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Middle school  
SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
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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 a collection of mathematics problems relating to the moons of the solar system. Learners will use simple proportional relationships and work with fractions to study the relative sizes of the larger moons in our solar system, and explore how... (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)

This collection of 160 math problems covers the 20 science topic themes presented by the NASA/JPL Year of the Solar System (YOSS) website, covering the solar system, planets, the search for life, and robotics. Examples of topics included are: scale... (View More)

This is an activity about the way distance, reflectivity, and atmosphere affect the temperature of a planet. Learners will create a planet using a computer game and change features of the planet to increase or decrease the planet's temperature. This... (View More)

Keywords: Water; Climate

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)

Learners 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 interactive module and learn about features of Mars through... (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)

Keywords: Spacecraft Design
Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: $5 - $10 per group of students

This is a poster about radiation in space. Learners can read about the Van Allen belts and how NASA's Van Allen Probes are investigating the influence of the Sun's energy on Earth. The activity version also includes math problems, a vocabulary... (View More)

In this activity, 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 the Moon and then analyze... (View More)