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The MISSIONMaker program uses art and the making experience to investigate NASA mission design, engineering and space exploration. Using common materials, students build a rover that incorporates six simple machines. The building instructions... (View More) include design challenges, background information and examples of how NASA spacecraft incorporate and use those same simple machines. The lesson includes step-by-step instructions, templates, explanatory YouTube videos, and additional related resources. (View Less)
This is a lesson about geologic history. Learners will work together to create models of volcanic lava flows and analyze the layers that form on a planet's surface. They will sequence lava flows produced by multiple eruptions. Students will be asked... (View More) to observe where the flows travel, make a model, and interpret the stratigraphy. Students will use their volcanic layering model to demonstrate the relative dating and geologic mapping principles to later be applied to satellite imagery. The lesson models scientific inquiry using the 5E instructional model and includes teacher notes and vocabulary. (View Less)
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,... (View More) 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. (View Less)
This is a series of three webpages about how humans and computers communicate. Learners will explore the binary and hexidecimal systems and how engineers use them to translate spacecraft data into images.
This is a game about data compression. Learners will use virtual foam balls to explore the different compression methods (lossless, lossy, and superchannel) used by the Earth Observing 3 mission.
Learners will investigate, discuss, and determine why humans have always explored the world (and now space) around them. Students determine these reasons for exploration through a class discussion. In the first activity, students use the Internet to... (View More) examine the characteristics of past explorers and why they conducted their exploration. They then examine why current explorers - including the students themselves - want to explore other worlds in the Solar System. By the end of the lesson, the students can conclude that no matter what or when we explore - past, present, or future - the reasons for exploration are the same; the motivation for exploration is universal. Note: The MESSENGER mission to Mercury that is mentioned in this lesson ended operations April 30, 2015. For the latest information about MESSENGER and NASA's solar system missions see the links under Related & Supplemental Resources (right side of this page). (View Less)
The goal of this lesson is for students to understand how to plan a mission to another world in the solar system. They begin by discussing the path of a spacecraft traveling between planets, examining the journey from the Earth to Mars as an... (View More) example. In Activity 1, students determine the pros and cons for different ways we can explore another world, either by observing from the Earth or by sending a spacecraft to fly by, orbit, or land on the world. In Activity 2, the students plan a complete mission to explore another world in the Solar System. By the end of the lesson, the students come to understand that what scientists want to learn about an object determines how they plan the mission, but real-life constraints such as cost and time determine what actually can be accomplished. Note: The MESSENGER mission to Mercury that is mentioned in this lesson ended operations April 30, 2015. For the latest information about MESSENGER and NASA's solar system missions see the links under Related & Supplemental Resources (right side of this page). (View Less)
This is a activity about applying the scientific method to a design challenge. Learners will design and build a platform that will be placed on a heat source. The platform is expected to serve as an insulator for a cube of gelatin. The goal is to... (View More) keep the inside temperature of the gelatin cube as cool as possible. Materials cost will vary, depending on materials chosen by group (within budget set by the teacher). Ties are made to the Mercury MESSENGER mission. Note: the student guide starts on p. 17 of the PDF. (View Less)
This is an activity about lunar and terrestrial stratigraphy. Learners will study the patterns of lava flow by creating eruptions using soda-vinegar solutions and modeling with home-made playdough (stove-top and no-cook recipes are included). This... (View More) activity is in Unit 2 of the Exploring the Moon teacher's guide and is designed for use especially, but not exclusively, with the Lunar Sample Disk program. (View Less)