Programs & Events at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
SUPER STELLAR FRIDAYS
On the 1st Friday of the month, enjoy an evening of astronomy with Discovery Center educators and special guest speakers. Topics vary, covering new discoveries, historical events, scientific concepts and more. Doors open at 6:30 PM. Our evening's feature presentation begins at 7 PM, followed by an optional Tonight's Sky planetarium show. Recommended for ages 8+. Our all-inclusive price for Super-Stellar Fridays: Free for members, $11.50/Adults, $10.50/Seniors & Students, $8.50/Children; children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.
If the skies are clear, not only will our observatory be open, but members of the NH Astronomical Society will be out on the Discovery Center's southside front lawn, ready to provide a FREE skywatch. Gaze through their telescopes - or your own - at the wonders of the night sky. The skywatch begins at dusk during daylight savings time or 7 PM during standard time.
October 4, 2019: Looking at How Life Recovered After the Cretaceous Extinction with Dr. Chris Lowery: Following an asteroid impact in the Gulf of Mexico at the end of the Cretaceous Period, 75% of all species on Earth went extinct within a few years. Just a few years later, life had already started to return to the impact site, but global species diversity would take another ̴10 million years to recover. Understanding how life on Earth has rebounded from mass extinctions can help us predict future trends following the current (Holocene) period of mass extinction. Paleoceanographer Dr. Chris Lowery is a research associate at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, specializing in how marine life has adapted (or failed to adapt) to changes in its environment. As part of the Ocean Discovery Lecture Series presenting the work of the International Ocean Discovery Program, Dr. Lowery will visit the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center to discuss recent research into the sediment cores of the impact site and the picture the data paint of life’s recovery after the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event. During the day, he will be on hand to talk with school groups and members of the visiting public, and during the evening he will serve as our Super Stellar Friday guest speaker.
Dr. Lowery’s visit is supported by the U.S. Science Support Program and NH Space Grant Consortium.
Smithsonian Museum Day
September 21, 2019: The 15th Annual Smithsonian Museum Day is an event where guests with Museum Day tickets get free admission for 2 to participating institutions such as the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. In addition to our usual exhibits, we’ll be hosting a special presentation on meteorites by Bob Veilleux, a local meteorite collector. Bob is a former science teacher and was the other 1985 Teacher in Space candidate from New Hampshire along with Christa McAuliffe. His presentation will be at 1:00pm in the Function Room, and Bob will also have a table set up with part of his collection so that visitors can ask questions and see some meteorites up close.
Homeschool workshops are offered October through May on the second Thursday of the month from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM. You are welcome to enroll in individual sessions, by the term (Term 1: October, November, December; Term 2: January, February; Term 3: March, April, May), or for the entire series. Payment is required in order to reserve a spot: $15 for the first child, $10 for each additional child. Homeschool workshops are offered at three levels: Level 1 (Grades K-2); Level 2 (Grades 3-5); and Level 3 (Grades 6-8). An optional planetarium show will be offered at the conclusion of each program, for an additional $5 per person.
· Children must be five years old by September 30, 2019 to participate in the workshop series.
· Students in Level 3 are expected to be fluent in math concepts equivalent to pre-algebra, since activities in Level 3 are often mathematically based.
· As a courtesy to students and instructors, we request that younger siblings not participating in the program are not in the room where instruction is taking place.
The 2019-20 home school program will use human exploration of the area around Earth and plans for future missions to explore the science and technology of space exploration. Participants in the series will develop an understanding of physical and planetary sciences consistent with level-appropriate Next-Generation Science Standards, and also gain an appreciation for the arc of technology developed by scientists and engineers that has allowed us to do so much within our part of the solar system.
October 10, 2019: Rockets: How We Lifted Off
Our first challenge of exploring space was getting off the Earth’s surface. Take a historical tour of rocketry and learn the basic principles of rocketry. Put your knowledge to the test by designing and launching paper rockets.
Optional planetarium show: Take Flight!
November 14, 2019: Managing Opposing Forces
While getting off the ground helped us reach space, following specific flight plans meant that we needed to be able to control our speed and direction after liftoff. This week we’ll look at how early programs like Mercury and Gemini left our atmosphere and maneuvered their craft, accounting for Earth’s gravity and the requirements of re-entry.
