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Educational Level:
Middle school  
Instructional Strategies:
Hands-on learning  
SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
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This is an activity about planning a planetary mission. Learners will play a card game to design a mission to Mars. This game will allow them to experience the fundamentals of the engineering design process as they use collaboration and... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

This activity is about planetary rovers. Learners will simulate the challenges in communications that engineers face when driving a rover on Mars. They will particpate as part of a rover team to design and execute a series of commands that will... (View More)

This activity is about rocket shape and performance. Learners will test a rocket model and predict its motion. They will launch their rocket multiple times, make observations and record the distance it traveled. They will have the opportunity to... (View More)

This is an activity about spacecraft design. Teams of learners will model how scientists and engineers design and build spacecraft to collect, store, and transmit data to earth. Teams will design a system to store and transmit topographic data of... (View More)

This paper model shows the orbit of Comet ISON (late 2013) with respect to the innermost planets of the solar system. After reading background information about comets - how they form and where they come from - students cut out and tape together the... (View More)

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)

This is an activity about the atmospheric conditions (greenhouse strength, atmospheric thickness) Mars needs to maintain surface water. Learners will use a computer interactive to learn about Mars past and present before exploring the pressure and... (View More)

Learners will construct a mock-up of planetary surface rover. They begin by exploring the importance of engineering in our society and work as a team to build a prototype of the team’s rover using student science notebooks and team sketches as a... (View More)

This is a lesson about measurement and cratering. Learners will read about the origin of the foot as a standardized unit of measure, work collaboratively to conduct an experiment about cratering, and collect and record data to draw logical and... (View More)

This is a lesson about landing site selection. Learners will work in teams to determine a landing site for their Mars Rover that best relates to their scientific question. They use technology skills to research Gale Crater through an online... (View More)

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