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Students explore how mathematical descriptions of the physical environment can be fine-tuned through testing using data. In this activity, student teams obtain satellite data measuring the Earth's albedo, and then input this data into a... (View More) spreadsheet-based radiation balance model, GEEBITT. They validate their results against published the published albedo value of the Earth, and conduct similar comparisons Mercury, Venus and Mars. The resource includes an Excel spreadsheet tutorial, an investigation, student data sheets and a teacher's guide. Students apply their understanding to the real life problem of urban heat islands and deforestation. The activity links builds on student outcomes from activities A and B: "Finding a Mathematical Description of a Physical Relationship," and "Making a Simple Mathematical Model." This is Activity C in module 3, Using Mathematical Models to Investigate Planetary Habitability, of the resource, Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate? The course aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales. (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 activity is about the discovery of water ice on Mars. Learners will record and graph temperature data and use a model of an ice-rich and ice-free surface on Mars to examine how ice content in the martian soil would impact the temperature of a... (View More) Mars microbe after impact. A student information sheet introducing the subject of ice and the search for water on Mars is provided. The activity requires access to a freezer the night before the activity. **Note: Find the latest information and updates on Mars missions at the NASA Mars Exploration website (see Related & Supplemental Resources to the right).** (View Less)