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During this immersive virtual field trip to the Grand Canyon, learners investigate geologic records to discover what the rocks reveal about life and environments of the past. They will then apply those same investigative techniques to the search for... (View More)

In this lesson about cosmic rays, students will describe why cosmic rays are dangerous to astronauts. Includes information about student preconceptions. This is activity 3 of 4 from The Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER).

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a lesson about organisms living under extreme conditions on Earth serving as analogs for extraterrestrial life. Learners will play a card game to create a set by matching an extremophile, an extreme habitat on Earth, and an extraterrestrial... (View More)

In this activity, learners will explore the question, What is the chance that we are the only life in the universe? They determine what we need to know to predict the chances of extraterrestrial life. They then make estimates of the number of worlds... (View More)

This is a lesson about the characteristics necessary for life. Learners will identify the top candidates for life in the solar system by examining Habitability Cards, which discuss each planet and the six large moons in terms of water temperature,... (View More)

In this activity, students survey other people to find out their thoughts about life beyond Earth and compare their ideas with visitors to the Cosmic Questions exhibit. Students can also analyze their survey data to see whether there is any... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

In this activity, students build a simple computer model to determine the black body surface temperature of planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Experiments altering the luminosity and... (View More)

In this activity, student teams learn about research design and design a controlled experiment exploring the relationship between a hypothetical planet, an energy source, and distance. They analyze the data and derive an equation to describe the... (View More)

In this activity, student teams create a knowledge map of the essential characteristics or factors of a planet with a habitable climate, identifying range of inputs, outputs and variables of a planetary environmental system. Identified... (View More)

In this activity, students simulate the interaction of variables, including carbon dioxide, in a radiation balance exercise using a spreadsheet-based radiation balance model. Through a series of experiments, students attempt to mimic the surface... (View More)

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