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Engineering and technology  
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This lesson is about robotic programming. Learners will simulate the experience of operating a rover on Mars, by giving specific commands to construct a Lego model with their partners. This will introduce students to the fundamental communication... (View More)

This is a lesson about robotic exploration of the solar system. Learners will explore the difference between natural and artificial satellites and use images taken by robotic spacecraft and telescopes to gain an understanding of the Earth's place in... (View More)

In this learning activity, students create a 3D model of part of their local landscape, then make a series of observations from different directions. Using the bird's eye view, they translate the 3D model into a 2D map with a scale and key, and... (View More)

This is an activity about the Kepler space telescope. Learners will make a paper model of Kepler. Ideas for use include hanging all models in a display case that also houses student work. Note: the activity includes updated information about the... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: $1 - $5 per group of students

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 a activity about applying the scientific method to a design challenge. Learners will design and build a platform that will be placed on a heat source. The platform is expected to serve as an insulator for a cube of gelatin. The goal is to... (View More)

This is a lesson about designing and building an effective sunshade for a model MESSENGER craft. Learners will build a model of MESSENGER. They will use a scientific approach to solve problems and work as a cooperative team. They will discover their... (View More)

In this activity, students use the binary number system to transmit messages. Two flashlights are used to demonstrate how astronomy spacecraft to transmit images and other scientific data to Earth. This activity is part of Unit 4 in the Space Based... (View More)

This is an activity about spacecraft that have landed on Mars. Learners will become familiar with the vehicles of two Mars missions: Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Pathfinder and the rover Sojourner (note: the activity could be easily adapted to be... (View More)

This is an activity about the Mars Pathfinder mission. Learners will use household materials to build a model of the lander, parachute and air bags in order to replicate the entry, descent and landing of the payload. Instructions, materials list and... (View More)