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This is a lesson about the definition of planet. Learners will use direct vocabulary instruction to learn the new definitions of planet, dwarf planet, and asteroid. The publicity generated by the International Astronomical Union’s definition of... (View More)

This is a lesson about discovering distant planets using an Earth-based observing technique called stellar occultation. Learners will explore how a stellar occultation occurs, how planetary atmospheres can be discovered, and how planetary diameters... (View More)

This is a lesson about society and space exploration. Learners will survey the public about their different opinions about space exploration and the use of robotics in space exploration. Then they will represent and analyze the results. This is... (View More)

This activity is about Mars exploration. Learners will research a past, present, or future mission to Mars and share their findings with the group. The group will then create an overall Mars exploration timeline. A script, links for background... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a lesson about the field of astrobiology, the study of life in the universe, and ice as a preservative for evidence of life. Learners will consider the relationship between ice and life as they investigate the conditions required for life to... (View More)

Net Radiative Flux (NRF) is used to determine the flow of solar energy in and out of the Earth system. NRF is influenced by seasonal variations related to the tilt of the Earth's axis and degree of cloud cover as well as Earth’s surface features.... (View More)

Keywords: Solar energy
Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a booklet about spectra and their usefulness to astronomers. Learners will read about the electromagnetic spectrum, how atomic physics is used to obtain information out of stellar spectra, and how the Doppler effect is used to measure... (View More)

In this activity, student teams design small-scale physical models of hot and cold planets, (Venus and Mars), and learn that small scale models allow researchers to determine how much larger systems function. There is both a team challenge and... (View More)

This is an activity about the magnetic fields of the Sun and Earth, and the interplanetary magnetic field, or IMF. Learners will engage in a question and answer dialogue, make connections using bar magnet examples and overhead transparencies, and... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: $1 - $5 per group of students

In this activity, students pose several hypotheses for what will happen if you continue heating or supplying energy to the hot and cold planet models (Mercury, Mars, Venus, and Earth) and then test their hypotheses using a spreadsheet based... (View More)