Gateway Science Museum

Kit List

Kits developed and distributed by NISE

Use the kit numbers below when filling out your checkout form and follow the links for more information on each kit!

Exploring Earth

rising sea kit

Kit #1

Bear's Shadow(opens in new window)

A hands-on activity designed primarily for young visitors and their families. Participants move a flashlight around an object to make and experiment with shadows. The activity can be connected to a storybook about a little bear exploring his own shadow, and also has connections to the geometry of a solar eclipse as the Moon and Sun cast a shadow onto Earth.


Kit #3

Rising Sea

A hands-on activity demonstrating ways to use topographical mapping techniques to track changes in sea level.The activity is connected to current NASA research. Together, participants and facilitators can discuss the effects of rising sea. 


Kit #10

Paper Mountains(opens in new window)

Participants explore the way the shape of the land and the pull of gravity influence how water moves over Earth. By making unique mountain models from crumpled paper and watching how water moves across them, participants can act as Earth scientists, using their observations to make predictions about the future of our planet.

Exploring Science Practices

early exploration kit

Kit #26

Early Exploration(opens in new window)

This activity gives caregivers and their children an opportunity to practice scientific ways of thinking that are developmentally appropriate for early learners. In this case, we’re doing so while getting a feel for some properties of water. But rather than emphasizing content, the activity highlights science process skills: in other words,what doing science can look and feel like at a young age.

Exploring the Solar System

hide and seek moon kit 

Kit #5

Pocket Solar System(opens in new window)

Make a scale model of the distances between objects in our solar system. They learn that there is a lot of space between planets, and that our solar neighborhood contains many other interesting features and objects. They can even imagine where they might like to send a NASA mission spacecraft in the future!


Kits #4(opens in new window) & 6(opens in new window)

Eclipse Mini Kit

A hands-on activity demonstrating how the particular alignment of the Sun, Earth, and Moon can cause an eclipse. Visitors investigate the positions of these objects to create shadows and learn about solar eclipses.


Kit #12

Hide and Seek Moon(opens in new window)

An engaging way for early childhood learners to experiment with some of the tools scientists use to study objects that are very, very far away, and to learn about how cultures around the world have viewed the Moon. Easy-to-use binoculars and a hidden object Moon poster let young participants discover how some tools can make distant objects appear closer and brighter, and the Moon Rope story book shares a story of one of the ways people have made meaning out of the shapes they see on the Moon.


Kit #14

Mars Rover(opens in new window)

Participants learn about how scientists and engineers use robotic rovers and other vehicles to explore distant worlds,and experience some of the challenges and teamwork required to navigate a rover across the surface of a planet millions of miles away. Players acting as “Mission Control” and a “Rover” must work together to navigate a large obstacle course. Participants can also design their own rover to fit the particular challenges of exploring a distant planet.


Kit #15

Stomp Rockets(opens in new window)

Participants learn about how some rockets carry science tools—not scientists—into space, and how a special kind of rocket called “sounding rockets” can be used for quick, low flying scientific missions into space. Participants build and launch their own air rockets to help imagine the challenges and triumphs of engineering spacecraft and launching them into a specific region of the space.


Kit #21

Design, Build, Test(opens in new window)

Participants will imagine a scientific mission to space, draw inspiration from existing spacecraft, and then design and build their own simple model space craft to accomplish the goals of their mission. After assembling a spacecraft and attaching tools, participants’ creations will have to complete a series of tests to ensure that they’re ready for launch.Did they include the necessary tools? Can the spacecraft withstand the vibration of launch, or the spin of navigating through space? If not, it’s back to the drawing board—the design/build/test cycle begins again!

Exploring the Universe

nebula spin art kit

Kit #9

Orbiting Objects(opens in new window)

A hands-on activity that invites visitors to experiment with different sized and weighted balls on a stretchy fabric gravity well. The activity models gravitational attraction in space. Participants investigate how changing conditions can cause phenomena like stellar wobble and planet formation.


Kit #19

Pack a Space Telescope(opens in new window)

Space telescopes can offer us better, clearer views of the universe (and of our own planet) than Earth-based telescopes can, but getting these large, delicate pieces of equipment into orbit is tricky. In "Exploring the Universe: Pack a Space Telescope," participants get a taste of the challenges faced by engineers in designing and building complicated tools that can fold up to fit inside a spacecraft, and then unfold again when they deploy in orbit. Participants will design, build, pack, and deploy their own model space telescopes in this activity.


Kit #23

Nebula Spin Art(opens in new window)

Participants will learn about how gigantic clouds of gas and dust in space, called nebulas, are formed. They'll create their own colorful model nebula using paint and a spinner. Because of the unique quantities and locations of the materials and the forces that spread them out, each model nebula will be unique—just like each real nebula!


Kit #24

Space Guess Quest(opens in new window)

Participants will identify the many types of objects in space, from human-made spacecraft to nebulas, galaxies, stars, and worlds. Players ask yes-or-no questions about their opponents' secret object until they can correctly identify it among all the objects on the game board. The first player to guess correctly wins the game!


Kit #25

Star Formation(opens in new window)

Participants will learn how stars form from the dust and gas that exists in space clumping together. They'll model the star-formation process by adding energy (via a hairdryer) to matter floating in space (ping pong balls) to see how much of it they can get to "clump" in an empty container. The more matter they can accumulate, the larger their model star will be. This activity can be adjusted to make it easier for younger participants.

Exploring Chemistry

chemistry is colorful kit

Kit #27

Building a Battery(opens in new window)

Participants will learn how different materials interact, and problem-solve to clean up a miniature model "oil spill." Which method (or combination of methods) works best?


Kit #28

Cleaning Oil Spills with Chemistry(opens in new window)

Participants will learn how different materials interact, and problem-solve to clean up a miniature model "oil spill." Which method (or combination of methods) works best?


Kit #29

Chemistry is Colorful(opens in new window)

This process highlights the properties of different pigments blended together in a marker by creating a colorful chromatogram. Can participants solve the mystery of which ink came from which marker? 


Kit #30

Chemistry Makes Scents(opens in new window)

Participants use their noses to distinguish between chemicals with very similar structures. Some molecule pairs contain all the same elements, arranged the same way but flipped in a "mirror image." While these chemicals can behave similarly, they often have very different properties (including the way they smell). The activity also uses large molecule models, so participants can handle and visualize their structural differences.


Kit #32

Nature of Dye(opens in new window)

Participants will create their own dyes and art while exploring how chemicals interact, and how these interactions can have real-world applications. Participants predict, observe, and share what they notice as they experiment with the dye. What's your favorite color to mix?


Kit #33

Rocket Reactions(opens in new window)

Participants make little baking soda and vinegar "rockets," launching plastic caps into the air, and experimenting to discover the best mix of fuel for their rocket.


Kit #35

What's in the Water?(opens in new window)

Participants use tools to solve a mystery: what chemicals and compounds are in a sample of water. By investigating with a variety of tools and techniques learners understand how chemistry can help us explore, understand, and solve problems.