Virtual Learning Experiences: 5th-8th Grade

Learn from Adler experts wherever you are!

Adler’s virtual learning experiences bring the Adler experts to your students wherever you are around the world. No school bus or field trip permission slips required.

These experiences are unlike others out there. We have custom built a virtual reality environment that invites engagement with our educators and enables interactive discussions among classmates.

Virtual Experience Options

Sizing Up Our Solar System

Groups experience the size and scale of our solar system directly—by using an avatar to  “walk” around models of the planets, moons, and other solar system objects and noticing the differences between them. Being able to explore in three dimensions also creates opportunities for students to interact with each other more like they would in a physical space—they can have small group discussions, linger on items that interest them, and make discoveries with their friends. This experience is created with NGSS space science standards for middle school in mind, especially MS-ESS1-3.

Climate Change & Me (coming soon!)

Climate change is something that affects us all; this experience is designed to engage students with the potential we have to positively address climate change. Students will explore different environments in small groups.  In each environment, students will be presented with a specific, past event caused by climate change. They will then be asked to consider a number of solutions, make a choice about how they would respond to the event, and then learn the outcome of their choices.  The session will include immersive NASA visualizations and interviews with scientists, engineers, and activists to understand the impact we can have. This virtual learning experience is made possible in part thanks to a grant from NASA.

These virtual learning experiences are designed for 5th–8th graders! Your group will have the virtual space (and the attention of our educators) all to yourselves as you learn and explore together in our unique VR-style environment. After you register, we will send you a teacher guide with all the information you’ll need, plus a student guide and extension activities for before and after the experience to help you make the most of this cosmic classroom getaway.

A sneak peek of these virtual experiences in our virtual environment is coming soon!

For K-4th grade students, the Adler is now offering guided tours of our virtual learning experiences through a video call. Head on over to this page for those details.

Pricing

$200 per group (up to 35 participants)

Includes a 45–60 minute session plus a teacher guide, student guide, and extension activities for pre and post experience.

Session Schedule

There are no more available sessions for the 2023-2024 school year.

About the Adler’s Virtual Learning Experience Technology

The Adler’s virtual learning experiences are conducted in Mozilla Hubs, a VR-style platform that is accessible through each participant’s web browser. You don’t need to download special software or acquire special equipment! You can use a desktop computer, laptop, Chromebook, tablet, or mobile devices. The experience runs best on laptop and desktop computers and in Chrome and Firefox browsers. More details here!

Safety/Security

Your group will access the experience via a private link, so you will have the virtual space all to yourselves! You and any other participating adults are asked to take the lead on group expectations and management while participating in the experience.

Adler is a Tier 1 Chicago Public School vendor

Technical Requirements

  • The Adler’s virtual learning experiences are designed to work on a variety of devices, but desktop and laptop computers provide the best experience. 
  • The registrant is also responsible for verifying with their organization’s IT representative that their internet connection is sufficient, both in bandwidth and in latency, to support their full group engaging in the session simultaneously. A minimum download bandwidth of 5Mbps per participant (ex- for 35 participants, 175Mbps) and a latency under 25ms are needed.
  • The registrant is responsible for verifying that all participants’ devices are able to access the experience before booking. To test, please visit this public test demo room created by Mozilla and this reticulum.io link. In the reticulum.io link, you should be able to view a video, but there is no sound.
  • Firefox and Chrome browsers are strongly preferred.
  • All registered participants should have access to an individual device to access the virtual learning experiences.

Who is the Audience for These Virtual Learning Experiences? 

Immersive virtual learning experiences are designed and recommended for 5th–8th grade classes.

For younger students (K-4th), our educator guides your group through our Mozilla Hubs virtual environment and content on a video call. For more information and to book head over to this page.

Free Virtual Learning Experiences

The Adler Planetarium is pleased to offer free virtual learning experiences to any school where 51 percent or more of the student population comes from low-income households. There are a limited number of free field trips available and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. One free field trip per class, availability permitting. To apply for a free virtual learning experience please complete this form, and one of our educators will provide you with a code to input during registration.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a virtual learning experience at the Adler and how is it different from an in-person field trip?

Virtual learning experiences at the Adler are completely new, designed from the ground up with remote learners in mind. You and your students will visit a 3D immersive model of the Adler Planetarium’s beautiful exterior and surrounding grounds, a setting made for learning about our solar system and exploring planets like you’ve never seen them before! And, in our newest offering, you and your students will take a deep dive on the effects of climate change and the impact we can have to positively make a difference.

How much does it cost?

