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This is a lesson about using the light from the star during an occultation event to identify the atmosphere of a planet. Learners will add and subtract light curves (presented as a series of geometrical shapes) to understand how this could occur.... (View More) 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 lesson about the shape of objects in space. Learners will observe the surface of rotating potatoes to help them understand how astronomers use variations in reflective brightness to determine the shape of asteroids.
In this activity, students quantitatively evaluate the accuracy of a classification and understand a simple difference/error matrix. Students sort birds into three possible classes based on each bird’s beak: carnivores (meat eaters), herbivores... (View More) (plant eaters), and omnivores (meat and plant eaters). Students compare their answers with a given set of validation data and generate a difference/error matrix. Students discuss how to improve their accuracy based on identifying specific mistakes they made as indicated by the difference/error matrix. The resource includes color diagrams of common birds, a data table, and four student activity sheets. The activity is part of the Land Cover/Biology chapter of the GLOBE Teacher's Guide, and is supported by Land Cover/Biology protocols. GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) is a worldwide, hands-on, K-12 school-based science education program. (View Less)
This lesson is about data collection. Learners will investigate different methods of sampling in a simulated cleanroom environment. Includes a teacher's guide and students handouts. This lesson 7 of 10 from the Dynamic Design: The Cleanroom module.
This is a lesson about radiation and the use of the scientific method to solve problems of too much radiation. Learners will build snow goggles similar to those used by the Inuit (designed to block unwanted light, while increasing the viewer’s... (View More) ability to see in a bright region) to understand some of the engineering challenges encountered while protecting the solar cells on the Mercury MESSENGER. This is Lesson 2 of 4 at the middle level in the module, Staying Cool. (View Less)
This is a design challenge about heat transfer and insulation. Learners will apply the scientific method to design and build a container that will keep items cool when placed in boiling water. They will practice collaboration in team-building and in... (View More) teamwork. This is lesson 4 of 4 at the Grade 9-12 range of the module, Staying Cool. (View Less)
This is a detailed lesson about heat transfer and distance. Learners will design and conduct experiments to answer the question, "how does distance and inclination affect the amount of heat received from a heat source?" They will measure heat change... (View More) as a function of distance or viewing angle. From that experiment, they will identify how the MESSENGER mission to Mercury takes advantage of these passive cooling methods to keep the spacecraft comfortable in a high-temperature environment. This is lesson 3 from MESSENGER Education Module: Staying Cool. Note: the student guide starts on p. 24 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)
This is an activity about planetary sizes and distances. Learners will construct a scale model of the Earth, Earth’s Moon and Mars in relation to each other using balloons. They will use this model to predict distances and reflect on how... (View More) scientists use models to construct explanations through the scientific process. The lesson models scientific inquiry using the 5E instructional model and includes teacher notesand vocabulary. (View Less)
Water supply in the Southwestern United States depends on snow. Students discover its importance through analysis and evaluation of data, satellite images, space shuttle photos, and ground-based observations, and then apply their findings in a... (View More) role-play. Working in seven groups representing the states in the Colorado River watershed, students assume the roles of U.S. senators to propose and defend their stand on the allocation of Colorado River water by state and by usage. The URL opens to the investigation directory, with links to teacher and student materials, lesson extensions, resources, teaching tips, and assessment strategies. This is Investigation 4 of four found in the Grades 9-12 Module 1 of Mission Geography. The Mission Geography curriculum integrates data and images from NASA missions with the National Geography Standards. Each of the four investigations in Module 1, while related, can be done independently. (View Less)