Mission: The Universe - Pensacola MESS Hall

Pensacola, FL



This program was designed to be a themed field trip for grades 5-7. These trips began with an interactive show that highlighted the key learning goals of the trip in an engaging way. Students were then encouraged to experiment with the performer to answer a science question. Following the show, the students engaged in hands-on stations that reinforced the concepts. For this project, the show focused on astronomy and utilized astrophysics resources including resources from NASA’s Universe of Learning.



  1. To expand the subject matter available to area schools for science-based field trips.

  2. Increase participation of Title 1 Schools in science-based field trips.


The target audience of this program was 5th through 8th grade students from Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties in Florida and Baldwin County in Alabama.

Recommendations for future implementations

One challenge for the Pensacola MESS Hall was adapting higher level activities for an all hands-on field trip for upper elementary. While the activities appear to be simple, the concepts proved to be difficult for 5th and 6th grade students to grasp in the short amount of time. Instead of leaving stations without facilitators, this iteration ended up staffing nearly all of the stations with either trained volunteers or staff. Moving forward these concepts are better aligned to 6th grade and above educational standards.