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Family ASTRO Games & Kits

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Stars-Planets-Life Leader Guide

A supplemental Leader Guide for Family ASTRO Event Leaders

The activities in this guide can either be used to expand the other kits in the Family ASTRO series, if you need more activities for your events, or you can take activities from it (and our other guides) to arrange your own introduction to the kinds of research astronomers do. Activities include “Star Stages,” “The Saturn Project,” “Exploring New Worlds,” “Is It Alive?”, and “Invent an Alien.”

Contents: Leader Guide (includes all event handout masters and training videos).

You may also be interested in purchasing the first four kits in the series, which includes Night Sky Adventure, Race to the Planets, Moon Mission and Cosmic Decoders, which are available as Leader Kits and Take-Home games (see recommended products below).


About Family ASTRO

Family ASTRO, a national astronomy education program of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, helps educators of all types share the excitement of exploring our universe. With funding from the National Science Foundation and the help of astronomers, educators, parents, kids, and game designers, we have put together a number of hands-on activities, thought-provoking discussions, and fun games that let everyone get involved in astronomy.

At the heart of Family ASTRO is our series of Leader Kits that allow you to lead many fun and educational Astronomy Events for families, afterschool programs and clubs, and youth groups in your community (e.g, boys’ and girls’ clubs, Girl and Boy Scouts, park and recreation programs, etc.).

For hands-on Family ASTRO training, educators may be able to attend a workshop at one of our participating Regional Sites. Visit the Family ASTRO web site to see if there is an official location near you: https://www.astrosociety.org/education/family/sites/sites.html

Price: $8.00

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Race to the Planets Take-Home Game – Revised Edition

This exciting game for the whole family encourages exploration of the many intriguing worlds in our solar system. Players have fun getting to know the best “tourist” sights on each planet. Use the “secret decoder” to check your answers and collect as many planets as you can as you race family members or friends from Mercury to Pluto. (Updated 2004.) 4th grade and up.

For even more fun, take part in a Family ASTRO event. Visit the Family ASTRO web site to see if there is an official location near you: https://www.astrosociety.org/education/family/sites/sites.html

Price: $15.95

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Race to the Planets Leader Kit

Get ready to take a hands-on tour of the solar system!

In the last few decades, our robot spacecraft have visited many of the planets and moons with which we share our cosmic neighborhood. In a Race to the Planets event, your group will get to know the Sun’s family of planets more intimately with these activities:

  • “Worlds in Comparison” — How big is Jupiter compared to the Earth? Your event participants will know as they develop an understanding of the relative sizes of the planets in our solar system.
  • “Toilet Paper Solar System” & “Scaling New Worlds” — Having permission to roll out toilet paper (to indicate the relative distances of planets) leaves a real impression on a child’s mind!
  • Celebrate your favorite planet with “A Flag for Your Planet” an arts & crafts activity that requires a bit of solar system knowledge.
  • “Surfing the Solar System” is an optional web-based solar system “treasure hunt” game that everyone will enjoy.
  • “Planet Bottles” compares each planets “gravitational pull.”
  • “Your Weight on Other Worlds” — Would you weigh more on Saturn than you do on Earth? Find out with some simple math.

Contents: Leader Guide (includes all event handout masters, training videos and playdough recipe), Planet Stickers, Planet Guide Cards, National Audubon Society Pocket Guide: Planets and Their Moons and Sample Take-Home Game.

Event handouts and game instructions are also available in Spanish. Contact Customer Service.

You may also be interested in purchasing the Take-Home game Race to the Planets. Other kits in the series include Night Sky Adventure, Moon Mission, and Cosmic Decoders available as Leader Kits and Take-Home games (see recommended products below).


About Family ASTRO

Family ASTRO, a national astronomy education program of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, helps educators of all types share the excitement of exploring our universe. With funding from the National Science Foundation and the help of astronomers, educators, parents, kids, and game designers, we have put together a number of hands-on activities, thought-provoking discussions, and fun games that let everyone get involved in astronomy.

At the heart of Family ASTRO is our series of Leader Kits that allow you to lead many fun and educational Astronomy Events for families, afterschool programs and clubs, and youth groups in your community (e.g, boys’ and girls’ clubs, Girl and Boy Scouts, park and recreation programs, etc.).

