Invite an Alien to Astronomy Nightby: Donna Governor and Pebble Richwine

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

Dozens of inflatable aliens recently “descended” upon the authors’ middle school to kick-off their first school-wide Astronomy night. With an estimated attendance of over 500, their eighth-grade students hosted over a dozen activity-rich sessions designed to entertain and educate students and their families about the wonders of the solar system and beyond. From the Galilean moons of Jupiter, to the farthest reaches of our galaxy, space science intrigued learners of all ages and was the perfect theme for this family night event. Here the authors share their “stellar” experience, and include a detailed description of the activities from the Astronomy Night sessions.

Grades
  • Middle
Publication Date
11/1/2007

Community ActivitySaved in 131 Libraries

Reviews (8)
  • on Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:46 PM

This article is about an event in the evening hosted by the schools eight graders. These students provided nine different astronomy sessions for whoever attended this event. Sponsored by the parent-teacher group attendees could attend a session on celestial timekeeping, websites supporting astronomy exploration, music of the sky and more. This article provides a chart that lists the session name, description, sources, and session notes and materials needed. This would be a great idea to use in other middles schools.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:40 PM

This article focuses entirely on astronomy and the planning of an astronomy family night. The author presents good detail on the specific events included in the astronomy family night. The ideas are clear and concise and easy to follow. While I would not host just an astronomy night, many of the ideas could be used to enhance a more general STEM Family Night event. This article provides a great starting point for any STEM or astronomy family event.

Susanne Hokkanen  (Orland Park, IL)
Susanne Hokkanen (Orland Park, IL)

  • on Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:47 PM

The article describes how the PTSA sponsored an Astronomy Night that included indoor activities, including the rental of a Starlab Planetarium and other hands-on activities to help participants engage with astronomy. The description of the event is clearly set out in a format I felt as if I had attended the event. There are two pages dedicated to activities and sessions the authors used at their astronomy night that can be easily replicated with success. Provided are Session titles, Session descriptions, Sources including websites, and Session Notes and Materials are provided for each of the activities. I really liked the idea of the students coming together and learning how to plan and pull off an event of this magnitude. While middle school students were those involved in set up, students and families of all ages participated in an event that brought families together for a rich and engaging night of fun and learning.

Sandra Gady  (Renton, WA)
Sandra Gady (Renton, WA)

  • on Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:56 PM

This article provides a very detailed description of a family after-school event organized but a teacher with the help of the PTSA, students, and school staff. This article brings a lot of inspiration and ideas to bring similar events to their school community.

Katherine  (Glenelg, Maryland)
Katherine (Glenelg, Maryland)

  • on Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:52 PM

This article provides a very detailed description of a family after-school event organized but a teacher with the help of the PTSA, students, and school staff. This article brings a lot of inspiration and ideas to bring similar events to their school community.

Katherine  (Glenelg, Maryland)
Katherine (Glenelg, Maryland)

  • on Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:47 AM

This is a wonderful resource for anyone who is interesting in hosting a Family Astronomy night program at their school. This article lists the steps and resources used to host such an event for over 500 middle school students, but it could easily be replicated by another person/team who wanted to host any sort of Family Science Night program. It contains logistics as well as specific websites and activity ideas- a MUST for anyone ready to jump off and bring multi-gneraltions into the learning environment!

Dorian Janney  (Gaithersburg, MD)
Dorian Janney (Gaithersburg, MD)

  • on Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:38 PM

This article was about hosting an astronomy night at a middle school. What I liked most about this article was the fact that the author shared details about each activitiy so you could use her model at your school. If you don't want to have a big blow out affair as described in the article. You can use some of her ideas as class room station activities. Great Article!!!!!!!!!

LeRoy A
LeRoy A

  • on Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:27 AM

Just as I was immediately hooked by the title of this article, expect students, parents, and other faculty to be hooked by these ideas as well! This teacher had amazing support from her school's PTSA but small grants are available to help teachers who don't have that advantage (like myself). Amazing and highly interactive ideas! Very impressed!

Kendra Young  (Lake Stevens, WA)
Kendra Young (Lake Stevens, WA)


Free - NSTA Members

$0.99 - Nonmembers

Login or Create a Free Account to add this resource to your library.

Share