Shows for school groups, scouting groups, etc. Check back often, we add new shows regularly.
Show information or scheduling shows for groups: Astronomer Mark Fairclough: 517.265.5161 EXT 4788 firstname.lastname@example.org
For all other information contact the Planetarium Director: Dr. Sarah Hanson: 517.264.3944 email@example.com
Option 1 – Live show
Live shows can utilize any of the technology in the planetarium and can include, but are not limited to, topics such as seasons, stars, constellations, planets, galaxies, black holes etc. The shows can be modified to fit the K-12 standards you wish to address.
Option 2 – Pre-recorded Fulldome show
These fulldome masterpieces focus on a variety of specific topics that are listed below. This option can be combined with a short live show at the beginning. The grade range given for each the shows are our recommendations based on the show’s content. However, we are flexible if you wish to schedule a show for a different age group.
Earth, Sun and Moon
Grades K - 6
This fulldome show explores the relationship between the Earth, Moon and Sun with the help of Coyote, an amusing character adapted from Native American oral traditions who has many misconceptions about our home planet and its most familiar neighbors. His confusion about the universe makes viewers think about how the Earth, Moon and Sun work together as a system. Native American stories are used throughout the show to help distinguish between myths and science. Learn why the Sun rises and sets and the basics of fusion and solar energy. Examine the Moon’s orbit, craters, phases and eclipses. The show explores past and future space travel to our Moon and beyond. Produced by UNC Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.
Grades 3 and above
Have you ever imagined yourself a cattle rancher in the wild west where the canopy of stars at night seems endless? Learn about the wonders of the night sky in this fulldome show from the perspective of a cowboy astronomer as he shares facts and lore that he has accumulated from a lifetime on the ranch. The pre-recorded soundtrack for the show is narrated by cowboy humorist Baxter Black. Produced by Loch Ness Productions.
Grades 3 and above
Discover the science of flight through the eyes of a young girl and her grandfather as they explore how birds, kites, planes, and models fly. Learn about the history and future of flight and how NASA is discovering new and safer ways to travel with the help of future engineers and aviators—like you!
Grades 5 and above
Cosmic Colors is a fulldome show that will take you on a wondrous journey across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Discover the many reasons for color—like why the sky is blue and why Mars is red. Take a tour within a plant leaf and journey inside the human eye. Investigate X-rays by voyaging to a monstrous black hole and then back at your doctor’s office. You will even see the actual color of a dinosaur—based on recent evidence. Get ready for an amazing adventure under a rainbow of cosmic light! Produced by the Great Lakes Planetarium Association.
Origins of Life
Grades 5 and above
Origins of Life will take you on an inspirational journey through time beginning with the Big Bang and continuing through the formation of the Universe, stars and solar systems, the first life on Earth, and the great extinctions. The journey ends with a discussion of our search for life beyond planet Earth. This celebration of life on Earth features many recent discoveries related to life science, demonstrating that if there was ever a time that science made its greatest advances, it’s right now! Produced by Mirage 3D.
Two Small Pieces of Glass
Grades 7 and above
While at a local star party, two teenage students learn from an astronomer about the history of telescopes, the nature of light and how telescopes work, as well how these instruments have allowed us to expand our understanding of the Solar System and beyond. This fulldome show allows you to travel in time and space, visiting Galileo and Newton as they make their historic discoveries. Join the students as they explore the astronomical wonders such as the Galilean Moons, Saturn’s rings, and the spiral structure of galaxies. Distributed by the International Planetarium Society.
IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System
Grades 7 and above
IBEX: Search for the Edge of the Solar System is a fulldome program that follows the scientists and engineers that developed NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX). Narrated by two inquisitive teenagers, this show follows the scientists as they investigate the Solar System and learn how collecting high-speed atoms has allowed IBEX to create a map of our Solar System’s boundary. This show illustrates the challenges of space science and how scientific research has led to our understanding of the Universe. Produced by Alder Planetarium.
