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This textbook chapter traces the historical development of the modern scientific understanding of light, and reviews the electromagnetic spectrum and the Earth's atmospheric shield. The resource includes links to current news articles, and a suite... (View More)

This model demonstrates convection currents and uses water, food coloring, a cup of very hot water and a votive candle as heat sources. Movie clips of demonstration setup and convection in action are provided. This activity is supported by a... (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... (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 an activity about magnetism. In this activity, polystyrene spheres and several strong neodymium magnets are used to represent the Sun and Earth and their distinct magnetic fields. Participants construct and use a field detector to predict... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

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)

In this activity, students use mathematics to understand tides and gravitation and how gravity works across astronomical distances, using an apparatus made from a slinky, meter stick, and a hook. A description of the mathematical relationships seen... (View More)

This is an activity about the Doppler effect. Learners begin by simulating the noise made by a passing siren. After learning that the change in pitch results from movement, they investigate the definition of frequency, calculate change in frequency,... (View More)

In this activity, students are reminded that the Universe is made up of elements and that the heavier elements are created inside of a star, as they learned in the "Elements and You" activity. They are introduced to the life cycle of a star and to... (View More)

In this lesson, students explore a discrepant event when they design an experiment to measure the rate that ice melts when in pure water versus salt water. It is designed to help students realize that a carefully-designed experiment may yield... (View More)