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Educational Level:
Elementary school programming  
Middle school programming  
SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes  
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Learners design and build an airbag system that can safely land an egg dropped from a height of 3' onto the floor. This resource includes a challenge video, leader notes, and handouts. Two supplemental videos are included: 1) An airbag landing... (View More)

Learners design and build a device that can take a core sample from a potato. This resource includes a challenge video, leader notes, and handouts. Two supplemental videos are included: 1) NASA's Curiosity rover drilling into a rock on Mars and... (View More)

In this hands-on engineering challenge, learners design, build, and improve a model that allows a moving object to change direction using an invisible force. Mimicking the gravity-assisted travel of the New Horizons spacecraft, learners roll a steel... (View More)

Learners design and build a device that can pass above a surface and detect magnetic fields. This resource includes a challenge video, leader notes, and handouts. Two supplemental videos are included: 1) Measuring Magnetic Fields and 2) NASA flight... (View More)

Learners design and build a robotic arm that can lift a cup off a table. This resource includes a challenge video, leader notes, and handouts. Two supplemental videos are also included: 1) NASA's Curiosity rover using its robotic arm to probe the... (View More)

Using a plastic tray filled with sand to represent a planetary surface, learners simulate the effects of wind, water, and impacts. They will compare the surface effects they create with actual images of planetary surfaces- and determine the causes... (View More)

Learners create scale models of Earth, the moon, and Mars out of playdough. Based on the size of the models, they must determine the relative distance between them and then display them at that scale. This activity was designed for use in a library... (View More)

Students are tasked with virtually designing a spacecraft to withstand the harsh environment of the Van Allen Radiation belts- the location of many communication, GPS and weather satellites. The details of the challenge, along with videos on... (View More)

Audience: Informal education
Materials Cost: Free

Microscopic meteorites routinely reach Earth's surface. While challenging to find and identify, this activity provides techniques for searching for them in the local environment.

In this activity, children use common craft materials and ultraviolet (UV)-sensitive beads to construct a person (or dog or imaginary creature). They use sunscreen, foil, paper, and more to test materials that might protect UV Kid from being exposed... (View More)

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