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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 an activity about the discovery of water ice on Mars. Learners will create physical models using Earth samples to answer the question, "is it more likely that high altitude regions of Mars are composed of icy dirt (with ice filling the pore... (View More)

Keywords: Mars
Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a lesson about the formation of plasma bubbles in Earth's ionosphere. Plasma bubbles cause stars to twinkle and radio signals from satellites to distort. Learners will build a model ionosphere in order to demonstrate and understand this... (View More)

This is a lesson about displacement, buoyancy, and density. Learners will understand why ice floats. Includes background information, teacher notes, assessment criteria, and related resources; activities are differentiated for Pre-K-grade 2 and... (View More)

This is a lesson about the temperature on differnt planets in our solar system. Learners will explore the planetary temperature system. They explore how each aspect (e.g., mass, temperature and gravity) influences the system and the consequences of... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

This is a lesson about how magnetism causes solar flares. Learners will set up an electrical circuit with magnets to examine magnetic fields and their similarities to magnetic fields seen on the Sun. Learners should have a conceptual understanding... (View More)

This is a lesson about phase changes. Learners will observe ice melting and freezing under a variety of conditions and relate that to the Messenger mission. This is lesson 1 of 12 in Exploring Ice in the Solar System.

Audience: Pre-kindergarten, Elementary school
Materials Cost: Free

In this activity, students compute the strengths of the gravitational forces exerted on the Moon by the Sun and by the Earth, and demonstrate the actual shape of the Moon's orbit around the Sun. The lesson begins with students' assumptions about the... (View More)

In this activity, students experiment to test the hypothesis that Mars was once hotter. The activity requires some advance preparation by the teacher: the day before the activity, need to place a plastic bottle filled with water in the freezer.... (View More)

This is an activity about Earth's magnetosphere. Learners will use a magnet, simulating Earth's protective magnetosphere, and observe what occurs when iron filings, simulating the solar wind, blow past and encounter the magnet's field. This is the... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school