Nothing brings a STEAM lesson to life quite like a field trip to a space museum. Students light up at the sight of space artifacts, real-life spacecraft, or a dazzling planetarium display.
If you can’t make the trip to a space museum, there are ways to bring the space museum to you! Some of the world’s finest exhibits and interactive STEAM activities are now available through virtual tours and field trips. This list includes virtual field trips with live real-time interaction as well as self-guided experiences and video tours. There are options for every grade level and budget.
8 Space Virtual Field Trips for Students
1. Space Foundation Discovery Center Virtual Field Trips
Space Foundation Discovery Center offers interactive virtual field trips for students of all ages. Students can tour the solar system with Science On a Sphere® and learn about rocketry, engineering, robotics, weather or Mars exploration. Sessions are led by a Space Education Specialist and include a hands-on STEAM activity.
The museum also offers a virtual version of its popular Mars Robotic Laboratory. Students can program and operate LEGO EV3® robots to complete mission objectives on a simulated Martian terrain!
Scholarships are available. See field trip program options and schedule here.
2. NASA Goddard Space Flight Visitor Center Virtual Field Trips
The NASA Goddard Space Flight Visitor Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, offers free virtual field trip programs for student groups. Each interactive program includes a 45-minute live virtual session with an informal educator, plus a list of online resources. Available topics include living and working on the International Space Station, how to build a satellite, and an overview of NASA Goddard’s science missions.
See available programs and schedule a time here.
3. International Space Station Virtual Tour
Here’s a virtual field trip that’s literally out of this world! Join NASA astronaut Sunita Williams for an extensive tour of the International Space Station’s orbital laboratory. Students can see where astronauts sleep, work and exercise, and explore each of the station’s modules and research facilities.
4. American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) “Hall of Planet Earth” Virtual Field Trip
Designed for grades 6-8, this virtual field trip to the AMNH Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth allows students to uncover the role of plate tectonics in the formation of Earth’s oceans, continents and mountains. Students use Google Arts and Culture to virtually tour the Hall and see exhibits up-close, then complete a provided activity to gain deeper scientific understanding. The virtual field trip can be customized to fit one class period, or extended over two or more class periods with additional activities from the downloadable Teacher’s Guide.
Get the resources and start the tour here.
5. Boeing & Discovery Education “Innovating the Future” Virtual Field Trip
Students get a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in this inspirational virtual field trip from Boeing and Discovery Education. They’ll virtually meet Boeing team members who are writing the next chapter of space history with the launch of the Starliner/CST-100 spacecraft and the deployment of the Space Launch System (SLS). Students will also be exposed to career possibilities in STEAM and aerospace. An included Companion Educator Guide provides a standards-aligned activity designed to explore key concepts in aerospace and engineering.
Get the resources and start the field trip here.
6. Access Mars
Take a virtual field trip to The Red Planet! This extraordinary 360-degree experience presented by Google allows students to navigate the surface of Mars as recorded by NASA’s Curiosity rover. Along the way, they’ll visit different mission sites and learn about the Curiosity mission.
7. The Museum of Flight Virtual Programming
With over 175 aircraft and spacecraft, thousands of artifacts and dozens of exhibits, The Museum of Flight in Seattle is one of the largest air and space museums in the world. They also offer a galaxy of virtual programming for students K–12. Choose from virtual space missions, virtual interactive museum tours, digital planetarium programs, and more. Most of The Museum of Flight’s virtual programming is led by their professional educators, with some teacher-guided options. Financial assistance may be available for qualifying groups.
Explore virtual remote programs here.
8. Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum
This world-famous museum offers several interactive virtual experiences for school groups. Options include virtual museum tours with a youth docent, virtual storytimes, virtual planetarium shows, virtual science demonstrations, their popular virtual scavenger hunts and more. They also offer self-guided and teacher-guided options. Their Anytime Expeditions deliver on-demand classroom content for teachers, including content guides and hands-on activities.
See available virtual programming here.