For hands-on Family ASTRO training, educators may be able to attend a workshop at one of our participating Regional Sites. Visit the Family ASTRO web site to see if there is an official location near you: https://www.astrosociety.org/education/family/sites/sites.html

Price: $39.00

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Night Sky Adventure Take-Home Kit (Spanish version)

(For a description in English see Night Sky Adventure Kit, English version.)

Paquete Family ASTRO de Aventura en el Cielo Nocturno

Conozca las estrellas brillantes y las constelaciones de cada estación con Aventura en el Cielo Nocturno. ¡No necesita saber astronomía!

Planee una noche familiar y experimente las maravillas de los cielos. Aventura en el Cielo Nocturno es la primera actividad familiar para la casa de Family ASTRO y ahora tiene un diseño nuevo e incluye las siguientes actividades divertidas para toda la familia:

  • Una Búsqueda de Tesoros Celestes es una introducción muy simple y paso a paso acerca del cielo nocturno.
  • Haciendo un Buscador de Estrellas para Familias le permite a su familia construir su propio planisferio a gran escala para aumentar el tiempo nocturno de búsqueda de “tesoros”.
  • ¿Quien se merece un lugar en el cielo? Decida en su propia familia con Heroes del Cielo, un mapa borrable diseñado para que usted cree sus propias constelaciones.
  • ¿Puede aprenderse las constelaciones y hornearlas al mismo tiempo? Ahora usted puede hacerlo con Galletas de Constelaciones, dos recetas fáciles para el disfrute de todos.

Para más diversión, participe en un evento de Family ASTRO. Visite la página de Internet de Family ASTRO para saber si hay un lugar oficial cerca de usted: https://www.astrosociety.org/education/family/sites/sites.html

Price: $19.95

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Night Sky Adventure Take-Home Kit

Get to know the bright stars and constellations of each season with the Night Sky Adventure. No background in astronomy needed!

Plan some family nights at home and under the stars and experience the wonders of the heavens. Night Sky Adventure, is a kit of take-home activities from Family ASTRO, a national program at the ASP. It includes the following fun projects for the entire family:

  • A Celestial Treasure Hunt is a book of simple step-by-step introductions to the night sky for each season, using familiar “sign posts” to get you oriented.
  • Making a Family Starfinder allows your family to build its own large format planisphere (star-finding wheel) for more nighttime “treasure” hunting.
  • Who deserves a place in the sky? Decide for your own family with Sky Heroes, an erasable placemat designed for you to create your own constellations.
  • Can you learn constellations and bake at the same time? Now you can, with Constellation Cookies, two easy recipes for all to enjoy.

This product is also available in a Spanish version (see recommended products below).

For even more fun, take part in a Family ASTRO event. Visit the Family ASTRO web site to see if there is an official location near you: https://www.astrosociety.org/education/family/sites/sites.html

Price: $19.95

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Night Sky Adventure Leader Kit – Spanish Language Version

Get to know the bright stars and constellations of each season!

A step-by-step introduction to the night sky, the Night Sky Adventure Leader Kit is full of activities and information to help explorers of all ages enjoy the night sky together. Each Family ASTRO Leader Kit below allows you to lead at least two 90-minute Astronomy Events and includes these unique adventures:

  • “Seeing in the Dark” — For the best viewing, learn why it’s important to let your eyes adjust to the nighttime darkness.
  • “Constellation Detective” — Can you find well-known constellations under the dark night sky of the Sahara Desert? It’s not so easy!
  • With “Sky Heroes,” your event participants decide who deserves a place in the night sky.
  • “Making a Family Starfinder” allows everyone to build their own planisphere (star-finding wheel) for easier nighttime “treasure” hunting.
  • With the “Big Dipper Star Clock,” you’ll always know what time it is at night (if the skies are clear!).
  • “Celestial Treasure Hunt” — This booklet-style illustrated guided tour comes with each Night Sky Adventure Take-Home kit, and in this activity you help teach your participants how to use it.

We also feature the Night Sky Adventure kit with an English-version Leader Kit and the corresponding English-version Take-Home kit (see recommended products below).

