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45 to 60 minutes  
Educational Level:
Informal education  
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Learners design and build a device that can take a core sample from a potato. Includes challenge video, leader notes, and handouts. Two supplemental videos are included: 1) NASA's Curiosity rover drills into a rock on Mars and collects a sample and... (View More)

Learners design and build an airbag system that can safely land an egg dropped onto the floor. Includes challenge video, leader notes, and handouts. Two supplemental videos are included: 1) An airbag landing system in action as a NASA rover lands on... (View More)

Learners design, build, and improve a model that mimics gravity-assisted space travel. The design solution enables a steel ball (spacecraft) to roll past a magnet (force exerted by a planet), which will alter its direction in order to hit a... (View More)

Learners design and build a device that can pass above a surface and detect magnetic fields. The video shows kids using the engineering design process, applying a variety of science concepts (e.g., force, magnetic fields, mapping), and learning... (View More)

In this activity students investigate cloud opacity, including transparent, translucent, and opaque cloud characteristics. The activity is a companion resource to an episode of the PBS series, SciGirls. The episode, titled "SkyGirls," featured NASA... (View More)

Explore the size relationship between the sun and Earth by using tape and stickers. Learners estimate, then place and count the number of one-inch diameter stickers (representing Earths) that would fit across the diameter of a nine-foot circle of... (View More)

Using a plastic tray filled with sand to represent a planetary surface, learners simulate the effects of wind, water, and impacts. They will compare the surface effects they create with actual images of planetary surfaces- and determine the causes... (View More)

Students "observe" an imaginary new planet in our galaxy from the relative distances of a ground-based telescope, the Hubble Telescope, and a fly-by mission. After recording their observations and discussing the differences, they compare their... (View More)

Using different perspectives- the unaided eye, a magnifying lens, and a satellite- provides different information. Children make observations of common objects- along with images of butterflies, the Mississippi River, a fire in the Colorado Black... (View More)

Learners create scale models of Earth, the moon, and Mars out of playdough. Based on the size of the models, they must determine the relative distance between them and then display them at that scale. This activity was designed for use in a library... (View More)

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