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Instructional Strategies:
Hands-on learning  
Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes  
SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
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This activity focuses on the relationship between science of looking for life and the tools, on vehicles such as the Mars Rover, that make it possible. Learners will create their own models of a Mars rover. They determine what tools would be... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

This is an activity designed to develop a working definition of life. Learners will conduct a simple experiment, looking for signs of life in three different "soil" samples. The experiment introduces children to the difficulty that scientists face... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

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 a set of three activities about how scientists study other worlds. Learners will explore and compare the features of Mars and Earth, discuss what the features suggest about the history of Mars, and create a model to help them understand how... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

This module focuses on ultraviolet radiation on Earth and in space and how it affects life. Learners will construct their own "martian" using craft materials and UV beads. They will explore how UV radiation from the Sun can affect living things,... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

This is a lesson about landing site selection. Learners will work in teams to determine a landing site for their Mars Rover that best relates to their scientific question. They use technology skills to research Gale Crater through an online... (View More)

Learners model how Earth's tilt creates the seasons. They use their bodies to review the Earth's daily motions before investigating the reason for Earth's seasons in this kinesthetic exploration. The motion of the Earth about its axis (rotation) and... (View More)

Audience: Informal education
Materials Cost: Free

Learners color images of the latest scientific data depicting the Moon's formation to create their own comic strips of our Moon's birth. The children use different-colored balls of Play-Doh® to model the impact between Earth and a small planet 4.5... (View More)

Learners will shrink the scale of the solar system to the size of their neighborhood and compare the relative sizes of scale models of the planets, two dwarf planets, and a comet as represented by fruits and other foods. This activity requires... (View More)

Keywords: Jupiter

This is a lesson about statistics in science as it applies to the measurement of dust in space. Learners will be introduced to the concepts of error analysis, including standard deviation. They will apply the knowledge of averages (means), standard... (View More)

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