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This is an activity about color. Participants will use scientific practices to investigate answers to questions involving the color of the sky, sunsets, the Sun, and oceans. This activity requires use of a clear acrylic or glass container to hold... (View More) water, a strong flashlight, batteries for the flashlight, and powdered creamer or milk. (View Less)
This is a set of instructions for building a physical model. The model simulates the Sun's paths across the sky at summer solstice, winter solstice, and the spring and fall equinoxes. A bead simulates the Sun, moving along a cord, from rising along... (View More) the eastern horizon to setting on the western. The bead can be moved from path to path to demonstrate solar alignments, the solstices, and equinoxes. The model is created to be unique to the user's latitude, and is useful for including in lessons that teach about the seasons or archaeoastronomy. (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 activity is about viewing the planet Mars (and others) through a telescope. Learners will go outside on a clear evening to view the planets and other celestial bodies for themselves. Using sky charts and other resources, and possibly in... (View More) partnership with a local astronomical society or club, children and their families view Mars with binoculars and/or telescopes. The children who have participated in the other Explore: Life on Mars? activities may serve as docents at this public, community event, sharing what they have done and learned about what life is, the requirements for life, and the possibility for life on Mars now — or in the past! It is recommended that the viewing event be paired with the hands-on experiment within the Searching for Life activity if space and time allow. It also includes specific tips for effectively engaging girls in STEM. This is activity 8 in Explore: Life on Mars? that was developed specifically for use in libraries. (View Less)
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 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 is an activity about comet composition. Learners will explore the physical characteristics of comets by reaching into a series of boxes and feeling the materials and structures within. They will describe what they observe and speculate on comet... (View More) characteristics being modeled in each box, opening the discussion about the nature of these icy bodies and begin to compare them to other members of our solar system. (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 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 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)