Optional planetarium show: Tonight’s Sky
December 12, 2019: Travelling with the Moon and Stars
The Apollo Program made the great leap to the Moon, a challenge that incorporated communicating and navigating in a dynamic landscape. Look at the physical environment of these missions and the planetary and stellar motion that made them both harder and easier.
Optional planetarium show: Capcom Go!
January 9, 2020: Living in Space
First using smaller facilities and now with the International Space Station, we have spent decades learning how to live and work in space. The obstacles and opportunities have helped us understand how to be more efficient and better prepared for what space has to offer.
Optional planetarium show: Space School
February 13, 2020: Expanding Our Reach Toward Space
Although early space design and exploration was largely done by governments, more recently private companies and organizations have started their own efforts to reach space. Look at some of the new technologies making new missions possible and expanding the range of things we can do in space.
Optional planetarium show: Back to the Moon for Good
March 12, 2020: Going Forward: The Physical Challenges
As NASA and others talk about more, longer trips to the Moon and plans for a mission to Mars, we have to consider the hostile environments we’ll encounter and the limits on our equipment. What qualities and technological capabilities will astronauts need in order to make those journeys?
Optional planetarium show: Sunstruck
April 9, 2020: Going Forward: It’s a Whole New World
As we see further and go farther, how we collect and use new information keeps evolving. Space exploration is truly international and multi-national now, leading to questions about how best to coordinate and cooperate. Whether it’s organizing communications satellites in similar orbits or representing the entire Earth in a deep space probe, details are important when assessing new designs and missions.
Optional planetarium show: From Dream to Discovery: Inside NASA
May 14, 2020: Making the Next Giant Leap Sustainable
While getting back to the Moon or going to Mars uses a lot of space science and technology, staying there (or any other off-Earth location) will require that we also include life sciences. We’ll have to think about matter and energy cycling, sustainable resources, and other elements to create a successful colony.
Optional planetarium show: Family of the Sun
Looking for a fun bonding experience with your troop? We offer overnight experiences for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other youth groups! Overnights include a planetarium show, scavenger hunt, snacks, breakfast, and exploration of the entire museum! The cost is $55 per attendee and we require a 45 participant minimum (or $2,250 minimum charge) to book an overnight experience.
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center currently offers 3 Boy Scout merit badge workshops (Astronomy, Aviation, and Space Exploration) and 1 Cub Scout Elective Adventure (Sky is the Limit). A 4-hour workshop is recommended to complete as many elements as possible. (We do offer a 2-hour workshop that could be utilized in conjunction with other trainings to complete a merit badge.) To achieve all the requirements within that time frame, there will be a few prerequisites to be completed before the workshop. To fulfill the requirements at a workshop, every Scout must participate fully and answer all questions. *For all workshops, scouts are expected to do research on career opportunities ahead of time to allow ample time for discussion of this topic.
Astronomy: Our 4-hour Merit Badge Workshop can fulfill all the requirements with the following exceptions: Requirements 5a-b, 6b, and 9 (which we ask scouts to do ahead of time and bring with them.) Requirement 8 (we recommend that scouts complete 8a on their own after their visit as the final piece for the merit badge) **BSA dictates that if visiting a planetarium, scouts must still identify the required stars and constellations under the natural night sky. Please plan accordingly.
Aviation: Our 4-hour Merit Badge Workshop can fulfill all the requirements with the exception of requirement 3, which we ask scouts to do ahead of time and bring with them. We recommend 3b: each scout builds a fpg-9 styrofoam plate glider (instructions online) and brings it to the workshop. However, if scouts would prefer 3a, let us know ahead of time and we will alter the lesson plan. For #2, we can do c, d, and e.
Space Exploration: Our 4-hour Merit Badge Workshop can fulfill all the requirements with the exception of requirements 2, 5b, and 7, which we ask scouts to do ahead of time and bring with them.
Sky is the Limit: Our 4-hour Adventure Workshop can fulfill all the requirements with the exception of requirement 3, which we ask scouts to do ahead of time and bring with them.
