Kopernik Observatory & Science Center in Vestal, New York functions as a regional center for Earth Science, Astronomy, and Physical Science studies. The site includes 4 science labs, a nature area, and 3 major observatories with professional telescopes. All programs involve students in the science inquiry process and help students ”think and work as scientists”. Particular emphasis is placed on skills in measurement, journaling, observation, prediction, experimentation, use of science tools, and formulating questions.
All Kopernik programs meet the New York State and Pennsylvania State standards for Math, Science and Technology.
School Program Cost:
The basic program cost is $250 for each group of up to 25 students for up to two hours of instruction. Special expanded programs or smaller groups can be arranged by calling Kopernik at 607-748-3685.
Exploring the Sun gives students a chance to experiment with Kopernik’s solar powered machines and solar cell technology. In addition, Kopernik is equipped with sun filters on our telescopes to learn first hand about the sun. On cloudy days we can observe the sun live, on line from the SOHO observatory.
Space Exploration is fun and informative with activities in Astronaut life on the International Space Station. How does it feel to lift off in a rocket? What does Space Food taste like? How can people survive a long trip in space? Our activities will give students opportunities to learn these things and encourage them to find solutions to our Space Travel difficulties.
What is an Observatory (Grades: K-12)
This course introduces students to astronomy, including activities in understanding lenses and mirrors with an emphasis on refracting and reflecting telescopes. Students experiment with light as they explore the Electromagnetic Spectrum.
Standards include: Using the tools of the scientist such as simulators, telescopes, mirrors, lenses to observe and analyze phenomena, then predict outcomes.
Primary Level Astronomy (Grades 1-3)
Students learn about astronaut life on the International Space Station. How does it feel to lift off in a rocket? What does Space Food taste like? Students touch, measure and observe real rocks from space, using process skills, observing through a telescope.
Solar Exploration (Grades 1-12)
This class offers students an opportunity to experiment with solar cell technology. Kopernik is equipped with SOLAR telescopes to learn first hand about the Sun’s activity. This program includes a Light show demonstration. Standards: Engineering skills such as building models, testing and analyzing results.
The Solar System (Grades 3-8)
Using the latest information from NASA’s Missions, students will explore the planets. Travel to Jupiter, Saturn or Mars with our night sky simulator. Model the Solar System’s distances. If clear, safely view the sun through Kopernik’s Solar telescopes. Standards: Math and science skills such as using scale models to determine comparative sizes of planets.
Comets and Asteroids (Grades 3-12)
This class is an exciting introduction to Near-Earth Objects. Create a dry-ice Comet! Students explore meteorites and their properties in a hands on laboratory. Earth Science Lab provides opportunities for cratering experiments. Standards: measuring, analysis of real meteorites. Use process skills to collect, observe and compare.
Earth Investigations gives students an opportunity to explore Kopernik’s vast Rock and Mineral collection to Investigate the Rock Cycle. Students can simulate the the devastation after a storm with our Erosion simulation stream tables. Standards: using modeling and process skills to analyze and interpret an event.
Violent Weather teaches vital information on how to protect yourself and your family from violent storms. Kopernik’s Tornado Simulation Lab is very exciting for all ages. Students will go outside, measure the weather conditions, and forecast the weather.
Volcanoes and Earthquakes teaches students about the natural movement of the Earth’s Crust through Volcano eruption simulations and Earthquake simulations in our Earth Science Laboratory. Kopernik’s collections of Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic rocks are great for hands – on classification activities.
Grades 3 – 8
Earth Investigations gives students an opportunity to Explore Kopernik’s vast Rock and Mineral collection to investigate the Rock Cycle. Students can simulate the devastation after a storm with our Erosion simulation stream tables.
Properties of Matter compares and contrasts Solids, Liquids, and Gases in such a way that students are actively engaged in the processes of observing, measuring, and testing materials. Kopernik has some really unusual materials to test which provide unexpected results.
Astro-Photography is recommended for those who have Photography experience and want to photograph the night sky phenomena.
Model Rocketry gives you a chance to build your own model Rocket and launch it here at Kopernik!
Digital Photography gives you and your family an opportunity to experiment with digital imaging. We have friendly, easy–to–use cameras and computers.