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**Earth and space science**

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This is an activity about how light travels. Learners will perform two experiments. The first explores blocking light to create shadows. The second asks learners to use mirrors to figure out that light travels in a straight line. This is Activity 4... (View More) of the Sun As a Star afterschool curriculum. This activity requires use of a room that can be darkened. (View Less)

This is an activity about the phases of Venus and the planet’s variance in angular size as seen from Earth. Learners will use an online program such as Solar System Live to determine Venus’s distance from Earth for one half of its cycle. This... (View More) activity requires access to the Solar System Update software and a computer with Internet access. This is Solar System Activity 6 in a larger resource, Space Update. (View Less)

This is an activity about the Venus Transit and how it helped astronomers determine the scale of the solar system. Learners will use measurement, ratios, and graphing to construct a model of the solar system and determine the relationship of each... (View More) planet to the Sun. They will explore the scales needed to represent the size of the planets and the distances to the Sun. This activity corresponds to the NASA CONNECT video, titled Venus Transit, and has supplemental questions to support the video viewing. (View Less)

In this activity, students engage in an ongoing investigation to find patterns of sunlight and shadow in a classroom (or any room that gets sunlight) at different times of the day and different times of the year. Students look for repeating... (View More) patterns, keep a log to describe and sketch observations of when and where certain easily recognized patters appear and turn the room into a solar calendar that may survive into the future for other classes to use. Part 1 of this activity requires occasional note-taking and casual observation over the course of a day. Part 2 requires 30-60 minutes to create the calendar record, then casual observation and note-taking throughout the school year. The lesson plan includes a math extension activity and background information about the Sun Dagger at Chaco Canyon. This activity is the third lesson in the Ancient Eyes Look to the Skies curriculum guide. (View Less)

In this activity, students build a simple computer model to determine the black body surface temperature of planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Experiments altering the luminosity and... (View More) distance to the light source will allow students to determine the energy reaching the object and its black body temperature. The activity builds on student outcomes from activity A, "Finding a Mathematical Description of a Physical Relationship." It also supports inquiry into a real-world problem, the effect of urban heat islands and deforestation on climate. Includes a teacher's guide, student worksheets, and an Excel tutorial. This is Activity B of module 3, titled "Using Mathematic 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)

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 activity enables students to better understand the motion of the Sun and how we use it to measure time. Students create a "horizon calendar" at their school by carefully observing and recording the horizon and the Sun at sunset (or sunrise, for... (View More) early risers) over a period of weeks or months. Part 1 of this activity can be done as a whole group and involves selecting and drawing a detailed map of the site. Part 2 of this activity can be done as a whole group and involves determining the direction west and drawing the horizon line. Part 3 should be done by the teacher since it involves making weekly observations at sunset (or sunrise), which is outside of regular school hours. Part 4 can be done with the whole class and involves using the data from the observations to calculate the average rate of change in sunset time and respond to discussion questions. The activity is not time-consuming, but must be conducted over a period of at least a few weeks. It is best as a semester unit, or even a project for the entire school year. Also, the best time of year to run this activity is around the equinoxes: March and September. The lesson plan includes discussion questions, background information about desert horizons, and a math extension activity in which students calculate how the time of sunrise or sunset changes from day to day. This activity is the sixth lesson in the Ancient Eyes Look to the Skies curriculum guide. (View Less)

# Modeling Hot and Cold Planets: Activity C Approximating the Average Surface Temperature of the Earth

In this activity, students explore the importance of adequate sampling strategies when conducting a scientific investigation. They are tasked with determining the average temperature of the Earth, using data sets easily found on the Internet, and... (View More) determine the kind and size of sample necessary to calculate a representative average. The resource includes a student data sheet and an authentic assessment for the module, where students discuss the establishment of a habitation site on Mars. This is Activity C in module 2, titled "Modeling Hot and Cold Planets," 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)

In this activity, student teams learn about research design and design a controlled experiment exploring the relationship between a hypothetical planet, an energy source, and distance. They analyze the data and derive an equation to describe the... (View More) observations. Includes student data sheets, a teacher's guide, and a tutorial on how to use the spreadsheet program Excel. This is Activity A in module 3, titled "Using Mathematic 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)

In this learning activity, students will construct a soda-bottle thermometer, which is similar to the thermometer used by GLOBE schools. Both are based on the principle that most substances expand and contract as their temperature changes. This... (View More) experiment also demonstrates the principle of heat transfer. The resource includes an activity and data sheet for student use. This resource is in the Atmosphere chapter of the GLOBE Teacher's Guide, and is supported by GLOBE atmosphere field protocols. (View Less)

Materials Cost: 1 cent - $1 per group of students