StarLab: Journey Through the Stars

Take a tour of the night sky with a lesson in VINS' StarLab Planetarium. Have StarLab visit your school, or schedule a StarLab lesson as part of your field trip to the VINS Nature Center.

​StarLab will have your students exploring the many different celestial bodies, and learning about the many ways that different cultures around the world have interacted with their night sky.

Our tour of the stars will begin with the many familiar and unfamiliar figures that compose the clearest night sky. From investigating individual celestial bodies, we will then look into many ways that cultures around the world have related them to one another. This exciting teaching tool will allow us to explore a wide range of topics, as we have four different presentations to choose from. View Lesson Options


What is StarLab?
VINS School Programs, with generous support from the Butler Foundation, has added a Classic StarLab Deluxe Planetarium to its repertoire of teaching materials. A StarLab is a portable planetarium - composed of a light-tight inflatable dome (22 feet in diameter and 11 feet tall) and a projector that projects onto the dome interior. If there are no classrooms available that fit these requirements, a large common area or gymnasium will suffice. The images are projected from cylinders made out of an opaque film, except for the portions where the images are found.

StarLab at your School:

45 Minute Program

Class Size: 25 Max

Ages 5 and up

$350; $325 Non-Profit

$1.25/Mile Added For Travel

Space Requirements for set up


StarLab Lesson Options:

Included with a visit to your school or a field trip to VINS.

See the 48 major constellations - popularized by the creator of Curious George, H.A. Rey - projected onto a clearer view of the Milky Way than you have ever seen before. We will begin the lesson by looking at the individual figures of our nightly sky - planets, nebulae, significant stars. Then, projecting the constellations of H.A. Rey over the Milky Way, students will be able to establish their bearings in the expanse of the night sky. StarLab allows us to fast-forward through the Earth’s revolution to observe the motion of the stars and the constellations they compose - illuminating the seasonality of nightly vistas. These familiar constellations will help facilitate your stargazing on camping trips and other outdoor excursions.

Projecting a detailed world map onto the StarLab sky, students will explore the paths taken by migratory bird species around the planet. We will examine the adaptations facilitating such feats of flight, as well as the variations that allow some species to stay year-round in wintry regions, while others must follow food. Geography is integral to this lesson as we explore why these birds migrate in the first place, and the obstacles the birds must contend with along their migratory routes. Live animal encounters and teaching artifacts are also available for this presentation.

Explore Ancient Greek civilization through the lens of its storytelling tradition! This lesson begins by looking at the individual figures of our nightly sky - planets, nebulae, significant stars. After this initial investigation, we will overlay the vista of the Milky Way with the constellations of Ancient Greek mythology. The stories included in this lesson will shed light on the many allusions to Greek Mythology present throughout literature.

Learn about the rich mythology and astronomy traditions of Native American societies! We will begin this lesson by looking at the individual figures of our nightly sky - planets, nebulae, significant stars. We will then overlay the vista of the Milky Way with the constellations of various Native American cultures - including the Navajo, Shoshone, Blackfoot, Cherokee, Tewa, Hopi and Algonquin tribes. The panoramic view in the StarLab will guide our exploration of the mythology connected to each constellation, as well as the rich oral tradition in which these myths arose. This lesson includes special emphasis on the oral tradition of the Navajo - natives of the four-corners region of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.

StarLab Field Trip at VINS

Let the VINS campus become your launchpad to the cosmos with our StarLab Field Trip offerings. VINS’ educators will facilitate engaging, inquiry based activities leading your students on a journey through the stars.


  • 1-ESS1
  • 5-ESS1;

In addition to educational standards from Vermont’s Framework of Standards and Grade Expectations/Common Core State Standards in grades:

  • 1-4 (History and Social Sciences)

New Hampshire Curriculum Framework in grades:

  • 5-6 (US / NH History)

Your field trip includes an 60 minute guided StarLab program, including an introduction to the topic of choice, an in-depth discussion and investigation and a chance for students to reflect upon what they’ve learned. In addition to your guided lesson you will have the opportunity to experience a live bird presentation, visit our trails and exhibits, and enjoy lunch on our grounds.

In addition to the programs described below, collaborate with a VINS Science Educator to design a StarLab program to anchor to your classroom curriculum.

StarLab Topics:

  • Constellations of the Milky Way Starfield
  • Mapping Migrations
  • Ancient Greece & the Milky Way
  • Native American Astronomy 

StarLab is suitable for Ages 5 and up. Each presentation can be adapted to accommodate different age groups.

All VINS educators have extensive experience in environmental education, the natural sciences and science instruction. Every instructor works with a certified teacher in NH and VT to ensure their content and methods align with the Next Generation Science Standards and the best practices for outdoor education. All instructors are First Aid and CPR certified.


Enhancing Classroom Curriculum with On-Site, Place-Based Education

Explore the natural world with hands-on lessons aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.