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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.
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)
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 is about planetary climate. Once familiar with the factors that determine a planet's surface temperature, learners will use an interactive spreadsheet model of a planet's atmosphere to determine if greenhouse gases, luminosity of the... (View More) source, the distance of the planet from the source and the albedo of the planet can be manipulated so that the average surface temperature on Mars or Venus could support human life. Learners will then be asked to make some conclusions about these methods and suggest improvements for the spreadsheet model (see related resources for link to this model). The activity requires use of Microsoft Excel software. This is Activity D in the fourth module, titled "How do Atmospheres Affect Planetary Temperatures?," of "Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate?." (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.
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 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 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)