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Physical sciences  
Educational Level:
Middle school  
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Identifying similarities and differences  
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This is an activity about solar energy. Learners will first use computers to research and learn how solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. Next, they will calculate the surface area of solar panels board a satellite and their total power... (View More)

This is a lesson about using light to identify the composition of an object. 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... (View More)

This is a lesson about planetary atmospheres. Learners will interpret real spectral graphs from missions to determine what some of Earth, Venus, and Mars’ atmosphere is composed of and then mathematically compare the amount of the greenhouse gas,... (View More)

This is an activity about detecting elements by using light. Learners will develop and apply methods to identify and interpret patterns to the identification of fingerprints. They look at fingerprints of their classmates, snowflakes, and finally... (View More)

This is a lesson about elemental spectra. 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... (View More)

This is a lesson about emission spectra. Learners will look at various light sources (including glow sticks and christmas lights) and make conjectures about their composition. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering... (View More)

This is an lesson about spectrographs. Learners will build and decorate their own spectrographs using simple materials and holographic diffraction gratings. After building the spectrographs, they observe the spectra of different light sources.... (View More)

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)

This is an activity about the correlation between annual precipitation and plant productivity in different Earth biomes. Learners consider water evaporation, solubility and abundance relative to life on Earth and relative to finding evidence for... (View More)

This is a lesson about states of matter and their relationship to temperature. Learners will explore the conditions required for water to be in a liquid state. They discover that temperature is the essential variable. They then explore how... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
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