Contents: Leader Guide (includes all event handout masters/training videos), Eye Patches & Sewing Needles (for “Seeing in the Dark”), Cardinal Directions Master, Compass, National Audubon Society First Field Guide: Night Sky and Sample Take-Home Kit (tab enclosed folder with 94 page activity booklet, starfinder-making kit w/ instructions, 2 cookie recipes, erasable placemat, & red balloon to cover flashlight).

You may also be interested in purchasing the Take-Home kit, Night Sky Adventure. Other kits in the series include Race to the Planets, Moon Mission, and Cosmic Decoders available as Leader Kits and Take-Home games (see recommended products below).


About Family ASTRO

Family ASTRO, a national astronomy education program of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, helps educators of all types share the excitement of exploring our universe. With funding from the National Science Foundation and the help of astronomers, educators, parents, kids, and game designers, we have put together a number of hands-on activities, thought-provoking discussions, and fun games that let everyone get involved in astronomy.

At the heart of Family ASTRO is our series of Leader Kits that allow you to lead many fun and educational Astronomy Events for families, afterschool programs and clubs, and youth groups in your community (e.g, boys’ and girls’ clubs, Girl and Boy Scouts, park and recreation programs, etc.).

For hands-on Family ASTRO training, educators may be able to attend a workshop at one of our participating Regional Sites. Visit the Family ASTRO web site to see if there is an official location near you: https://www.astrosociety.org/education/family/sites/sites.html

Price: $39.00

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Night Sky Adventure Leader Kit

Get to know the bright stars and constellations of each season!

A step-by-step introduction to the night sky, the Night Sky Adventure Leader Kit is full of activities and information to help explorers of all ages enjoy the night sky together. Each Family ASTRO Leader Kit below allows you to lead at least two 90-minute Astronomy Events and includes these unique adventures:

  • “Seeing in the Dark”  — For the best viewing, learn why it’s important to let your eyes adjust to the nighttime darkness.
  • “Constellation Detective” — Can you find well-known constellations under the dark night sky of the Sahara Desert? It’s not so easy!
  • With “Sky Heroes,” your event participants decide who deserves a place in the night sky.
  • “Making a Family Starfinder” allows everyone to build their own planisphere (star-finding wheel) for easier nighttime “treasure” hunting.
  • With the “Big Dipper Star Clock,” you’ll always know what time it is at night (if the skies are clear!).
  • “Celestial Treasure Hunt” — This booklet-style illustrated guided tour comes with each Night Sky Adventure Take-Home kit, and in this activity you help teach your participants how to use it.

We also feature the Night Sky Adventure kit with a Spanish-version Leader Kit and the corresponding Spanish-version Take-Home kit (see recommended products below).

Contents: Leader Guide (includes all event handout masters/training videos), Eye Patches & Sewing Needles (for “Seeing in the Dark”), Cardinal Directions Master, Compass, National Audubon Society First Field Guide: Night Sky and Sample Take-Home Kit (tab enclosed folder with 94 page activity booklet, starfinder-making kit w/ instructions, 2 cookie recipes, erasable placemat, & red balloon to cover flashlight).

You may also be interested in purchasing the Take-Home kit, Night Sky Adventure. Other kits in the series include Race to the Planets, Moon Mission, and Cosmic Decoders available as Leader Kits and Take-Home games (see recommended products below).


About Family ASTRO

Family ASTRO, a national astronomy education program of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, helps educators of all types share the excitement of exploring our universe. With funding from the National Science Foundation and the help of astronomers, educators, parents, kids, and game designers, we have put together a number of hands-on activities, thought-provoking discussions, and fun games that let everyone get involved in astronomy.

At the heart of Family ASTRO is our series of Leader Kits that allow you to lead many fun and educational Astronomy Events for families, afterschool programs and clubs, and youth groups in your community (e.g, boys’ and girls’ clubs, Girl and Boy Scouts, park and recreation programs, etc.).

For hands-on Family ASTRO training, educators may be able to attend a workshop at one of our participating Regional Sites. Visit the Family ASTRO web site to see if there is an official location near you: https://www.astrosociety.org/education/family/sites/sites.html

Price: $39.00

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Moon Mission Take-Home Game

Learn about conditions on the Moon and teach your children teamwork with this cooperative family board game from Family ASTRO, our national program for family activities at the ASP.

