AstroCamp and the Next Generation Science Standards

“Making a positive difference in the lives of children by guiding them through unique opportunities for self-discovery through physical sciences and team challenges.”

The Astrocamp Teaching Philosophy above is directly aligned with the core framework used to develop the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS framework places renewed emphasis on student engaging in Scientific and Engineering Practices and recognizing Crosscutting Concepts found in all science disciplines.

Scientific and Engineering Practices

•Asking questions (for science) andNGSS art

defining problems (for engineering)

•Developing and using models

•Planning and carrying out investigations

•Analyzing and interpreting data

•Using mathematics and computational thinking

•Constructing explanations (for science) and

designing solutions (for engineering)

•Engaging in argument from evidence

•Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Crosscutting Concepts


•Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation

•Scale, proportion, and quantity

•Systems and system models

•Energy and matter:  Flows, cycles, and conservation

•Structure and function

•Stability and change

Incorporating NGSS Elements into Astrocamp Courses

Science Classes

Featured NGSS scientific practices and crosscutting concepts used in the science classes include:

●  Developing and using models

●  Constructing explanations and arguing from evidence

●  Carrying out investigations and interpreting data

●  Asking questions and constructing explanations

●  Patterns

●  Energy and Matter: Flows, Cycles and Conservation

●  Scale, Proportion and Quantity

AstroCamp’s Activity Descriptions

Atmosphere and Gasses

With vacuum chambers, dry ice, liquid nitrogen, and explosive gases, Atmosphere and Gases allows students to explore atmospheres throughout the Solar System. In addition, students will use investigations to develop a model for gas involving temperature, pressure, and volume.

Lights and Lasers

Central to our understanding of the world and universe around us, light is an NGSS core disciplinary idea.  Students will explore the nature of light and its current uses in today’s society through the use of hands on demonstrations such as our fluorescent glow wall.

Electricity and Magnetism

Electricity and Magnetism is a fundamental force in our universe. This class emphasizes the development of a model of charge through investigation and exploration. Use of high tech equipment such as the Van de Graaff generator and the Tesla coil will aid in the construction of the model.

Planetary Sciences

NASA has increased its efforts to explore the solar system and we want to encourage students to know what they are looking for.  Conducting investigations and constructing explanations of acid base chemistry, radiation detection, atmospheric wind patterns and Bernoulli’s principle are all featured in the class.

Engineering Classes

Featured NGSS engineering practices and crosscutting concepts used in the engineering classes include:

●  Analyzing and interpreting tests

●  Explaining their design solutions

●  Arguing from evidence

●  Systems and system models

●  Structure and function

●  Cause and Effect: Mechanism and Explanation

Building and Launching Rockets

Build and test your own rocket! A focus on the design of the fins, nose cone, and nozzle help students understand how a rocket works and how alterations in the structure cause changes in flight. Post flight debrief would allow students to analyze their rocket and decide how they would alter their design.

Cosmic Lander

Cosmic Lander challenges students to safely land a water balloon on a simulated planetary surface. Students will build and test a prototype design and then use the data they’ve gathered to redesign and improve their model.

Whirling Windmills

Students get to design windmills that actually produce electricity.  A continuous testing station encourages numerous redesigns to better understand the redesign process and how engineers ultimately come up with their final product.