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Light and optics  
Educational Level:
Middle school  
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Planetary Science  
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Become a crime scene investigator! Learners model Dawn Mission scientists, engineers, and technologists and how they use instrumentation to detect distant worlds. After a briefing to build context, students explore interactions between different... (View More)

This is an activity about albedo, which is a measurement of the reflectance of a planetary surface. Learners will classify areas on an image in terms of albedo values and then sketch their own portion of an image from space. These sketches are... (View More)

This is a lesson that applys occultations to Saturn's Moon Enceladus. Learners will establish whether Saturn’s small moon, Enceladus, has an atmosphere, whether that atmosphere is over the entire planet, and what creates Saturn’s E-ring. The... (View More)

In this lesson, students will explain CRaTER's purpose and how it works. They will also design (using paper and pencil) a cosmic ray detector to answer their own questions. CRaTER's purpose is to identify safe landing sites for future human missions... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

In this lesson on cosmic rays, students will explain two examples of a cosmic ray detector. Includes information about student preconceptions and a demonstration that requires a geiger counter and optional access to a small radioactive source that... (View More)

Keywords: Cosmic Ray; Radiation
Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Over $20

This is a lesson about determining planetary composition. Learners will use a reflectometer to determine which minerals are present (from a set of knowns) in a sample of Mars soil simulant. Requires the use of ALTA II spectrometers (which may be... (View More)

In this lesson, students will learn how cosmic rays were discovered and what they are - including their size and speed. Includes background information for the teacher, questions, activities and information about student preconceptions. This is... (View More)

Keywords: Cosmic ray
Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

Learners will build an open spectrograph to calculate the angle the light is transmitted through a holographic diffraction grating. After finding the desired angles, the students will design their own spectrograph using the information learned. The... (View More)

In this lesson about cosmic rays, students will describe why cosmic rays are dangerous to astronauts. Includes information about student preconceptions. This is activity 3 of 4 from The Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER).

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a lesson about using radar to search for water on the Moon. Learners will use images to search for water on the moon. Additionally they will learn how Mini-RF can identify surface features that are permanently shadowed, or lack any visible... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
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