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Paper Plate Education
"Serving the Universe on a Paper Plate"

What can you do with a paper plate?  Try these activities,
then send us your great idea.  Thanks for sharing. 


wpe46.gif (492254 bytes)Welcome to a unique genre of education materials.  Paper Plate Education is an initiative to reduce complex notions to simple paper plate explanations.  This website promotes innovative hands-on Activities that you can experience across a range of interests, at varying degrees of complexity, and at a low price—all with common paper plates.  

What's New?

Check out the exciting new material that has been uploaded to this website recently.  Paper Plate Education evolves as educators contribute to its content.  Please pardon the star dust as our universe expands.  Here are some recent highlights:

Transit of Venus blackdrop2.jpg (5050 bytes)

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The June 2012 Transit of Venus approaches!  Related web pages are at:
AstroCamp Video astrocamp07524.JPG (36976 bytes) Paper plate activities are prominent in astronomy camp video produced by kids from YMCA AstroCamp to the music of "Shoulders of Giants".
Turtle Hatch

turtle hatch 0822

In the new Turtle Hatch activity students record on a paper plate the fate of sea turtles hatching in the presence of light pollution.  Borrowed from Let There Be Night.
Free Video Video title Altitude Measurer.jpg (145131 bytes)

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Activities from the Paper Plate Astronomy videotape/DVD are now available online as free video:
Oreo Moon Phases

New instruction sheet for Oreo Moon Phases offers useful tips and template for activity.
AstroCamp DSC01584.JPG (19560 bytes) AstroCamp at YMCA Camp Eberhart features paper plate drawings of solar prominences and sunspots, as seen by kids through solar filters and a hydrogen-alpha telescope, plus viewing of planets, constellations, deep sky objects, and daytime targets.
Light Pollution mag-plate04388.jpg (20361 bytes) Light Pollution activity uses a paper plate to demonstrate how easily light pollution can be curbed with simple shielding of a bare bulb.  Contributed by 8-yr. old student.  Supports the Let There Be Night program.
Globe at Night globe09242.JPG (25674 bytes) Mark Orion's brightest stars on a plate, then fill in the constellation's boundaries with the stars you can see.  Compare your plate with the Globe at Night magnitude charts to determine by how much sky glow affects the quality of your night sky.
The Plate as Art Yes, the artwork in the thumbnail picture at left is made from paper plates.  In creating exquisite art, Bradford Hansen-Smith advocates the geometric elegance of the circle at his Wholemovement website. 

Site Map

A quick visit here will help you find your way around this growing collection of ideas and material.  Site Map outlines the variety of Paper Plate Education website components, from A to Y (we strive to eliminate the Zzzz).


wpe1.gif (781668 bytes)It seems a good thing comes round.  Paper instruments have been used since the 13th Century to support teaching and to buttress arguments.  Paper plates are also believed to have inspired a key element of the Mercury space capsule in the late 1950's.  In 1992 a member of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association renewed interest in this humble yet useful medium.  See our  Background for the history of paper devices and for current Paper Plate Education endeavors.


Teaching is a unique profession in that it encourages sharing of ideas, modifying other people's material, and adapting to local situations in order to deliver a better product.  In fact, you may recognize some of the paper plate activities as variations on familiar themes.  Please advance that spirit of improvement by sending us feedback about your Paper Plate Education experience.  


These pages represent the cumulative work of many educators who openly avail their work to colleagues.  You may freely use the material for non-profit educational purposes.  As a courtesy, please credit the author of contributed material.  Thank you.

Don't forget to bookmark your favorite pages.  Now go fill your plate and enjoy.

"Paper Plate Ed" celebrated IYA2009!




Home Activities! Site Map Light Pollution What's New? Upcoming Events
The contents of this site may be reproduced for non-profit educational purposes only.  Please cite the contributing author  in credits.  
All other uses require the express written permission of the respective contributors.

Copyright 2012 Chuck Bueter.  All rights reserved.