Grades 2 and above
The Dinosaur Prophecy will take you back to a time when the world was a very different place and dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Digitally recreated dinosaurs such as the Coelophysis, Allosaurus, the feathered Sinornithosaurus, T. rex and Triceratops will seem to come to life on the planetarium dome. You will learn how scientists use dinosaur bones and tracks to determine how they lived and died. Their work shows that many of the dinosaurs simply disappeared whereas the remainder roamed the planet until the massive extinction 65 million years ago. This adventure into how dinosaurs survived and thrived until the final extinction 65 million years ago is sure to be a favorite for the entire family. This program was a co-produced by the Rice Space Institute and the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
Trip Through Space
Trip Through Space takes an exciting tour through the Solar System and beyond. This cursory look at the night sky covers several constellations that can be observed during the Winter months, the Solar System, stars, nebulae, galaxies and more. Produced by Full Dome FX and purchased with a generous educational grant from the Meemic Foundation.
Forces of Nature
Get up close and personal to nature’s most powerful and extreme forces. Cameras capture erupting volcanoes, devastating earthquakes, and powerful storms as a team of scientists travel the world in an attempt to figure out what causes these dangerous, yet undeniably thrilling natural occurrences. Putting their lives on the line in the name of scientific discovery, these experts forge their way through volcanic flows, along treacherous fault lines, and in cars heading straight into a raging tornado. Produced by Graphic Films and National Geographic. Prerecorded soundtrack narrated by Kevin Bacon. Fulldome and digital planetarium conversion by Evans & Sutherland.
Discover the wonders of our Sun and how its incredible energy has supported life on Earth for millennia. Although this energy is essential for life, that same energy sometimes causes disruptions to the technology that we rely on in our daily lives. Travel to the distant future to discover our Sun’s connection to the universe’s cosmic cycle of life and death. Produced by the Michigan Science Center.
From Earth to Universe
This inspiring journey will reveal the splendor of our Solar System as well as the ferocity of our scorching Sun. Continue out to the birthplaces and burial grounds of stars and beyond the Milky Way to the unimaginable immensity of a myriad of galaxies. Along the way, you will learn about the history of astronomy, the invention of the telescope, and today’s giant telescopes that allow us continue to probe ever deeper into the Universe. Produced by the European Southern Observatory (ESO).
Follow the Drinking Gourd
This planetarium show is based on the children’s book, Follow the Drinking Gourd, by Jeanette Winter. During the show, you will take a virtual journey back in time to learn how the constellations helped escaped slaves find their way to freedom using the Underground Railroad. This program is shown annually in honor of African-American History Month (February), but can be scheduled at any time for special groups.
Season of Light
Season of Light is our winter holiday show. It traces the history and development of many of the world’s most endearing holiday customs through an astronomical perspective, all of which involve lighting up the winter season. It recounts the religious and cultural rituals practiced during the time of winter solstice — not only Christian and Jewish, but also Celtic, Nordic, Roman, Irish, Mexican and Hopi. It also takes a look at some of our more light-hearted seasonal traditions such as gift-giving and kissing, music, decking the halls with greenery and Santa Claus. Produced by Loch Ness Productions.
The Dark Matter Mystery
Grade 9 and above
What keeps galaxies together? What are the building blocks of the Universe? What makes the Universe look the way it does today? These questions and more are encompassed in the greatest quest of contemporary astrophysics – to determine what dark matter is and how to detect it. This Fulldome program explores the evolution of the Universe as well as current research on dark matter. Produced by LaupheimPlanetarium, Germany.
The Hot and Energetic Universe
Grades 7 and above
This Fulldome show explores the achievements of modern terrestrial and orbital observatories and looks at electromagnetic radiation in the Universe. Learn what high energy radiation tells us about our own galaxy and how neutron stars, supernova remnants, and even stars like our Sun can make our galaxy an inhospitable and violent place. Produced by Integrated Activities in the High-Energy Astrophysics Domain (AHEAD), a project funded by the European Commission.
More Information for Teachers
See Teacher Resources for K-12 benchmarks and downloadable pre-and post- visit activities.