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This is a lesson about phase changes. Learners will observe ice melting and freezing under a variety of conditions and relate that to the Messenger mission. This is lesson 1 of 12 in Exploring Ice in the Solar System.
This is a lesson about designing and building an effective sunshade for a model MESSENGER craft. Learners will build a model of MESSENGER. They will use a scientific approach to solve problems and work as a cooperative team. They will discover their... (View More) own strengths, and those of others, and will witness firsthand the importance of both successes and failures. This is activity 4 of 4 for the Pre-K - 4 range of "Staying Cool." (View Less)
This is a lesson about radiation and the use of the scientific method to solve problems of too much radiation. Learners will build snow goggles similar to those used by the Inuit (designed to block unwanted light, while increasing the viewer’s... (View More) ability to see in a bright region) to understand some of the engineering challenges encountered while protecting the solar cells on the Mercury MESSENGER. This is Lesson 2 of 4 at the middle level in the module, Staying Cool. (View Less)
This is a lesson about infrared radiation. Learners will investigate invisible forms of light as they conduct William Herschel’s experiment and subsequent discovery of infrared radiation. They will construct a device to measure the presence of... (View More) infrared radiation in sunlight, explain that visible light is only part of the electromagnetic spectrum of radiation emitted by the Sun, follow the path taken by Herschel through scientific discovery, explain why we would want to use infrared radiation to study Mercury and other planets, and explain how excess infrared radiation is a concern for the MESSENGER mission. This is activity 1 of 4 at the Grade 5-8 band of "Staying Cool." (View Less)
This is a activity about applying the scientific method to a design challenge. Learners will design and build a platform that will be placed on a heat source. The platform is expected to serve as an insulator for a cube of gelatin. The goal is to... (View More) keep the inside temperature of the gelatin cube as cool as possible. Materials cost will vary, depending on materials chosen by group (within budget set by the teacher). Ties are made to the Mercury MESSENGER mission. Note: the student guide starts on p. 17 of the PDF. (View Less)
In this inquiry investigation, students study the motion and positions of the Earth and how they affect the path of sunlight we get in different places. They discover that the Earth must be curved to account for the different lengths of shadows at... (View More) different latitudes and that the Sun is very far away. Supplies required include globes, blue-tak, toothpick, flashlights, and golf tees. This investigation is from "Everyday Classroom Tools," a series of lessons focusing on the changing seasons and other aspects of our everyday existence. Each lesson contains information on cognitive development, an introductory inquiry activity, and an inquiry investigation. An introduction to inquiry in education and related educational resources (especially connections to folklore) are provided for educators. Differentiation is provided for K-2, grades 2-4 and grades 4-6. (View Less)