School Programs

Explore science, technology, history and much more with our expert educators and a variety of hands-on programs. All of our workshops listed below can be taught in our museum facilities, or brought straight to your door!

Workshops at the Museum

One adult supervisor is required for every ten students when visiting the museum or our Gillespie Field facility.

The teacher must remain with the class.

Outreaches at Your Institution

Our hands-on workshops can also be taught at your school, community center, library or other educational venue!

A mileage fee of 75 cents per mile (in both directions) will be added for school outreaches.

Reserve your program today!

Contact the Education Department .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with all of the following information:

  • The desired dates and times of your program
  • Number of students
  • Number of adults
  • Name, address, and phone number of your school or organization
  • Name, phone number, and email of the person who will be coordinating the program

Download the 2017-2018 Educator Guide

Program Descriptions

Pre-K - K

Things That Fly

Description: Young learners know that a lot of things can fly, but how do all of these things stay in the air? What do they all have in common? And why can’t humans fly without help? Students will compare different flying objects by building and testing them, and will also examine designs found in nature.
Time: 1 hour
Cost: $120
NGSS standards met: K-PS2-1, K-2.Engineering Design

Up, Up, & Away Story Time

Description: Your students have probably heard so many stories (and maybe can read some to themselves now!), but have they ever heard a story in a museum? Students will listen to a reading of an air or space related book and will then embark on a tour of the museum galleries that link to they just read about. Books available include: Astronaut Handbook by Megan McCarthy, Hare and Tortoise Race to the Moon by Oliver J. Corwin, Lisa’s Airplane Trip by Anne Gutman, Mousetronaut by NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, and There’s No Place like Space! by Dr. Seuss.
Time: 1 hour
Cost: $120
CCSS standards met: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.L.10

Elementary School (Grades 1-5)

Aqua Rockets

Description: What do the laws of physics have to do with launching rockets filled with water? Students will engineer aqua rockets to learn how gravity and laws of motion are able to propel an object in the air and get it back to the ground. Students will also investigate how different designs change a rocket’s motion and energy.
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $140
NGSS standards met: K-PS2-1, K-2.Engineering Design, 3-PS2-1, 4-PS3-1, 4-PS3-2, 4-PS3-4, 5-PS2-1, 3-5.Engineering Design

Aviation Art

Description: Airline advertisements have always lured travelers to new places with artwork of beautiful locations. Students will examine the art and advertising in our vintage airline poster collection and then create a poster of the place they would like to visit. Each student's poster will be made into a sticker with help from our graphics department.
Time: 2 hours
Cost: $100
California Visual Arts Standards met: 1st grade: 1.1, 2.8, 3.2, 4.2; 2nd grade: 2.2, 3.1, 4.1; 3rd grade: 3.1, 4.1; 4th grade: 1.1, 3.1, 4.3; 5th grade: 1.1, 2.6, 2.7, 3.4, 5.2

Awesome Aerodynamics

Description: There are many forces at work that help to keep things flying, but what if that thing is a really odd-looking airplane? Students will engineer paper airplanes that may be unlike anything they have ever seen or built, and they will then conduct an investigation to see if the four forces of flight still work!
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $120
NGSS standards met: K-PS2-1, K-2.Engineering Design, 3-PS2-1, 4-PS3-1, 5-PS2-1, 3-5.Engineering Design

International Space Station

Description: Humans have been living on the International Space Station since 2000 and have changed how we conduct science on Earth! In addition to seeing how astronauts are able to work and live in Earth’s orbit through hands-on activities, students will engineer a robotic arm similar to one on the ISS, learn about solar energy by making a solar-powered pinwheel, and examine artifacts that have been to space and back.
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $130
NGSS standards met: K-2.Engineering Design, 4-PS3-2, 4-PS3-4, 5-PS2-1, 3-5.Engineering Design

It’s A Blast

Description: Fun fact: medicine made for stomach aches can launch rockets! Students will engineer a paper rocket that launches with Alka-Seltzer and water, and will then investigate how different student designs affect the rocket’s speed and motion.
Time: 2 hours
Cost: $120
NGSS standards met: K-PS2-1, K-PS2-2, 3-PS2-1, 4-PS3-1, 5-PS2-1, 3-5.Engineering Design

Magic Planet

Description: Since it’s difficult to get to the outermost reaches of the solar system to see the planets and their satellites, having a projected three-dimensional model in the classroom is the next best option! Students will take a tour of the solar system using Magic Planet, our digital globe. Students grades 3-5 will then make a model of the solar system using fractions to understand how far away the planets actually are. Grades K-2 will draw a model.
*Earth systems can be added if needed! Students will see fault lines; how earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis form; hurricanes and typhoons; and the effects of air pollution.
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $120
CCSS standards met: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.NF.A.1 NGSS standards met: 5-ESS1-1

