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Light and optics  
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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 lesson provides a way for students to determine the relationship between the distance from a light source and its brightness. Once students discover the relationship, they can begin to understand how astronomers use this knowledge to determine... (View More)

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

Learners will compare known elemental spectra with spectra of Titan and Saturn’s rings from a spectrometer aboard the NASA Cassini spacecraft. They identify the elements visible in the planetary and lunar spectra. The activity is part of Project... (View More)

Learners will use a spectrograph to gather data about light sources. Using the data they’ve collected, students are able to make comparisons between different light sources and make conjectures about the composition of a mystery light source. The... (View More)

Learners will interpret spectral graphs to determine the atmospheric composition of Earth, Venus, and Mars, and then mathematically compare the amount of the greenhouse gas, CO2, on these planets. Students will brainstorm what things, along with... (View More)

This is a lesson about detecting atmospheres of planets. Learners will explore stellar occultation events (by interpreting light curves) to determine if an imaginary dwarf planet "Snorkzat" has an atmosphere. The activity is part of Project Spectra,... (View More)