can discuss how gravity pulls down on the airplane and thrust is the forward motion created by your arm throwing the plane. Students in 6th through 8th grade can explore concepts of lift and drag as forces that affect their airplane. The following websites are a good resource for information and activities for paper airplanes.
    4. Students can measure the distance their planes fly using meter sticks. They can then make changes to their design such as adding a paper clip to increase their plane’s mass and see how the change affects the distance their planes fly. If time allows, students may try different plane designs to see how different designs compare.
  2. Build and launch a virtual rocket using NASA’s “Rocket Builder”
    1. Use the link below to use NASA Kid’s Club: Rocket Builder.
    2. Students can learn about the different parts of a rocket as they add components using this program.
    3. Students will learn to choose the appropriate rocket to satisfy the mission goals outlined in Rocket Science 101.

You can extend your visit to the Science Center back in the classroom with the following post-visit
activities. (Grades 3 to 8) Lessons should be adjusted for grade level.

  1. Research
    1. Have students individually or in groups research the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo or shuttle programs. The students can give a short report or PowerPoint presentation on one of these space programs. Helpful websites to aid students in their research can be found in the resource section.
  2. Explore rocket science for grades K-2 with NASA Activities
  3. Create straw paper rockets back in the classroom
    1. Have students use the NASA guide to create smaller paper rockets in the classroom. Students put their paper rockets on straws and thrust is provided by blowing through the straws. The students then measure the distances their rockets traveled.
    2. The experiment can be repeated with some variables changed in order to hopefully increase the distance the rockets will travel. For example, students can weigh their rockets to find their mass and then add tape or paper clips in order to increase the mass before retrying the experiment. They can then measure to see if the alteration changed the distance their rocket traveled.
  4. Graph your rocket data
    1. Using the data from the above activity, students may create a bar or line graph showing the distance their rockets traveled on the two different attempts.
    2. The class can also create a graph comparing the distances traveled by each rocket in the class.
    3. The students can then create a PowerPoint presentation showing their graphs and presenting the data they created as a class. The class can discuss what designs seemed to travel farthest.

Download a PDF of pre & post field trip activities.

Bus parking is free – cars are $10 per vehicle, free parking for required chaperones.
NOTE: Reservations are required at least 2 weeks in advance and we must receive payment 10 days prior to your
scheduled field trip. Last minute additions to student or chaperone tickets must be made the day before arrival.

Download a PDF copy of this agenda

Cancellation policy: Payment is required 10 days prior to your scheduled field trip. Cancellation after that time period will result in forfeiture of the full activity amount. SLSC may cancel the program with at least one-week prior notice, in which case SLSC will promptly refund the amount previously paid and your organization will be relieved of any payment obligation. SLSC shall however, in no event, be responsible for any loss incurred by your organization other than the program payments received.

To make a reservation please call 314.289.4439, email us or fill out the form below to get started.

Plan Ahead

All groups should also be aware of our Group Policies, and should print, fill out out and bring our Group Policies Acknowledgement form. For more information, contact Group Sales by phone at 1.314.289.4424, or at