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In this lesson, students observe the surface of rotating potatoes to help them understand how astronomers can sometimes determine the shape of asteroids from variations in reflective brightness.

This is an activity about how the Sun can affect the Earth's atmosphere, specifically the ionosphere. Learners will use real data from a Sudden Ionosphere Disturbance Monitor, or SID Monitor, to identify the signatures in the graphed data that can... (View More)

This is an activity about modeling the apparent motion of the Sun as seen from Earth. Learners will use a flashlight, toothpick, and styrofoam model Sun to mimic the relative shadow motion produced by a sundial. The activity will help learners... (View More)

Audience: Informal education
Materials Cost: $1 - $5

This is an activity about the relative sizes of the Earth and the Moon and the distance between them. Learners will inflate a balloon to the approximate size of the moon in relation to a standard globe. They will then hypothesize as to the correct... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school, Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

This is an activity about measuring angular size and understanding the solar and lunar proportions that result in solar eclipses. Learners will use triangles and proportions to create a shoebox eclipse simulator. They will then apply what they learn... (View More)

Learners will demonstrate the size (volume) differences between Earth, Earth's Moon, and Mars. An extension is provided to estimate the distance between the Earth and the Moon, and the Earth and Mars, using the scale of the play dough planets'... (View More)

This is a detailed historical lesson about comets, distant icy worlds often visible to observers on Earth. Learners will consider the essential question, "What are comets?" They will practice observation skills as they enact a story of comets... (View More)

This is a lesson about the formation of glaciers, ice layering and stratigraphy, and the cryosphere and cryobotics. Learners will collect evidence of layering, explore the science story that layering tells, study snow and ice for insights into... (View More)

This is a lesson about detecting ice on the permanently shadowed craters of Mercury and the Moon. Learners will consider what might be in that ice and will examine why the polar regions of Earth, Mercury and the Moon are colder than elsewhere on the... (View More)

Learners will investigate how water and ice exist in the atmosphere as they study water vapor condensing, find that clouds are made of tiny droplets of water, and notice that snow forms in clouds. Activities include demonstrations by the teacher,... (View More)