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This is an activity about forecasting space weather. Learners will use real-time data from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, to identify a variety of solar features and active regions of the Sun, and then will use these observations to... (View More) predict the probability of a space weather event. This activity will require each student or group of students to have a computer with internet access. (View Less)
This twelve-minute YouTube video incorporates NASA imagery and visualizations as it traces the history of air quality research.
This activity is an interactive word find game with words related to comets and NASA's Comet Nucleus Sample Return mission. Accompanying text and pictures describe what comets are and why we are interested in them.
In this activity, learners draw a circle with a single focus, an ellipse with two foci close together, and an ellipse with two foci far apart, and compare the shapes. Learners then measure the Sun in four images each taken in a different season,... (View More) comparing the apparent size of the Sun in each image to determine when Earth is closest to the Sun. This is the second activity in the SDO Secondary Learning Unit. The activity is reprinted with permission from the Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS). (View Less)
In this activity about spectroscopy, learners build a spectroscope, learn about graphing spectra, and then identify elements in gas tubes using their spectra. The activity concludes as learners graph the spectra of different materials. Essential... (View More) materials required for this activity include spectrum light tubes, the power source for spectrum light tubes, and diffraction grating material. (View Less)
This is an activity about perspective. Learners will examine pictures of objects up close and far away to try and figure out what they are. Then, given an image of a star and the Sun and through discussion about the differences and similarities of... (View More) seeing objects up close, learners will use the concept of perspective to relate our nearby Sun to the stars that appear as small points of light in our sky. (View Less)
In this activity about the Sun's influence on plant growth, learners will create a plant box and observe that a plant will grow towards the Sun, its primary source of energy. By periodically collecting data on the growth of the plant, they can come... (View More) to their own conclusions about why the plant grew towards the sunlight. One to two weeks are needed to grow plants for this lesson; also, time is needed to construct the plant box. Potting soil and bean seeds are needed for this activity. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the electromagnetic spectrum. Learners will read two pages of information about the electromagnetic spectrum and answer questions in an accompanying worksheet. This activity is from the Stanford Solar Center's All About the... (View More) Sun: Sun and Stars activity guide for Grades 5-8 and can also accompany the Stanford Solar Center's Build Your Own Spectroscope activity. (View Less)
In this kinesthetic activity, learners act out the rotation and revolution motions of Earth around the Sun over the course of one year. Learners also physically model the tilt of the Earth and will identify the summer and winter solstice and vernal... (View More) and autumnal equinox locations in relation to Earth's orbit around the Sun. (View Less)