What is the best way to get today’s young explorers interested in learning about space and discovery? By making it fun! That is a key part of the success of NASA Kids’ Club, an award-winning website designed for children in grades K-4 to help them navigate the wonders of exploration.
NASA designed the website more than a decade ago to engage young learners using space-related content, information and activities that are safe, educational and fun. In addition to the reliable, fact-based information provided, visitors to the site can play games, do puzzles and answer trivia questions, all while learning the basic tenets of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
Interactive features are packaged into five progressive skill set levels, allowing for both challenges and successes that keep the audience wanting more. At Level 1, students use observational skills to solve puzzles and challenges. By Level 5, they are learning about the planets in our solar system and what properties make each unique.
There are modules on Orion, NASA’s next-generation spacecraft that will take astronauts farther than ever before: airplanes and flight; stars and how their brightness and temperature vary; the components that make up a rocket. New activities are featured on a weekly basis.
NASA Kids’ Club has something for everyone, whether you’re a kid or just a kid at heart. Now in Space is a regular feature that highlights the current Expedition crew living and working aboard the International Space Station, 250 miles above Earth.
From virtual to historical
In March 2015, American astronaut Scott Kelly began a yearlong stay on the space station. That has never been done before, and the agency is hoping to gain valuable insight on the effects of long-duration spaceflight on humans. This will be essential as NASA prepares to send future crews to Mars and other destinations in our solar system.
By taking young students along on these virtual journeys, NASA hopes to spark their interest in exploration and inspire them to pursue STEM studies, and eventually STEM careers. They are America’s next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers—and the beginning of their journey of discovery is just one click away.