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The nature of science  
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10 to 30 minutes  
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In this activity, students engage in long-term systematic observation to learn about the apparent annual motion of the Sun caused by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Students put a dot on a window where sunlight enters the classroom (or any room... (View More)

In this activity, students learn about the motion of the Sun in relation to the Earth, and how geographic directions are defined. Students use a tetherball pole (or an alternative) as a gnomon and the shadow the Sun casts to determine the exact... (View More)

Students become aware of the changes in visibility and sky color due to particles suspended in the air, called aerosols. They observe, document and classify changes in visibility and sky color over several days and understand the relationship... (View More)

This is an annotated children's story about the Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres in the asteroid belt. Learners will dissect the story for real and fictional objects and places in the solar system, and for those scientific concepts or processes that... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: Free

In this activity, students learn the basics of the horizon, direction and the rising and settings of the Sun and stars by making a schoolyard "medicine wheel" with sidewalk chalk on playground asphalt. Medicine wheels are stone rings constructed by... (View More)

In this interactive, online activity, students explore the nature and composition of comets by selecting and mixing different elements and compounds found in a comet's nucleus. Students then observe the results of their mixtures upon the appearance... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

This identification chart is a basic guide to observing contrails. It shows examples of the three types of contrails: short-lived, persistent, and persistent spreading. The chart is intended for use by students participating in the GLOBE program.... (View More)

Keywords: Clouds; Contrails
Audience: Elementary school, Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

In this interactive, online activity, bias is explored when the students decide which of several sampling methods are biased. They see how bias affects the percentage of irregular galaxies determined to be in the sample from the Deep Field. After... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

This tutorial on cloud types was designed for participants in the S'COOL project (Student Cloud Observations On-Line). S'COOL engages students in making and reporting ground truth observations of clouds then comparing those observations with data... (View More)

In this introductory activity, students are introduced to the fundamental tools of scientific inquiry: observing, identifying changes, perspectives and patterns. Materials needed include student journals, pencils, crayons, plastic sample bags,... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: 1 cent - $1 per student