Adapt NASA resources in innovative ways to better suit your local audience.

NASA’s Universe of Learning collaborates with the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) and Smithsonian Affiliations to develop and test sustainable models of innovative STEM learning for informal learning institutions. To establish the Informal Learning Network this partnership created and implemented professional development experiences with the informal education community. These experiences draw on science directly from NASA Astrophysics, and continue to support informal education institutions in developing innovative STEM learning models. Recordings of these professional development webinars are available here.

As a result of this professional development experience, over 40 informal learning institutions from across the U.S. have developed and tested program models for their audiences, utilizing NASA Astrophysics resources in their efforts to make STEM learning more accessible and engaging. These program models include but are not limited to: one day science festivals and events; year long after school programs for teens; STEAM programming for early learners. 

The informal learning institutions are working to share their program models with the wider informal learning community. Their resulting program models are collected here for other informal learning sites to download and adapt for their local audiences.These resources are free to use and may be adjusted in any way desired.

To enhance and broaden the portfolio of astrophysics learning assets the Informal Learning Network is expanding support for communities traditionally underserved in STEM and STEAM programming. Members of the network are now leaders within their communities, spearheading regional networks that help to increase the community of organizations participating in NASA's Universe of Learning. Through this co-creation and inclusion of broader perspectives the network hopes to achieve impactful astrophysics programming that is innovative, inclusive, accessible, and relevant to broader audiences.

Man looking through a telescope inside an astronomical observatory dome
Student hands with pencils on a black paper
A group of girls posing together
Children posing together with a teacher outside
Two teenage girls working together with tools


After School Programming: Intro to Astronomy: Pinhead Institute

At the Pinhead institute, an introduction to astronomy was incorporated into a variety of after-school programs, including a weekly two-hour after-school program for participants in third through sixth grade.

Tactile Explorations of Extrasolar Objects: Science Central

This tabletop activity by Science Central uses 3D printed representations of objects beyond the Solar System to give participants a sense of the scale of extrasolar objects and allow participants with low vision or tactile learning styles to have the opportunity to learn more about astronomy.