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Educational Level:
Middle school  
SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
Learning Time:
2 to 4 hours  
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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

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 an activity about structures in space. Learners will construct two different types of trusses to develop an understanding of engineering design for truss structures and the role of shapes in the strength of structures. For optimum completion... (View More)

This is a lesson about using evidence to construct sequences of geologic events. Learners will interpret real NASA science data to identify features on the surface of Mars, determine the surface history of the area, calculate the size of features,... (View More)

Learners will investigate probes and rovers to learn how they are built, learn about the propulsion, navigation, controls and daily handling of spacecraft, gather, and analyze data from multiple sources on the internet, and understand how rovers... (View More)

This is a lesson about planetary atmospheres. Learners will interpret real spectral graphs from missions to determine what some of Earth, Venus, and Mars’ atmosphere is composed of and then mathematically compare the amount of the greenhouse gas,... (View More)

This is a lesson about using radar to search for water on the Moon. Learners will use images to search for water on the moon. Additionally they will learn how Mini-RF can identify surface features that are permanently shadowed, or lack any visible... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

This is a lesson about how to plan a mission to explore another world in the Solar System. Learners will discuss the path of a spacecraft traveling between planets, examining the journey from the Earth to Mars as an example. In Activity 1, students... (View More)

This is a lesson about remote sensing. Learners will investigate how much you can learn about something just by looking at it. In Activity 1, students study aerial photographs to identify geologic features, determine how they differ from one... (View More)

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)

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