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Physical sciences  
Educational Level:
Middle school  
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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... (View More)

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 visual spectra. Learners will explore different ways of displaying visual spectra, including colored "barcode" spectra, like those produced by a diffraction grating, and line plots displaying intensity versus color, or... (View More)

This is a lesson about the temperature on differnt planets in our solar system. Learners will explore the planetary temperature system. They explore how each aspect (e.g., mass, temperature and gravity) influences the system and the consequences of... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

This is a lesson where learners trace the path that atoms take as they change form and move throughout the cycle of matter and compare this to the flow of energy. The lesson models scientific inquiry using the 5E instructional model and includes... (View More)

Keywords: Biology
Audience: Elementary school, Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a journal article and activity/demonstration about navigation in space. Learners will learn about gyroscopes by playing with a spinning bicycle wheel to demonstrate momentum, centripal force and angular momentum. First the spinning wheel is... (View More)

Keywords: Navigation

This article describes an indoor, game-type demonstration, incorporating physics (EM wave modulation), math (binary codes), space technology, and music to show how spacecraft put information into the radio signals they send back to Earth. The... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

This is a activity about how reaction wheels affect spacecraft orientation (attitude). Learners will observe Newton's Third Law (action-reaction) in the changes caused by a reaction wheel acting upon a spacecraft suspended from a support wire and in... (View More)

This is a lesson about the effects of large impacts. Learners will use critical thinking skills to evaluate and apply data from a narrative to a scientific selection process, will demonstrate or visualize simulations of some of the effects of a huge... (View More)

Keywords: Meteorites
Audience: Elementary school, Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is an activity about gravity. Learners will fill out a questionnaire to assess their ideas about how the Earth is shaped and how things fall here and at different places around the planet. Then, in small groups, learners will discuss how... (View More)

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