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New Horizons

Created by Last updated 7/9/2015

• Dusty Dilemma

This is a lesson about statistics in science as it applies to the measurement of dust in space. Learners will be introduced to the concepts of error analysis, including standard deviation.
AAAS Benchmarks: 2C/M2b, 12C/M3, 12B/M4, 12B/H5, 12D/M1
• Earth Calling

This is an activity about spacecraft radio communications. Learners will explore spacecraft radio communications concepts, including the speed of light and the time-delay for signals sent to and from spacecraft.
AAAS Benchmarks: 4A/H3, 4F/M8, 4F/H3c, 12B/H2, 12D/E1
• Space Place: Hail King of the Ice Dwarfs

On this webpage, learners will read fun facts about Pluto and explore why it is no longer considered a planet.
AAAS Benchmarks: 4A/M3
• Signals and Noise, Oh Boy!

This is a lesson about spacecraft communication. Learners will explore the concepts of "signal" and "noise" by listening to a computer-generated signal from two different distances with no additional background noise, and then with background noise, and compare their experiences in a science journal page.
AAAS Benchmarks: 8D/H2a

This is a lesson about density. Learners will relate the concept of density to the density of dust in space. They will use mission data from the Student Dust Counter (SDC) interface to determine the density of dust grains in a volume of space in the Solar System in order to answer questions concerning the distribution of dust in the solar system.
• The White Glove Test

This is a lesson about the distribution of dust in the solar system. Learners will use data from the Student Dust Counter (SDC) Data Viewer to establish any trends in the distribution of dust. Students record the number of dust particles, or hits, recorded by the instrument and the average mass of the particles in a given region.
AAAS Benchmarks: 4A/E4, 4B/E2a, 12D/E2, 12D/E7, 9C/E6
• Invisible Collisions (New Horizons To Pluto and Beyond)

This is a lesson about using gravity to assist in spacecraft navigation. Learners will relate an elastic collision to the change in a satellite's or spacecraft's speed and direction resulting from a planetary fly-by, often called a "gravity assist" maneuver. Both hands-on and online interactive methods are used to explore these topics.
AAAS Benchmarks: 1A/H3d, 4E/H9, 4F/E1a, 4G/H1
• Stellar Illumination

This is a lesson about discovering distant planets using an Earth-based observing technique called stellar occultation. Learners will explore how a stellar occultation occurs, how planetary atmospheres can be discovered, and how planetary diameters can be determined using actual light curves from stellar occultation events. Includes adaptations for younger students and those with visual impairments.
AAAS Benchmarks: 4A/M3, 12B/H2, 12D/H6, 12D/M2, 4A/H3
• Discovering Planet "X"

This is an activity about parallax. Learners will explore the concept of parallax and then simulate the discovery of Pluto with a Blink Comparator via an online interactive.
AAAS Benchmarks: 4A/E3, 12D/P3, 12D/E2
• Appearances Can Be Deceiving

This is an activity about angular measurement. Learners will explore the relationship between angular size, actual size, and distance by using their finger, thumb and fist as a unit of angular measurement. Includes teacher background, student data sheet, and extensions.
AAAS Benchmarks: 11B/M1, 9C/H1