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Each lesson or activity in this toolkit is related to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The toolkit is designed so that each lesson can be done independently, or combined and taught in a sequence. The Teacher Implementation Guide provides... (View More) recommendations for combining the lessons into three main strands: 1) Lunar Exploration. These lessons provide a basic introduction to Moon exploration. Note that this strand is also appropriate for use in social studies classes. 2) Mapping the Moon. These lessons provide a more in-depth understanding of Moon exploration through the use of scientific data and student inquiry. The lessons also include many connections to Earth science and geology. 3) Tools of Investigation. These higher-level lessons examine the role of technology, engineering and physics in collecting and analyzing data. (View Less)
This is an activity about the rotation of the Moon. Learners use a penny and a quarter to model that the Moon does indeed spin on its axis as it orbits the Earth. They find that the Moon keeps the same face toward the Earth, but receives... (View More) illumination from the Sun on all sides in turn. This activity is part of Explore! Marvel Moon. (View Less)
Learners model how Earth's tilt creates the seasons. They use their bodies to review the Earth's daily motions before investigating the reason for Earth's seasons in this kinesthetic exploration. The motion of the Earth about its axis (rotation) and... (View More) in orbit around the Sun (revolution) is related to the appearance of the sky over the course of the day and year. Next they model that if the Earth's tilt was not stabilized by Moon, Earth's axis would slowly wobble between straight up (0° tilt) to nearly on its side (80° tilt). The resulting seasonal extremes would be unfavorable for life. Note that this activity is appropriate for children who are able to explore the geometry of Sun-Earth-Moon relationships in three dimensions. This activity is part of Explore! Marvel Moon. (View Less)
Learners use a Styrofoam ball, sunlight, and the motions of their bodies to model the Moon's phases outdoors. An extension is to have children predict future Moon phases. This activity is part of Explore! Marvel Moon.
Learners select from a variety of fruits to construct a scale model of the Moon, Earth, and Sun. After determining the correct sizes and distances for their models, they remove the Moon. They consider what it would be like if the nearby Moon were no... (View More) longer reflecting the Sun’s light in the nighttime or daytime sky. This activity is part of Explore! Marvel Moon. (View Less)
Learners will model the gravitational fields of planets on a flexible surface. Children place and move balls of different sizes and densities on a plastic sheet to develop a mental picture of how the mass of an object influences how much effect it... (View More) has on the surrounding space. This activity is part of Explore! Jupiter's Family Secrets, a series designed to engage children in space and planetary science in libraries and informal learning environments. (View Less)
This is a set of four activities about spacecraft design. Learners will use the information learned in previous lessons, combined with their own creativity and problem-solving skills, to design and test a parachuting probe that will withstand a fall... (View More) from a high point, land intact, be able to descend slowly, float in liquid, and cost the least to launch into space. Includes a glossary, information for families, and guidance for deepening the science. This is lesson 7 of 8 in the Jewel of the Solar System: From Out-of-School to Outer Space an adaptation for afterschool programs of the Cassini-Huygens educational product Reading, Writing, and Rings. (View Less)
This is a game about planning what to take on a space trip to Mars. Learners will decide on the appropriateness of items to take on a long trip to Mars and take into consideration the effects of zero gravity, limited electrical power, etc.
This is an online sorting game that compares the lifetime risk of death from an asteroid impact to other threats. For example, are you more likely to be killed by an amusement park ride or an asteroid impact? It is part of the Killer Asteroids Web... (View More) Site. The site also features a background overview of the differences between asteroids and comets, information on different types of asteroids (rubble piles vs monoliths), a discussion of how at risk Earth really is to an asteroid or comet impact, and background information on light curves. (View Less)
This is a multi-level, physics-based game that asks players to save Earth by using their spaceship to deflect an incoming asteroid. It is designed to accurately reflect the physics of space and could be used to help confront preconceptions about... (View More) motion and forces in space. It is part of the Killer Asteroids Web Site. The site also features a background overview of the differences between asteroids and comets, information on different types of asteroids (rubble piles vs monoliths), a discussion of how at risk Earth really is to an asteroid or comet impact, and background information on light curves. (View Less)