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This is a lesson about planetary atmospheres. Learners will interpret real spectral graphs from missions to determine what some of Earth, Venus, and Mars’ atmosphere is composed of and then mathematically compare the amount of the greenhouse gas,... (View More)

This is a lesson that applys occultations to Saturn's Moon Enceladus. Learners will establish whether Saturn’s small moon, Enceladus, has an atmosphere, whether that atmosphere is over the entire planet, and what creates Saturn’s E-ring. The... (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... (View More)

This is a lesson about using the light from the star during an occultation event to identify the atmosphere of a planet. Learners will add and subtract light curves (presented as a series of geometrical shapes) to understand how this could occur.... (View More)

This is a lesson about elemental spectra. Learners will compare known elemental spectra with spectra of Titan and Saturn’s rings from a spectrometer aboard the NASA Cassini spacecraft. They identify the elements visible in the planetary and lunar... (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 activity is about planetary climate. Once familiar with the factors that determine a planet's surface temperature, learners will use an interactive spreadsheet model of a planet's atmosphere to determine if greenhouse gases, luminosity of the... (View More)

This is a lesson about the amount of atmosphere a planet is likely to have. Learners will look for the relationship between atmospheric mass and other characteristics of the planet. When the results are not completely conclusive, the students... (View More)

Keywords: habitable zone
Audience: Middle school

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)

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)