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**Earth and space science**

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This is an activity about detecting elements by using light. Learners will develop and apply methods to identify and interpret patterns to the identification of fingerprints. They look at fingerprints of their classmates, snowflakes, and finally... (View More) “spectral fingerprints” of elements. They learn to identify each image as unique, yet part of a group containing recognizable similarities. 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 is a math-science integrated unit about spectrographs. Learners will find and calculate the angle that light is transmitted through a holographic diffraction grating using trigonometry. After finding this angle, the students will build their... (View More) own spectrographs in groups and research and design a ground or space-based mission using their creation. After the project is complete, student groups will present to the class on their trials, tribulations, and findings during this process. 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 lesson is a case study of atmospheric ozone levels developed from observations over Thule, Greenland in 2002. Students will download a composite graph of this stratospheric ozone data taken from two different sources: the SAGE III satellite and... (View More) an ozone sensor on a weather balloon. Instructions for downloading the graph to either a computer or a graphing calculator (the TI-84 Silver Plus is recommended) are included in the lesson. Students will then compare and analyze the two data sets shown on the graph. Emphasis is placed on the applicability of using the weather balloon data to validate the satellite data. This lesson uses student- and citizen science-friendly microsets of authentic NASA Earth system science data from the MY NASA DATA project. It also includes related links, extensions, and an online glossary. (View Less)

This is a lesson about the design and operation of an ion propulsion engine. Learners will study the essential components and variables of an ion propulsion system. Activities include an on-line ion propulsion engine simulation and design. Included... (View More) are changes in energy and fuel consumption as a result of variable changes (dependent/independent variable relationships). This is activity 5 of 5 in Structure and Properties of Matter: Ion Propulsion. (View Less)

This is a lesson about the science supporting the design and operation of an ion propulsion engine. Learners will study the concepts of formation and discharge of charged particles, attractive and repulsive forces between charged particles, and the... (View More) properties of ions in the plasma phase. The lesson may or may not be completed on-line. This is activity 2 of 5 in Structure and Properties of Matter: Ion Propulsion. (View Less)

This is a lesson about the path of one xenon ion through an ion propulsion engine. Learners will focus on what a single xenon ion sees and does as it goes through the reactions and processes that provide the ion jet propulsion engine's thrust. They... (View More) will learn to adopt an informed, experimental method for use in a later lesson. A tightly-scripted slide-by-slide presentation is provided. Preconceptions are discussed. This is activity 4 of 5 in Structure and Properties of Matter: Ion Propulsion. (View Less)

This is a lesson about the energy output of the Sun. Learners will consider the essential question, "How much energy does sunlight provide to the Earth and what is its role in the Earth’s energy resources?" Activities include building a device to... (View More) measure the solar constant - the amount of energy in sunlight - calculating the amount of energy arriving at the Earth from the Sun, and describing the differences in solar radiation at Mercury compared to Earth. This is activity 1 of 4 in the module, Staying Cool. Note: the student guide starts on p. 21 of the PDF. (View Less)

This is a lesson about passive cooling methods. Learners will construct a simple device to measure how effective different materials are for protecting against sunlight, explain how heat relates to the motion of atoms and molecules, describe how... (View More) heat can be transmitted from one place to another, explain how sunlight arriving on Earth interacts with matter, and describe how MESSENGER is protected by a simple sunshade in the hot Mercurian environment. Materials required to do this activity include several commonly-found items (e.g., coffee cans, ice cubes, tape, ruler, calculators, stopwatch, and scale). This is lesson 3 of 4 at the Grade 9-12 range of "Staying Cool." (View Less)

In this activity, students solve exponential equations where the unknown is contained in the exponent. Students learn that taking base-10 or base-2 logs pulls down the exponent, allowing the unknown to be isolated and solved. This activity is... (View More) activity C3 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure, compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)

In this activity, students construct base-two slide rules that add and subtract base-2 exponents (log distances), in order to multiply and divide corresponding powers of two. Students use these slide rules to generate both log and antilog equations,... (View More) learning to translate one in terms of the other. This is activity C1 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure,compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)