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Hands-on learning  
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Middle school  
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Students combine science and systems engineering to develop a mission to search for life in our solar system. The mission must meet budgetary, mass and power constraints while still producing significant science. An extensive set of "equipment... (View More)

In this game, students use the accompanying "playing cards" to plan a mission to Mars. The mission must produce significant science returns while also meeting several constraints such as budget, mass and power. The lesson uses the 5E instructional... (View More)

This is an activity about electromagnetism and the Sun. First, learners will do a KWL activity using six vocabulary words. Next, they will build an electromagnet and investigate how it works. Finally, learners will relate the workings of their... (View More)

This is an activity about image resolution. Learners will recreate a solar image taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) using various sizes of building bricks, and discuss how their recreations relate to image resolution. Learners will also... (View More)

This is an activity about Earth's magnetic field. Learners will construct a soda bottle magnetometer, collect data, and analyze the results to detect magnetic storm events. Ideally, learners should collect data for at least a month. If several... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

This paper model shows the orbit of Comet ISON (late 2013) with respect to the innermost planets of the solar system. After reading background information about comets - how they form and where they come from - students cut out and tape together the... (View More)

This is an activity about using models to solve a problem. Learners will build four models of the MMS satellites using fabrication software. Their designs will based upon observations and data collected through prior activities (in the educator's... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

This is an activity about magnetism. Learners will experiment using horseshoe and bar magnets along with various materials in order to identify the effects of magnets on each other and on other materials. This is the third activity as part of the... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

Students will be introduced to the causes, locations, and hazards of landslides, as well as the role of satellite observations in predicting and studying them. To begin, students investigate the amount of precipitation sufficient to cause a... (View More)

The total amount of water on Earth, the places in which it is found and the percentages of fresh vs. salt are examined in this lesson. A short demonstration allows students to visualize the percentage differences and a coloring exercise illustrates... (View More)