To find out more about our Scout opportunities or to make a reservation, please contact Sarah Nappo at (603) 271-7827 ext 113 or email email@example.com.
We offer two ways to achieve your Space Science Badges: a trip to the Discovery Center, or a specialized workshop!
A trip to the Discovery Center will provide you with all the background you need for your Space Science badges! Interact with our educators and docents to perform a number of activities for your badges such as scale models of the solar system. You are also welcome to bring materials to complete other activities, but we do ask that you help keep the museum clean and let us know ahead of time if possible. A Tonight’s Sky planetarium show is also a great way to check off steps and activities for your badge. Our observatory may or may not be open when you visit based on weather and staff availability (another reason to book a group trip as we will do what we can to have the observatory open while you are here).
Our Super Stellar Friday event on the first Friday of the month is also a great way to check off all these steps! On Super Stellar Fridays, we are open extra hours from 6:30-9:30 P.M. with nighttime observing (weather permitting), a Tonight’s Sky show and a special guest speaker or workshop. Check the calendar for details on the next Super Stellar Friday!
We offer 2 hour workshops for girl scouts that include a 1 hour workshop activity and a planetarium show (Tonight’s Sky is our most recommended, but we can discuss other options to work best for your troop). Our badge-specific workshop offerings currently include:
Solar System Explorers- learn about our little neighborhood of the galaxy in terms of size, scale, and composition. Explore our sun, moon, the planets in our solar system. (Contact us about designing this workshop specifically for your troop. We can adapt this workshop to different ages and discuss what activities we can accomplish in the time allotted.)
Juniors - "Get Moving!" Journey Workshop - learn about energy use and light pollution.
We also offer the following workshops that do not currently fit all the requirements to complete a badge, but do expand on steps within badges and provide an amazing opportunity to delve deeper into space as a troop.
Telescopes 101- learn the basics of optics and telescopes; then, try them out for yourself! (Recommended for grades 4 and up, but we are working on creating age appropriate activities for younger audiences.)
Final Frontier- learn about how astronauts live and work in space and other worlds (Recommended for grades 3 and up)
The Hunt is On! Search for Exoplanets: a brand new workshop for 2019, funded by a mini-fund from NASA Universe of Learning to explore planets that orbit stars other than our own. The workshop consists of an educator led planetarium show and hands-on activities to explore the process of finding these planets and ends with the chance to make your own planet!
*We are currently in the process of adapting these workshops to better fit the new Space Science badges and would love to work with troops on creating the best workshops! Contact us for details.*
To find out more about our Girl Scout opportunities or to make a reservation, please contact Sarah Nappo at (603) 271-7827 ext 113 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALEX HIGGINS MEMORIAL SPACE CAMP SCHOLARSHIP
Train to be an astronaut, an airplane pilot or a robotics engineer in a five-day immersive, intensive educational, and FUN camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center! Since 2001, 56 New Hampshire children and teens have traveled to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center for a week of simulated astronaut or pilot training, thanks to the Alex Higgins Memorial Space Camp Scholarship. Three more will have the chance to go in 2019! This scholarship is open to New Hampshire residents age 9-18. Applications for the 2019 round of space camp scholarships are closed, but we will have 2020’s application available on December 1, 2019. The 2019 Alex Higgins Memorial Space Camp Scholarship Awards were presented at AerospaceFest, on Saturday, May 4. The 2019 winners, or Primary Crew, are Jillian Dunlap, Advay Nomula and Maxwell Santos. The 2019 Back Up Crew are Sarah Lewis, Ayanna Valeras and Brady Visaggio.
Thank you to the Higgins family, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and all of our wonderful donors and friends for support of this program. For more information on the Scholarship, click here.
TRAVELING EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH - For Your Classroom, Library, Youth Club or Special Event
Can't come to us? We can come to you!
We will adjust the content of any of our programs to suit participants’ ages and interests. The programs actively involve your group in exciting, enjoyable learning experiences. Some involve hands-on activities for every participant. Others utilize volunteers from the audience. We will be happy to answer questions after each show. Name a topic in space science and we'll deliver a program to you in a fun and educational way! Learn more about all the outreach possibilities.