Science on Wheels — School Starlab Portable Planetarium



Our Portable Planetarium gives your students a unique opportunity to view the night sky! 

Click here to register

Planning Information

Choose from the following program options:

Grade 1 – The Earth Sun and Moon:

EQ: How do the Sun and Moon change in our sky over time?

The Starlab model sky allows students to see how the Sun and Moon change in the sky over an hour, a day, a week or a month, all in one 50 minute lesson. We will investigate the reasons for the changes students observe in the sky and lay the foundation for understanding the structure of our solar system. The lesson will end with a look at the constellations and how they make a map across our nighttime sky.

Standards Connections:

SC 2014 – 1.E.3A
Recommended Audience – Grade 1


Grade 4 – The Bigger Picture

EQ: How does the movement of objects in our solar system affect what we see in the sky?

The Starlab allows us to see how the movement of the Earth, Moon and planets in our solar system affects what we actually see in our sky from day to night, night to night, and season to season. Students will learn how to find their way around the night sky using well known constellations, and to tell the difference between a planet and a star. Classes will learn to predict the position of objects in the sky over time due to Earth’s rotation and revolution, and the movement of the Moon and planets in their own orbits. Schools may choose one of three focus options for additional content. 

Focus Options:

1. The Solar System - Learn about the scale of the solar system and destinguishing features of each planet

2. Phases of the Moon - Learn how the movement of the Moon and Earth in their orbits affects how we see the Moon in the sky

4. Constellations - Learn several additional constellations for various seasons of the year and see the Greek constellations as illustrations filling the Starlab dome


Standards Connections:
SC 2014 – 4.E.3A.1; 4.E.3B.1; 4.E.3A.2; 4.E.3B.2
Recommended Audience – Grade 4

Grade 8 – Our Place in Space:

EQ: How can we use observations from Earth to learn about the movement and position of our planet and solar system in the galaxy and the universe?

This lesson takes us beyond the confines of the solar system to investigate out place in the larger scale of the galaxy and universe. We’ll use observations of the night sky to aid in understanding of the scale of the universe. Students will learn how spectroscopy is used to determine the composition of gasses in stars and nebulae, then have a chance to use spectroscopes to observe spectra for themselves.

Standards Connections:

SC 2014 – 8.E.4A, 8.E.4B
Recommended Audience – Grade 8


Planning Information 

Educator will arrive approximately 45 minutes prior to the schedule start time to unload, check in and setup. Breakdown takes approximately 20 minutes after the last session ends.



One class (maximum 30 students, recommended 25 students) plus at least one adult staff person from the school. If you are combining more than one smaller class into one group, please do not exceed 25 students per lesson.



Greenville County:  First session can start as early as 8:30 a.m. 

Other County Schools:  Calculate the drive time from Roper Mountain Science Center to your school, then add that amount of time to 8:00 to determine your earliest assembly start time. If it is a one hour drive from Roper Mountain to your school, add one hour to 8 a.m. and the earliest start time is 9 a.m.

Each session is 50 minutes. A minimum of 10 minutes reset time must be scheduled in between sessions. If 4 sessions are scheduled, a 30 minute break is required at some point between sessions to allow the educator to eat lunch. Setup takes about 45 minutes and breakdown takes about 20 minutes.


Space Requirements

A large space with ceilings at least 12′ high and floor space of at least 30′ x 30′. Nothing can be hanging from the ceiling or projecting from the walls into that 30′x30′x12′ area. Gyms tend to work best, but other spaces can be used (cafeteria, auditorium stage, media center). Nothing else can be scheduled in the space during the presentation times.



Payment is due within 30 days after the date of the program. An invoice will be e-mailed to the booker when the reservation is made. Educators CANNOT take payment. Please mail your payment to Roper Mountain or send by Courier. Credit card payments can be made in person at Roper Mountain Science Center (please call ahead to schedule payment), but we cannot take credit card information by phone or email.


Travel Area

We will travel to locations up to a 2.5 hour drive from Roper Mountain for a single day visit. There is a fee for sites outside of Greenville County of 85 cents per mile of driving. We use Google Maps to calculate drive times and distances. Requests for further distances may be considered if requested.



1 session $150
2 sessions $210
3 sessions $270
4 sessions $330

* No mileage fee in Greenville County. For other counties, a miles fee of $0.85 per mile applies

Multi-Day discount:  Schools reserving 2 or more consecutive days of Starlab visits will receive a $60 discount per additional day if they can provide a secure space to store the packed up Starlab overnight. 


Science on Wheels Scholarships Available!

Roper Mountain has received a generous grant from 3M to fund Science on Wheels programming for schools and community organizations in Greenville County serving low-income communities. Greenville County schools with 60% or higher free or reduced lunch and Greenville County community centers are pre-qualified to receive these scholarships within reasonable limits. Prequalified groups just need to mention that they would like to use the grant money to cover their reservation at the time that they make the reservation request. Non GCS schools and community organizations such as libraries, after school programs, summer camps, and day cares in Greenville County who believe they should qualify, may apply for the funding. Contact the Outreach Specialist, Jennifer Romatelli, or 864.355.8940, for details.


Contact the Outreach Specialist, Jennifer Romatelli at or fill out the form below.


Science on Wheels Registration Form

A 402 Roper Mountain Road, Greenville, S.C. 29615   P 864.355.8900   F 864.355.8948