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Solar system  
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Educational Level:
Middle school  
Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours  
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In this activity, students create a scale model depicting the vertical distance from Earth’s surface to various features and objects, including Earth’s atmospheric layers, the Van Allen Radiation Belts, and geocentric satellites. Students also... (View More)

This is an activity about the atmospheric conditions (greenhouse strength, atmospheric thickness) Mars needs to maintain surface water. Learners will use a computer interactive to learn about Mars past and present before exploring the pressure and... (View More)

This is a lesson about measurement and cratering. Learners will read about the origin of the foot as a standardized unit of measure, work collaboratively to conduct an experiment about cratering, and collect and record data to draw logical and... (View More)

Learners will record detailed observations of a simulated surface and core sample of Mars, analyze a simulated surface and core sample of Mars, compare and contrast an unknown foreign object with the surface and interior of Mars, and learn... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

Learners will brainstorm ideas to be developed into a team skit, work cooperatively to assign duties and write a team skit, and collaborate with team members to complete the Mars Rover Manual. The lesson uses the 5E instructional model and includes:... (View More)

This is an activity about albedo, which is a measurement of the reflectance of a planetary surface. Learners will classify areas on an image in terms of albedo values and then sketch their own portion of an image from space. These sketches are... (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 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 book about the importance of the Sun's energy as it relates to its impact on the Earth’s environment. Learners will read or listen to a story about a young boy, Joshua, who finds out that the Sun provides the Earth with energy in 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 Spectra,... (View More)

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