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Mathematics  
Engineering and technology  
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Middle school  
High school  
Learning Time:
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This is a lesson about determining planetary composition. Learners will use a reflectometer to determine which minerals are present (from a set of knowns) in a sample of Mars soil simulant. Requires the use of ALTA II spectrometers (which may be... (View More)

This is a lesson about detecting atmospheres of planets. Learners will explore stellar occultation events (by interpreting light curves) to determine if an imaginary dwarf planet "Snorkzat" has an atmosphere. The activity is part of Project Spectra,... (View More)

This is an activity about detecting elements by using light. Learners will develop and apply methods to identify and interpret patterns to the identification of fingerprints. They look at fingerprints of their classmates, snowflakes, and finally... (View More)

Learners will investigate, compare, and describe patterns in Solar System data. They will then hypothesize about the formation of the Solar System based on data and explain how extrasolar planets can be discovered. In the first activity, the... (View More)

Audience: High school

Learners will explore how engineers minimize the use of fuel by utilizing gravity. In Activity 1, students explore the physical conservation laws by observing the behavior of balls colliding with other objects. In Activity 2, the students use an... (View More)

This is a lesson about the science supporting the design and operation of an ion propulsion engine. Learners will study the concepts of formation and discharge of charged particles, attractive and repulsive forces between charged particles, and the... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

Students explore how mathematical descriptions of the physical environment can be fine-tuned through testing using data. In this activity, student teams obtain satellite data measuring the Earth's albedo, and then input this data into a... (View More)

This is a lesson about elemental abundance in solar wind. Learners will count elements extracted from a simulated sample and learn how the extraction of atoms from the Genesis samples help scientists have a better understanding of the abundances of... (View More)

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

The use or abuse of the Chesapeake Bay is examined and discussed in the form of a student role-playing activity. Each student gathers relevant background information and formulates questions from briefing cards included in the investigation. Ten... (View More)

This activity is about planetary rovers. By designing the FIDO (Field Integrated Design and Operations) & Athena Long-Range Rover, learners will be able to identify instrumentation aboard the rover and then create and explain the instrumentation on... (View More)

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