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This is a set of two improv-style activites that encourage participants to participate in learning about living and nonliving things. Learners will get to know each other through an icebreaker activity and state their ideas and previous experience... (View More) with living versus nonliving things. This will help prepare them to explore how scientists define and look for life in worlds beyond our own. It also includes specific tips for effectively engaging girls in STEM. This is the icebreaker activity in Explore: Life on Mars? that was developed specifically for use in libraries. (View Less)
This is an activity about light and color. The lesson includes a demonstration to show why the sky is blue and why sunsets and sunrises are orange. Participants will use scientific practices to investigate answers to questions involving the color of... (View More) the sky, sunsets, the Sun, and oceans. This activity requires use of a clear acrylic or glass container to hold water, a strong flashlight, batteries for the flashlight, and powdered creamer or milk. (View Less)
Participants will experiment with ultraviolet light sensitive plastic beads, which are generally white but turn colors when exposed to UV light. Participants are informed about the nature and risks of UV light and are asked to be the scientist to... (View More) explore what types of materials keep the beads, and hence the user, safe from UV light. (View Less)
This manual provides simple demonstrations to show how lenses and mirrors are used to create telescopes. It was created for use by the Night Sky Network of astronomy clubs.
This activity includes twelve monthly star charts to identify the stars that are visible in the night sky and that are known to have planets around them. The star maps can be used to find constellations and identify stars with extrasolar planets.... (View More) (Northern Hemisphere only, naked eye) (View Less)
This manual provides an overview of how telescopes have changed our understanding of the universe and contains simple demonstrations to use at star parties to get across basic ideas of optics. This manual will also help explain why the images that... (View More) folks see at the eyepiece of a telescope at an outreach star party is so different from images published in magazines. The manual was produced to accompany an outreach toolkit developed for the NASA Night Sky Network. The toolkit is no longer being manufactured, but the activities are available through the manual, which can be freely downloaded. (View Less)
This is an activity about what individuals already know about the Sun. Learners will brainstorm and share with the group their prior knowledge about the Sun. This is Activity 1 of the Sun As a Star afterschool curriculum.
This activity introduces the importance of meteorites to the understanding of the origin of the Solar System. Learners will use a key to determine if samples are meteorites. Finding meteorites can be difficult because most meteorites look like Earth... (View More) rocks to the casual or untrained eye. Even to the trained eye, recognizing meteorites can be difficult. Since scientists believe that some meteorites are pieces of the asteroid Vesta, they may be very old remnants of the solar system in its earliest stages. This activity provides information and insight that allows participants to share scientists' expectations, based on meteoritic samples, of what we will find when the NASA's Dawn Mission visits Vesta and Ceres. (View Less)