NASA Science Data in the Classroom

Created by NASA Wavelength Last updated 8/5/2014

This sampler includes NASA educational resources for using authentic data in the classroom. Want more? Try the following search tips: keyword searches for "Data" or "Images"; Filter search results by Resource Type: Data; Image/Image Set; Topic: Engineering-Image processing and visualization; Mathematics: Data collection, analysis and probability.

  • MY NASA DATA: The Sun's Energy

    In this lesson, students learn that the sun heats up land, air, and water and study basic line plots of authentic NASA data. Students will practice drawing conclusions based on graphed data. The lesson provides detailed procedures, related links and sample graphs, follow-up questions, extensions, and teacher notes. Designed for student use, MY NASA DATA LAS samples micro datasets from large scientific data archives, and provides structured investigations engaging students in exploration of real data to answer real world questions.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4B/E5, 4E/P1, 9B/P1, 9B/E2
  • MY NASA DATA: Creating Climographs

    Students use NASA satellite data to compare surface temperature and precipitation of different islands in the Pacific Ocean. Students will create climographs for the island of Guam and 2 other islands using the MY NASA DATA Live Access Server as a resource. Step-by-step instructions for use of the MY NASA DATA Live Access Server (LAS) guide students through selecting a data set, importing the data into a spreadsheet, creating graphs, and analyzing data plots.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4B/M9, 4B/M14, 9B/M3, 12C/M2, 12D/M5
  • Mars Image Analysis

    This is a lesson about using evidence to construct sequences of geologic events. Learners will interpret real NASA science data to identify features on the surface of Mars, determine the surface history of the area, calculate the size of features, and develope investigable questions. Students will study images taken by NASA's Mars Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera orbiting Mars. Students will use the THEMIS images to analyze the surface features and geological history of Mars. The lesson models scientific inquiry using the 5E instructional model and includes teacher notes and vocabulary.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 12D/P3, 12D/E2, 12D/H1
  • Question Mars

    This is a lesson about generating hypotheses and testable questions. Learners will use critical thinking and a collaborative approach to pose questions related to the study of Mars and evaluate the quality of their questions. They will explore remote-sensing data collected by a camera orbiting Mars - the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) and develop a team science question. Students will practice critical thinking skills, use a collaborative approach to this first critical step of the scientific process. Exploring the images of the surface of Mars in Visible (VIS) images, students will come up with a topic of study, their team science question and hypotheses. The lesson models scientific inquiry using the 5E instructional model and includes teacher notes and vocabulary.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 1B/M1b, 1B/H2
  • Universe Discovery Guides

    These guides showcase education and public outreach resources from across more than 20 NASA astrophysics missions and programs. The twelve guides - one for each month - contain a science topic, an interpretive story, a sky object to view with finding charts, hands-on activities, and connections to NASA science. The guides are modular, so that educators can use the portions that are the most useful for their audiences/events. Following is the theme for each month: January - Betelgeuse, February - Orion Nebula, March - Pleiades, April - Pollux; May - Hubble Deep Field, June - Hercules Cluster, July - Ring Nebula & Veil Nebula, August - The Search for Habitable Worlds, September - Milky Way Galaxy, October - Upsilon Andromedae, November - Andromeda Galaxy, and December - Crab Nebula.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4A/M1bc, 4A/M2de, 4A/H2ab, 4A/H2ef, 4A/H6
  • Light Detectives: Using WISE Data to Identify Brown Dwarfs and ULIRGs

    Using three images from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, students measure and analyze infrared light from objects to identify Brown Dwarfs and Ultra-Luminous Infrared Galaxies (ULIRGs). The lesson includes a teacher’s guide, student worksheet and PowerPoint presentation (which contains the three images to be analyzed).
    AAAS Benchmarks: 1B/H3, 4A/H3
  • Build Our Milky Way

    This online module features an interactive model of the the Milky Way galaxy. Students click on parts of the model to read and learn about the different components of galaxies. Upon completion of this activity, students will be able to locate parts of and build the Milky Way, and identify Earth's location within it. Additional information about our galaxy can be found in the Galaxy Gallery and Galaxy Gossip sections of the module. Students can complete this activity independently or in small groups. However, students should complete this activity prior to completing Galaxy Games. Detailed teacher pages, identified as Teaching Tips on the activity's title page, provide science background information, lesson plan ideas, related resources, and alignment with national education standards. This activity is part of the online exploration "Galaxies Galore, Games and More" available on the Amazing Space website.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 11B/P2, 11B/E2
  • Making Your Space Weather Action Center

    Learners construct a classroom-based Space Weather Action Center and use it to obtain, analyze, and record real solar data on a weekly basis. A set of sequential activities are also provided to engage the audience in making informed decisions about space weather using their collected data.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 12D/M4, 12D/M9, 1B/M1b
  • SuperSID Manual: Space Weather Monitors

    This is an instruction manual for the Sudden Ionosphere Disturbance, or SID, instrument and program. The Stanford Solar Center's Space Weather Monitor program is an education project to build and distribute inexpensive ionospheric monitors to students around the world. The monitors detect solar flares and other disturbances in Earth's ionosphere. Special materials are required, including the SID monitor from the Stanford Solar Center, a computer with Internet, and materials for making an antenna.
  • NASA Aquarius Mission - Highlighting Ocean Sciences & Engineering Practices

    Short videos were selected from NASA's Aquarius mission webinars for teachers, and feature scientists exploring the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) behind a variety of ocean and earth science topics. The video clips are short 2-8 minutes) are organized and organized by the NGSS 8 practices of science and engineering.