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This is a set of three activities about how scientists study other worlds. Learners will explore and compare the features of Mars and Earth, discuss what the features suggest about the history of Mars, and create a model to help them understand how... (View More) scientists view other worlds. The activities help to show why scientists are interested in exploring Mars for evidence of past life, and address the question: "Why are we searching for life on Mars?" It also includes specific tips within each activity for effectively engaging girls in STEM. This is activity 4 in Explore: Life on Mars? that was developed specifically for use in libraries. (View Less)
This activity focuses on the relationship between science of looking for life and the tools, on vehicles such as the Mars Rover, that make it possible. Learners will create their own models of a Mars rover. They determine what tools would be... (View More) necessary to help them better understand Mars (and something about life on Mars/its habitability). Then they work in teams to complete a design challenge where they incorporate these elements into their models, which must successfully complete a task. Teams may also work together to create a large-scale, lobby-sized version that may be put on display in the library to engage their community. The activity also includes specific tips for effectively engaging girls in STEM. This is activity 6 in Explore: Life on Mars? that was developed specifically for use in libraries. (View Less)
This is an activity about similarities and differences between the Earth and Mars. Learners will investigate how Mars compares to the Earth, working together to create an Earth-Mars Comparison Poster to post in the program facility/library and share... (View More) with their community. Their poster will feature basic facts about Mars and the Earth, as well as a scale model using balloons to represent the two planets. It also includes specific tips for effectively engaging girls in STEM. This is activity 2 in Explore: Life on Mars? that was developed specifically for use in libraries. (View Less)
This is a lithograph about NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission, or MMS. Learners will cut out and assemble a colorful 3D model of an MMS spacecraft. Web links, additional facts, and QR codes are included for audiences to access more information.
This module focuses on ultraviolet radiation on Earth and in space and how it affects life. Learners will construct their own "martian" using craft materials and UV beads. They will explore how UV radiation from the Sun can affect living things,... (View More) comparing conditions on Earth and Mars, and then discuss ways in which organisms may protect themselves from UV radiation. They will then take part in a Mars Creature Challenge, where they will change their creature to help it survive harsh UV conditions — like on Mars. They will then test their Mars creatures by subjecting them to different environmental conditions to see how well they "survive" in a martian environment. This investigation will explore shelter and protection as one of life’s requirements and how Earth’s atmosphere protects life from harmful UV radiation. It also includes specific tips for effectively engaging girls in STEM. This is activity 5 in Explore: Life on Mars? that was developed specifically for use in libraries. (View Less)
This activity focuses on how the search for life on Mars is portrayed in fiction and videos. Learners will consider depictions of Mars from science fiction books and video clips. As a group, children discuss what they know about Mars and compare... (View More) their ideas with the way Mars and imaginary martians are presented in the science fiction works. They then use what they’ve learned to create their own Mars Science Fiction “Movie Trailer” Zines. It is recommended that this activity is preceded by two or three of the previous activities in the series so that the children will already have an understanding of what life needs and how Mars compares to Earth. This activity may be extended to serve as a tween and/or teen science fiction book club. It also includes specific tips for effectively engaging girls in STEM. This is activity 7 in Explore: Life on Mars? that was developed specifically for use in libraries. (View Less)
This is an activity about visual analysis. Learners will create art inspired by planetary images while learning to recognize the geology on planetary surfaces. This presentation and accompanying activity uses the elements of art - shape, line,... (View More) color, texture, value - to make sense of features in NASA images, while honing observation skills and inspiring questions. (View Less)
This is an activity about asteroids. Learners will shape mashed potatoes into their own odd-shaped asteroids. They can then bake them in the oven to turn them (more or less) asteroid color, and eat them for dinner.
This is a game about the formation of the solar system. Learners dynamically engage in modeling the growth of asteroids from specks of matter. Similar to tag, the children run around, have fun, and burn off energy. Different from tag, there is... (View More) science involved! The end of activity debriefing discusses strengths and limits of the model. Note the setting for this activity should be large and open where students can run. (View Less)
In this activity, learners replicate the scientific processes of observing, forming an explanation, revising and communicating about a model of a comet. Learners construct a model of features of a comet using an assortment of common craft supplies.... (View More) This activity relates to several NASA comet missions such as Deep Impact, Stardust, Stardust-NExT, and EPOXI and can be used to emulate a process that scientists and engineers follow on all missions. (View Less)