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This is a lesson about visual spectra. Learners will explore different ways of displaying visual spectra, including colored "barcode" spectra, like those produced by a diffraction grating, and line plots displaying intensity versus color, or... (View More) wavelength. Students learn that a diffraction grating acts like a prism, bending light into its component colors. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System. (View Less)
This online Flash game is hosted on the James Webb Space Telescope Web site. Because the Webb Telescope is unusual in appearance, it doesn't look like a telescope - but it actually does have a lot in common with simple tube-shaped telescopes. "Scope... (View More) It Out!" includes an introduction to reflecting and refracting telescopes and four levels of matching games, where you compare a simple reflecting telescope to the Webb and Hubble. The information contained in a level will help users solve the puzzles in the next round. (View Less)
Learners will investigate, compare, and describe patterns in Solar System data. They will then hypothesize about the formation of the Solar System based on data and explain how extrasolar planets can be discovered. In the first activity, the... (View More) students investigate Solar System data to find clues to how our planetary system was formed. By the end of the activity, the students come to understand that other stars form just like the Sun, and, therefore, many stars could have planets around them. The second activity examines how scientists can find these extrasolar planets. By observing the behavior of a model star-planet system, the students come to understand that it is possible to see the effect a planet has on its parent star even if the planet cannot be seen directly. By comparing the properties of our Solar System with other planetary systems, we can gain a deeper understanding of planetary systems across the Universe. Note: The MESSENGER mission to Mercury that is mentioned in this lesson ended operations April 30, 2015. For the latest information about MESSENGER and NASA's solar system missions see the links under Related & Supplemental Resources (right side of this page). (View Less)
Learners will explore how engineers minimize the use of fuel by utilizing gravity. In Activity 1, students explore the physical conservation laws by observing the behavior of balls colliding with other objects. In Activity 2, the students use an... (View More) interactive online simulation tool to explore the various ways in which gravity assists can be used to aid space exploration. Note: The MESSENGER mission to Mercury that is mentioned in this lesson ended operations April 30, 2015. For the latest information about MESSENGER and NASA's solar system missions see the links under Related & Supplemental Resources (right side of this page). (View Less)
The goal of this lesson is for students to understand how to plan a mission to another world in the solar system. They begin by discussing the path of a spacecraft traveling between planets, examining the journey from the Earth to Mars as an... (View More) example. In Activity 1, students determine the pros and cons for different ways we can explore another world, either by observing from the Earth or by sending a spacecraft to fly by, orbit, or land on the world. In Activity 2, the students plan a complete mission to explore another world in the Solar System. By the end of the lesson, the students come to understand that what scientists want to learn about an object determines how they plan the mission, but real-life constraints such as cost and time determine what actually can be accomplished. Note: The MESSENGER mission to Mercury that is mentioned in this lesson ended operations April 30, 2015. For the latest information about MESSENGER and NASA's solar system missions see the links under Related & Supplemental Resources (right side of this page). (View Less)
This is a legacy site for videos and animations related to the Deep Impact mission and encounter with Tempel 1. Learners can watch videos about the mission, encounter, science, and results.
This series of curriculum support materials explores how our understanding of the nature of the universe has changed during the past 100 years. Students examine the process of science through the stories of the people and the discoveries that caused... (View More) our understanding to evolve from a static universe to a universe whose expansion is accelerating. The series illustrates the nature of science by tracing the process of discovery from the confirmation of Einstein's theory of gravity, to Hubble's evidence for the expanding universe, to the detection of the microwave background, and finally to the discovery of dark energy. The series includes six posters, each resembling the front page of a newspaper from a particular time in this history with articles describing the discoveries. Each poster is accompanied by an online teacher guide and downloadable, inquiry-based lessons. Downloadable newsletter versions of the poster are available for individual student use, with three editions for different reading levels (Early Edition for grade 7-8, Home Edition for grades 9-10, and Late Edition for grades 11-12). Lesson plans can be found by following the link from Teacher Resources to Curriculum Tools to the Sortable Table of Lessons. (View Less)
Learners can read about the Deep Impact mission to encounter comet Tempel 1, including the mission, the experiment, results, the comet, the team, and how the results were transmitted back to Earth. Includes pre- and post-encounter fact sheets.
In this online interactive, learners will explore how scientists learn about the composition of an asteroid by studying energy and neutrons that emanate from it. Includes audio (and transcription) explaining the diagram.