A virtual learning experience is $200 per session for classes up to 35 participants for our immersive-style sessions. Includes a 45–60 minute session plus a teacher guide, student guide, and extension activities for pre and post experience. 

What should I do to plan for the experience? Is it moderated or will I need to create my own lesson plan?

It is moderated live by an Adler educator. Meet them here! During the virtual learning experience, teachers will be responsible for student management, but the experience will be led by Adler staff. Pre- and post-experience activities and a how-to guide are included. It will be important to prepare yourself and students using the how-to guide—this is a very different experience from the video chats everyone is used to!

Do students need to be all in the same place?

No! Thanks to the magic of the internet, students can join the experience from anywhere using a unique URL during your scheduled time period. See technology requirements below.

How long is each experience?

The immersive style sessions last from 45 to 60 minutes. If you have a time limitation, we can work with you! Let us know at virtuallearning@adlerplanetarium.org after booking.

What should I expect my students to learn during one of these experiences?

In the Sizing Up Our Solar System virtual experience, immersive session groups will experience the size and scale of our solar system directly—by using an avatar to “walk” around models of the planets, moons, and other solar system objects and noticing the differences between them. Being able to explore in three dimensions also creates opportunities for students to interact with each other more like they would in a physical space—they can have small group discussions, linger on items that interest them, and make discoveries with their friends. This experience is created with NGSS space science standards for middle school in mind, especially MS-ESS1-3.

In Climate Change & Me, this virtual experience is designed to engage students with the potential we have to positively address climate change. Students will explore different environments in small groups. In each environment, students will be presented with a specific, past event caused by climate change. They will then be asked to consider a number of solutions, make a choice about how they would respond to the event, and then learn the outcome of their choices. The session will include immersive NASA visualizations and interviews with scientists, engineers, and activists to understand the impact we can have.

What age range or grade level is this appropriate for?

Our immersive style sessions are designed for 5th-8th grade students, while our video call style sessions are for K-4th grade students.

We look forward to creating more virtual learning experiences for a wider range of students. If you would like to help Adler as we develop programming and resources for teachers and students, please join the Teacher Evaluator Group!

How can I schedule one of these virtual learning experiences? What happens after I register?

You’ll receive an email confirming the date and time of your booking as well as pre- and post-experience activities and a how-to guide.

It will be important to prepare yourself and students using the how-to guide—this is a very different experience from the video chats everyone is used to!

I’m not in the Chicago area, can I still schedule a virtual learning experience?

Yes! While the Adler’s primary educational audience continues to be Chicago-area schools, a completely online experience means your class can attend from anywhere.

Are there accessibility options?

Because Mozilla Hubs is a new application, accessibility features are not yet available to us. Please email us at virtuallearning@adlerplanetarium.org with your specific needs so we can talk further.

What is the capacity?

For the best experience with our immersive style virtual learning sessions, we recommend a cohort of around 25-30 people. We’ve found that video and audio quality are significantly affected when there are between 30–35 people in the space. If your class is on the large side, we encourage you to consider booking two sessions.

What is your rescheduling and cancellation policy?

The registrant is responsible for verifying that all participants’ devices are able to access the experience before booking. To test, please visit hubs.mozilla.com and this reticulum.io link. In the reticulum.io link, you should be able to view a video, but there is no sound.

The registrant is also responsible for verifying with their organization’s IT representative that their internet connection is sufficient, both in bandwidth and in latency, to support their full group engaging in the session simultaneously. Blocked access or insufficient internet connection do not qualify the registrant for a refund or a reschedule, should they prevent the session from occurring.
Please note: Adler’s virtual learning experiences use Mozilla Hubs, a new, still developing, open source platform. Our team will work to adapt and troubleshoot unforeseeable technology challenges if they occur during a session to provide the best experience possible. In case of sound impacts, the Educator will continue the experience via the chat function with continued student participation. Outages are uncommon but possible. If an outage prevents a session from happening, Adler will work with the registrant to reschedule.

Terms of the Teacher Acknowledgement Form also apply.

Can I schedule an in-person field trip?

For more information about our in-person field trip options, please click here.

What payment types do you accept?

At this time, we accept credit card payments only.

What other resources are available for educators like me?

We love to support educators however we can. Visit our educator hub for space resources to help supplement your classroom curriculum.

Still have questions? Contact us!

Feel free to email us at virtuallearning@adlerplanetarium.org. We will do our best to reply to you within 3 business days.

Thanks To Our Sponsors

The Adler Planetarium is grateful to the following donors for supporting virtual learning experiences: 

Discover Financial Services, Inc.
Knowles Foundation
A. Montgomery Ward Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Co-Trustee

 

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