On Target Challenge

Description: Lunar landings, Mars rover missions, and many other exploration missions have involved getting a payload to a specific target on a moving celestial body. Students will be challenged to simulate this problem by engineering a paper cup to carry a payload down a zip line to its intended target. Based on testing results, some redesign may occur!
Time: 1 hour
Cost: $140
NGSS standards met: K-PS2-1, K-PS2-2, K-2.Engineering Design, 3-PS2-1, 3-PS2-2, 4-PS3-1, 4-PS3-2, 4-PS3-3, 4-PS3-4, 5-PS2-1, 3-5.Engineering Design

Rovers and More

Description: (Grades 3-5) Rovers are used to scope out new places in the solar system, and have found everything from traces of water to signs of possible ancient life! In order to better understand how rovers move, students will engineer a wind-powered rover and test the effects that different types of terrain have on their design. Students will also design and build a robotic “hand” which works like real-world mission equipment.
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $140
NGSS standards met: 3-PS2-1, 3-PS2-2, 5-PS2-1, 3-5.Engineering Design

Things That Fly

Description: (Grades 1-2) Young learners know that a lot of things can fly, but how do all of these things stay in the air? What do they all have in common? And why can’t humans fly without help? Students will compare different flying objects by building and testing them, and will also examine designs found in nature.
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $120
NGSS standards met: K-PS2-1, K-2.Engineering Design

Middle School (Grades 6-8)

Aircraft Engineers

Description: The challenge: build your own glider! Students will go on a quick tour of the museum to understand how different aircraft designs work for various purposes. Using that background research, along with a lesson on the four forces of flight and aerodynamics, students will then design and engineer the ultimate glider!
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $140
NGSS standards met: MS-PS2-2, MS-PS3-2, MS-PS3-5, MS.Engineering Design

Aqua Rockets

Description: What do the laws of physics have to do with launching rockets filled with water? Students will engineer aqua rockets to learn how gravity and laws of motion are able to propel an object in the air and get it back to the ground. Students will also investigate how different designs change a rocket’s motion and energy.
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $140
NGSS Standards met: MS-PS2-1, MS-PS2-2, MS.Engineering Design

Aviation Art

Description: Airline advertisements have always lured travelers to new places with artwork of beautiful locations. Students will examine the art and advertising in our vintage airline poster collection, while discussing how marketing and artwork have changed over time to accommodate their culture, and then create a poster of the place they would like to visit. Each student's poster will be made into a sticker with help from our graphics department.
Time: 2 hours
Cost: $100
California Visual Arts Standards met: 6th grade: 1.2, 3.2, 5.4; 7th grade: 3.1, 3.2, 4.3; 8th grade: 1.1, 5.3

Engineer Design Challenge

Description: Rovers have been dropped on planets without being damaged --- how is that possible? Students will solve this problem by engineering a space capsule that can protect their LED light ball “rover” with drops at different heights. Limited materials and a budget make this more challenging!
Time: 3 hours
Cost: $120
NGSS Standards met: MS-PS2-1, MS-PS3-1, MS-PS3-2, MS-PS3-5, MS.Engineering Design

International Space Station

Description: Humans have been living on the International Space Station since 2000 and have changed how we conduct science on Earth! In addition to seeing how astronauts are able to work and live in Earth’s orbit through hands-on activities, students will engineer a robotic arm similar to one on the ISS, learn about solar energy by making a solar-powered pinwheel, and examine artifacts that have been to space and back.
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $130
NGSS standards met: MS-PS3-5, MS.Engineering Design

Lots of Bots

Description: Robots aren’t just limited to the big and small screens --- they’re helping humans in real life as well! Students will learn about energy transfer and electricity to engineer three beginner robots both individually and as a team: bristlebots, brushbots, and artbots. After testing, variables will be changed so students can learn why their robot is acting a certain way.
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $140
NGSS standards met: MS-PS2-2, MS-PS3-1, MS-PS3-5, MS.Engineering Design

On Target Challenge

Description: Lunar landings, Mars rover missions, and many other exploration missions have involved getting a payload to a specific target on a moving celestial body. Students will be challenged to simulate this problem by engineering a paper cup to carry a payload down a zip line to its intended target. Based on testing results, some redesign may occur!
Time: 1 hour
Cost: $140
NGSS Standards met: MS-PS3-1, MS-PS3-2, MS-PS3-5, MS.Engineering Design

Propeller Rovers

Description: Physics can be a scary word, but if you combine it with engineering, it makes more sense! Students will design and build rubber band propeller powered rovers to see how potential and kinetic energy work with Newton’s Laws of Motion. Variables can be changed out for redesign so students can see how mass affects how their rovers move.
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $140
NGSS standards met: MS-PS2-1, MS-PS2-2, MS-PS3-1, MS-PS3-5, MS.Engineering Design

