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This module focuses on ultraviolet radiation on Earth and in space and how it affects life. Learners will construct their own "martian" using craft materials and UV beads. They will explore how UV radiation from the Sun can affect living things,... (View More) comparing conditions on Earth and Mars, and then discuss ways in which organisms may protect themselves from UV radiation. They will then take part in a Mars Creature Challenge, where they will change their creature to help it survive harsh UV conditions — like on Mars. They will then test their Mars creatures by subjecting them to different environmental conditions to see how well they "survive" in a martian environment. This investigation will explore shelter and protection as one of life’s requirements and how Earth’s atmosphere protects life from harmful UV radiation. It also includes specific tips for effectively engaging girls in STEM. This is activity 5 in Explore: Life on Mars? that was developed specifically for use in libraries. (View Less)
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) borrowed from the Lunar and Planetary Institute or purchased online) and Mars soil simulant. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the shape of objects in space. Learners will observe the surface of rotating potatoes to help them understand how astronomers use variations in reflective brightness to determine the shape of asteroids.
This activity is about the discovery of water ice on Mars. Learners will record and graph temperature data and use a model of an ice-rich and ice-free surface on Mars to examine how ice content in the martian soil would impact the temperature of a... (View More) Mars microbe after impact. A student information sheet introducing the subject of ice and the search for water on Mars is provided. The activity requires access to a freezer the night before the activity. (View Less)