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Geologic processes  
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Hands-on learning  
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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 analyze and interpret the accompanying large-format images of Mars taken by NASA’s Mars Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera. The analysis involves identifying geologic features, calibrating the size of those features, and... (View More)

This is a lesson about the formation of glaciers, ice layering and stratigraphy, and the cryosphere and cryobotics. Learners will collect evidence of layering, explore the science story that layering tells, study snow and ice for insights into... (View More)

This is a lesson about how and why ice flows, especially in a large mass such as a glacier. Learners will experience the qualities of viscoelastic materials and view videos of glacial ice flows. They will observe ice flows and materials other than... (View More)

This is a lesson about the Phoenix Mars Lander's science mission to use robotic technology to uncover water on Mars. Learners will be introduced to the mission and conduct some simple experiments to learn about the important properties of water and... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: 1 cent - $1 per student

In this laboratory activity, students are introduced to the different particle sizes of soil and their properties. Using sieves, students remove organic materials and pebbles, and separate sand, silt, and clay. Students experiment by combining sand,... (View More)

The effects of volcanoes on both the environment and people are the focus of this investigation. Students are introduced to the term "buffer" and are tasked with creating a possible buffer zone around Mount St. Helens. Students begin by assigning 32... (View More)

Satellite images of Mercury and Mars are used to illustrate craters and generate a discussion about their cause. After comparing those images with one of Earth, students explore the reason for the lack of visible craters on our planet. The abundance... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: 1 cent - $1 per student

The impacts of natural disasters are described in imaginary pen pal letters from peers who reside in the pathways of four authentic natural disasters: a volcanic lava flow in Hawaii, a volcanic ash cloud in Russia, a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: 1 cent - $1

In this activity, learners will determine the factors affecting the appearance of impact craters and ejecta on the Moon. Extensions are listed. This activity is in Unit 2 of the Exploring the Moon teachers guide, which is designed for use... (View More)

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