Recipient of the 2020 NAGC Curriculum Award

The word "astronaut" comes from the Greek words meaning "star sailor," and that is exactly what students will become in Astronaut Academy. This 30-lesson interdisciplinary science unit:

  • Is designed to teach high-ability second and third graders how to think like real-world astronauts.
  • Requires students to explore the far regions of the solar system.
  • Was designed using the research-based Integrated Curriculum Model.
  • Features challenging problem-based learning tasks and engaging resources.
  • Includes detailed teacher instructions and suggestions for differentiation.

In this unit, students study the concept of exploration, journey to each planet, and create their own space station, all while acquiring scientific knowledge and habits, including how to follow the scientific method and properly conduct research and experiments. Suggestions and guidance are included on how teachers can adjust the rigor of learning tasks based on students' interests and needs.

Grades 2-3

chapter |4 pages


chapter Lesson 1|8 pages

Exploring Exploration

chapter Lesson 2|3 pages

If an Astronaut were a Firefighter

chapter Lesson 3|5 pages

NASA Knowledge

chapter Lesson 4|5 pages

Cosmic Cadet Concerns

chapter Lesson 5|5 pages

Light and Lima Beans

chapter Lesson 6|5 pages

Turning Toys Into Scientific Tools

chapter Lesson 7|7 pages

Calisthenics for Cosmic Cadets

chapter Lesson 8|4 pages

Assessing Adaptability

chapter Lesson 9|5 pages

The Four Forces of Flight

chapter Lesson 10|3 pages

Clear Communication and Collaboration

chapter Lesson 11|3 pages

Laying Out a Logo

chapter Lesson 12|5 pages

Shaping a Shuttle

chapter Lesson 13|6 pages

A Day in the Life

chapter Lesson 14|4 pages

Saluting the Sun

chapter Lesson 15|5 pages

The Movement of the Moon

chapter Lesson 16|4 pages

Probing a Planet

chapter Lesson 17|4 pages

Meandering to Mercury

chapter Lesson 18|4 pages

Visiting Venus

chapter Lesson 19|4 pages

Mission to Mars

chapter Lesson 20|4 pages

Journeying to Jupiter

chapter Lesson 21|4 pages

Going Old School

chapter Lesson 22|4 pages

The Buried Button

chapter Lesson 23|4 pages

Sailing to the Seventh Planet

chapter Lesson 24|4 pages

Navigating to Neptune

chapter Lesson 25|4 pages

Pleading for Pluto's Position as a Planet

chapter Lesson 26|4 pages

Thinking About Home

chapter Lesson 27|3 pages

Designing a Dome

chapter Lesson 28|5 pages

Welcome Back!

chapter Lesson 29|4 pages

Time to Review

chapter Lesson 30|5 pages

A Solar System Sign-Off