Race against time in an effort to retrieve damaged instruments scattered across the lunar landscape. Players must work together to accomplish their mission and get everyone safely back to Grimaldi Moon Base before the long lunar night falls (day and night on the Moon each last about 15 Earth days). Success depends on players developing a joint strategy, understanding conditions on the Moon, and a bit of luck.

Developed by astronomy educators, the playing board is a photomap of the Moon’s surface and the cards help acquaint players with what it’s like on our neighbor world. For 2-4 players. Ages 8 to adult.

For even more fun, take part in a Family ASTRO event. Visit the Family ASTRO web site to see if there is an official location near you: https://www.astrosociety.org/education/family/sites/sites.html

Price: $19.95

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Moon Mission Leader Kit

Come explore the Moon in legend & folktale, and as a world with conditions very different from our own!

The Moon is the one place beyond Earth that human beings have actually visited in person. Our Moon Mission activities will help your event participants learn that the Moon is more than just a bright object in the sky:

  • Explore the Moon in legend and folktale with “Toad in the Moon”
  • Understand why the Moon looks different during the course of the month with “Our Changing Moon”
  • “Sizing Up the Moon” lets everyone compare the relative sizes of the Earth and Moon, and surprises most people when they find out how far away the Moon is from Earth.
  • “Moon Jump” is a great way to get bouncing kids to do some math!
  • In “Crash Landing!,” everyone gets to think about surviving in an alien environment.

Contents: Leader Guide (includes all event handout masters/training videos), 20 Moon Balls, Moon Transparencies (for “Our Changing Moon”), Powdered Chalk (for “Moon Jump”), Getting Started in Astronomy Guide (with Moon Map) and Sample Take-Home Game.

Full Leader Guide and game instructions are also available in Spanish. Contact Customer Service.

You may also be interested in purchasing the Take-Home game Moon Mission. Other kits in the series include Night Sky Adventure, Race to the Planets, and Cosmic Decoders available as Leader Kits and Take-Home games.


About Family ASTRO

Family ASTRO, a national astronomy education program of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, helps educators of all types share the excitement of exploring our universe. With funding from the National Science Foundation and the help of astronomers, educators, parents, kids, and game designers, we have put together a number of hands-on activities, thought-provoking discussions, and fun games that let everyone get involved in astronomy.

At the heart of Family ASTRO is our series of Leader Kits that allow you to lead many fun and educational Astronomy Events for families, afterschool programs and clubs, and youth groups in your community (e.g, boys’ and girls’ clubs, Girl and Boy Scouts, park and recreation programs, etc.).

For hands-on Family ASTRO training, educators may be able to attend a workshop at one of our participating Regional Sites. Visit the Family ASTRO web site to see if there is an official location near you: https://www.astrosociety.org/education/family/sites/sites.html

Price: $39.00

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Cosmic Decoders Take-Home Game

Play four games in one with the new Cosmic Decoders card set from the Society’s national family astronomy project, and learn some exciting science along the way!

Cosmic Decoders, the take-home activity from Family ASTRO, features a deck of 72 cards with beautiful color images of cosmic objects from the Hubble Space Telescope and other major telescopes in space and around the world.

Plan a family night and share the fun of these unique astronomical games:

Build A Galaxy: Be the first to build your own galaxy by adding the right kinds of star clusters and nebulae to your Galaxy Builder Card! A second version lets players win by cooperating with another member of their family to form an alliance of linked galaxies.

Telescope Trouble: Uncover new “Deep Space Objects” and match their characteristics to the last object played. First person to lay down all their cards wins, but watch out for the telescope cards that spell trouble!

Distance Derby: Add as many cards as possible to your own “observing list” of Deep Space Objects. Win by paying attention to how far away from Earth the objects on your cards are.

Galactic Gobble: This game is similar to War, where players turn over cards simultaneously and the player with the larger objects “gobbles up” smaller ones.

For even more fun, visit the official Cosmic Decoders web site at: https://www.astrosociety.org/education/family/resources/decoders.html

Take part in a Family ASTRO event. Visit the Family ASTRO web site to see if there is an official location near you: https://www.astrosociety.org/education/family/sites/sites.html

Price: $12.95

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