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This is a lesson about the shape of objects in space. Learners will observe the surface of rotating potatoes to help them understand how astronomers use variations in reflective brightness to determine the shape of asteroids.
This is an activity about motion in a frame of reference. Learners will develop an understanding that motion is relative by reading the text "Frames of Reference." As a follow-up to the reading, students engage in a writing-to-learn strategy that... (View More) can help them understand how motion depends on specific frames of reference, as they are asked to assume a specific frame of reference and describe motion in relation to multiple perspectives. This is activity 3 of 5 in "Structure and Properties of Matter: Ion Propulsion." (View Less)
In this activity, students build a simple computer model to determine the black body surface temperature of planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Experiments altering the luminosity and... (View More) distance to the light source will allow students to determine the energy reaching the object and its black body temperature. The activity builds on student outcomes from activity A, "Finding a Mathematical Description of a Physical Relationship." It also supports inquiry into a real-world problem, the effect of urban heat islands and deforestation on climate. Includes a teacher's guide, student worksheets, and an Excel tutorial. This is Activity B of module 3, titled "Using Mathematic Models to Investigate Planetary Habitability," of the resource, Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate? The course aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales. (View Less)
In this kinesthetic activity, the concept of energy budget is strengthened as students conduct three simulations using play money as units of energy, and students serve as parts of a planetary radiation balance model. Students will determine the... (View More) energy budget of a planet by manipulating gas concentrations, energy inputs and outputs in the system in this lesson that supports the study of climate on Mars, Mercury, Venus and Earth. The lesson supports understanding of the real-world problem of contemporary climate change. The resource includes a teacher's guide and several student worksheets. This is the second of four activities in the lesson, How do Atmospheres affect planetary temperatures?, within Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate? The resource aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales. (View Less)
This is a lesson about radiation and the various sources of radiation that a spacecraft may encounter in its journey. Learners will calculate their annual exposure to high-energy radiation, identify sources of high-energy radiation, and explain why... (View More) the near-Mercury environment is a concern for the Mercury MESSENGER mission. This is lesson 2 of 4 in the high school track of a module, titled Staying Cool. Note: the student guide starts on p. 17 of the PDF. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the energy output of the Sun. Learners will consider the essential question, "How much energy does sunlight provide to the Earth and what is its role in the Earth’s energy resources?" Activities include building a device to... (View More) measure the solar constant - the amount of energy in sunlight - calculating the amount of energy arriving at the Earth from the Sun, and describing the differences in solar radiation at Mercury compared to Earth. This is activity 1 of 4 in the module, Staying Cool. Note: the student guide starts on p. 21 of the PDF. (View Less)