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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) understand that because the Earth rotates from West to East, the Sun appears to rise in the East and set in the West. This is Activity 6 of the Sun As a Star afterschool curriculum. (View Less)
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) about angular size to predict the diameter and distance of one object that can be eclipsed by another. They will also complete three journal assignments to record observations and conceptual understanding. This activity derives from those demonstrated in the NASA CONNECT television series episode, titled Path of Totality. (View Less)
This is an activity about the properties and characteristics of Earth’s magnetic field as shown through magnetometer data and its 3D vector nature. This resource builds understanding of conceptual tools such as the addition of vectors and... (View More) interpreting contour maps displaying magnetic signature data. Learners will make several paper 3D vector addition models, watch podcasts on how to analyze magnetometer data, and employ 3D vector plots to create a model of the 3D magnetic field in the location of the magnetometer closest to their town. This is a multi-step activity with corresponding worksheets for each step. The activity uses data from the THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms) GEONS magnetometer, and requires the use of a computer with internet access and speakers, 2-inch polystyrene balls and bamboo skewers. This is activity 16 from Exploring Magnetism: Earth's Magnetic Personality. (View Less)
This activity explores how ancient Sun observers made use of natural and built structures to mark solar alignments observed at different times of the year, particularly around the solstices and equinoxes. In Part 1, the teacher prepares a horizon... (View More) table that represents the Earth’s horizon. In Part 2, students create functioning models of an existing ancient solar observatory or design their own observatory. In Part 3, students test their model using the horizon table and a flashlight as the Sun. The lesson includes discussion questions, background information about Maya astronomy, a checklist for science notebook write-ups, and a math extension activity that measures shadows. This activity is the seventh lesson in the Ancient Eyes Look to the Skies curriculum. (View Less)
In this activity, learners build a sextant to measure the altitude, or height above the horizon, of an object. The activity was originally designed to accompany a previous NASA-funded educational program, entitled The Sun in Time.