Props to You

Description: Propeller designs have been used to power everything from fans to helicopters, and now you can use one for your plane! Students will go on a quick tour of the museum to understand how different aircraft designs and their propellers work for various purposes. Using that background research, along with a lesson on the four forces of flight and aerodynamics, students will then design and engineer the ultimate rubber band propeller plane!
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $200
NGSS standards met: MS-PS2-2, MS-PS3-1, MS-PS3-2, MS-PS3-5, MS.Engineering Design

High School (Grades 9-12)

Aviation Art

Description: Airline advertisements have always lured travelers to new places with artwork of beautiful locations. Students will examine the art and advertising in our vintage airline poster collection, while discussing how marketing and artwork have changed over time to accommodate their culture, and then create a poster of the place they would like to visit. Each student's poster will be made into a sticker with help from our graphics department.
Time: 2 hours
Cost: $100
California Visual Arts Standards met: High School 1.6, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2

Engineer Design Challenge

Description: Rovers have been dropped on planets without being damaged --- how is that possible? Students will solve this problem by engineering a space capsule that can protect their LED light ball “rover” with drops at different heights. Limited materials and a budget make this more challenging!
Time: 3 hours
Cost: $120
NGSS standards met: HS-PS2-1, HS-PS2-3, HS-PS2-4

International Space Station

Description: Humans have been living on the International Space Station since 2000 and have changed how we conduct science on Earth! In addition to seeing how astronauts are able to work and live in Earth’s orbit through hands-on activities, students will engineer a robotic arm similar to one on the ISS, learn about solar energy by making a solar-powered pinwheel, and examine artifacts that have been to space and back.
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $130

Props to You

Description: Propeller designs have been used to power everything from fans to helicopters, and now you can use one for your plane! Students will go on a quick tour of the museum to understand how different aircraft designs and their propellers work for various purposes. Using that background research, along with a lesson on the four forces of flight and aerodynamics, students will then design and engineer the ultimate rubber band propeller plane!
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $200
NGSS standards met: HS-PS2-1

After-School Programs

Awesome Aerodynamics

Description: Four physical forces — lift, gravity, thrust, and drag — keep flying things flying. Will those same forces work on a really odd-looking airplane? Students will engineer paper airplanes that may be unlike anything they have ever seen or built, and they will then conduct an investigation to see if the four forces of flight still work!
Time: 45 minutes
Cost: $100
NGSS standards met: K-PS2-1, K-2.Engineering Design, 3-PS2-1, 4-PS3-1, 5-PS2-1, 3-5.Engineering Design, MS-PS2-2, MS.Engineering Design

Foam and Balsa Gliders

Description: Not every plane needs an engine for it to work well! Students will be designing and building their own gliders to understand how the four forces of flight keep aircraft in the air and flying.
Time: 1.5 hours
Cost: $150
NGSS standards met: 4-PS3-1, 4-PS3-4, 3-5.Engineering Design, MS-PS2-2

International Space Station

Description: Humans have been living on the International Space Station since 2000 and have changed how we conduct science on Earth! In addition to seeing how astronauts are able to work and live in Earth’s orbit through hands-on activities, students will engineer a robotic arm similar to one on the ISS, learn about solar energy by making a solar-powered pinwheel, and examine artifacts that have been to space and back.
Time: 1 hour
Cost: $100
NGSS standards met: K-2.Engineering Design, 4-PS3-2, 4-PS3-4, 3-5.Engineering Design, MS-PS3-5, MS.Engineering Design

Kites

Description: Kites have been used for everything from spying on an enemy to scientific research, but you’ll be making a kite for what it is most often used for --- fun! After students build their kite, they will be testing it to see how wind, air pressure, and even gravity helps it stay in the air.
Time: 1 hour
Cost: $100
NGSS standards met: 3-PS2-1, 4-PS3-1, 5-PS2-1, 3-5.Engineering Design, MS-PS2-2

Paper Rockets

Description: Yes, some rockets can be launched with your mouth! Students will engineer their own paper rockets, complete with fins, and launch them with the help of their breath and a straw to understand Newton’s Laws of Motion and air pressure.
Time: 1 hour
Cost: $100
NGSS standards met: K-PS2-1, K-PS2-2, K-2.Engineering Design, 3-PS2-1, 4-PS3-1, 5-PS2-1, 3-5.Engineering Design, MS-PS2-2

Puff Gliders

Description: They’re called “puff gliders” because you launch them with a puff of air from a straw! Students will engineer their own gliders and fly them using straw launchers to explore the forces acting on a flying object.
Time: 1 hour
Cost: $100
NGSS standards met: 3-PS2-1, 4-PS3-1, 4-PS3-4, 3-5.Engineering Design, MS-PS2-2

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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