Programs & Events at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
After-School Science and Engineering Club
For our 2017-2018 After-School Engineering Club (middle school and up), we are starting a FIRST Lego League (FLL) Team. There are still spots available so sign up today! We will follow the design challenges for this year’s season of FLL but leave room for tinkering and exploring the world of robotics and engineering in general. For those who are interested, we will be competing against schools during the spring (details to follow).
We will be meeting for 10 sessions each semester on Wednesday afternoons. The fall semester will run from October 11th to December 20th, with the exception of Thanksgiving week (November 22nd). The program officially starts at 4:00 PM with pick up at 5:30 PM, though parents are welcome to sit in on the program. We are offering an optional snack and homework time starting at 3:00 PM. Please let us know if you plan on utilizing this snack and homework time. The cost for the semester is $150 for nonmembers and $135 for members. To register, please contact Elizabeth Pappas at (603) 271-7827 x104 or email@example.com.
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. Homeschool workshops are offered at three levels: Level 1 (Grades 1-3); Level 2 (Grades 4-6); and Level 3 (Grades 7-8). An optional planetarium show will be offered at the conclusion of each program, for an additional $5 per person. Contact Elizabeth Pappas to register at firstname.lastname@example.org or (603) 271-7827 x104. The deadline to register is 24 hours before the program.
Our focus for the 2017-18 Academic Year will be on Solar System Exploration, with a focus on our system's planets and moons and the space missions that have enabled us to learn about our 'neighbors in space'.
October 12, 2017: 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: Dawn of the Space Age
November 9, 2017: Working in Orbit
Humans have been working in space continuously for 17 years! Learn how the International Space Station (ISS) was constructed, what challenges humans face while living off-Earth and what other man-made objects are in orbit above us.
Optional planetarium show: Space Junk
December 14, 2017: Probing the Inner Solar System
Unmanned space probes have greatly expanded our understanding of the planets in our solar system. Discover what we learned about Mercury and Venus from the Mariner and Messenger probes.
Optional planetarium show: Family of the Sun, part 1
January 11, 2018: Roving around Mars
Mars is perhaps the most explored planet (excluding Earth) in our solar system. Our exploration of Mars began over 45 years ago with flybys by unmanned space probes. Now, rovers, equipped with cameras and scientific instruments, explore this red planet—in hopes of learning enough to support manned missions in the future!
Optional planetarium show: TBA
February 8, 2018: 2040: Manned Missions to Mars
NASA has set its sight on Mars—aiming to put astronaut boots on the ground in the early 2040s. But, the trip to Mars is going to take years of planning and also the development of new systems.
Optional planetarium show: TBA
March 8, 2018: Exploring the Outer Solar System
Our understanding of objects in the outer Solar System has expanded with missions to Jupiter, Pluto—and even a comet. Learn what missions like New Horizons, Juno, and Philae missions taught us and what tools are on-board space probes. How do we get all that information back? Join us to find out!
Optional planetarium show: Family of the Sun, part 2
April 12, 2018: Peering out into the Universe
We’ve learned all about our solar system, but what’s outside of it? How do we study stars? How does our star compare to others? What tools do we use to study these stars? What is in our galaxy? The universe? How do we study it? Learn what scientists are currently doing to better understand the universe and our place in it.
Optional planetarium show: From Dream to Discovery: Inside NASA
May 10, 2018: Careers in Space
Becoming an astronaut is not the only path to a truly stellar career! This final session will explore the many different ways you can contribute to our understanding of space. Guest speakers from local industries and universities will share how they reached for the stars and landed in their jobs.
Optional planetarium show: Space School
$15 per student; $10 for each additional student from the same immediate family.
Parent educators accompanying students in the workshops are free.
Planetarium show following each workshop: $5 per person, free for children ages 0-2
Please note: While they are welcome in the planetarium shows following the workshops, we are unable to accommodate younger siblings in the workshops. We delight in having babies and toddlers visit the Discovery Center, but find that they are distracting to the students and instructors in our intensive 90-minute homeschool workshops. The Discovery Center is not open for visits on Thursdays so exhibits will not be on; but parents who are not joining their children in the workshops are welcome to find a comfy spot in our galleries to play with their younger children, read or use our free WiFi.
Juniors - "Get Moving!" Journey Workshop - learn about energy use and light pollution.
A 2-hour workshop can be tailored for all Girl Scout pathways to help complete new badges and journeys in the “Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting” and the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Workshop includes a planetarium show and hands-on activities.
- Astronomy Merit Badge
- Aviation Merit Badge
- Space Exploration Merit Badge
We can also help with Cub Scouting! Please call and we will help set up the perfect workshop for your troop.
Summer STEM Day Camps
Does your child or teen love space? Our seven Summer STEM Day Camps offer a full week of exciting hands-on science and engineering adventures for kids ages 5 - 14, from June 26 through August 11. Check out our summer camp page for details!
Super Stellar Fridays
On the 1st Friday of the month, from October through May, 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 Tonight's Sky planetarium show begins at 7 PM, with the evening's feature presentation starting at 8:15. Recommended for ages 8+. During the summer months, on the 1st Fridays of June, July, August and September, we switch from serious science to classic sci-fi, with vintage creature features beginning at 7 p.m. Our all-inclusive price for Super-Stellar Fridays: Free for members, $10/Adults, $9/Seniors & Students, $7/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.
Can't come to us? We can come to you!
We will adjust the content of any of our programs to suit your students' grade level. The programs actively involve your students in exciting, enjoyable learning experiences. Some involve hands-on activities for every student. 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 your students in a fun and educational way! Learn more about all the outreach possibilities.