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NuSTAR has a 10-meter rigid mast that separates the optics from the detector. Inspired by this, students will design, test, and build a lightweight mast 1 meter tall that can fully support the weight of a typical hardcover textbook (~2 kg). The... (View More) footprint of the mast must be no larger than 11" x 14". This activity is from the NuSTAR Educators Guide: X-Rays on Earth and from Space, which focuses on the science and engineering design of NASA's NuSTAR mission. The guide includes a standards matrix, assessment rubrics, instructor background materials, and student handouts. (View Less)

Students will use the law of reflection to reflect a laser beam off multiple mirrors to hit a sticker in a shoebox. Since X-ray telescopes must use grazing angles to collect X-rays, students will design layouts with the largest possible angles of... (View More) reflection. This activity is from the NuSTAR Educators Guide: X-Rays on Earth and from Space, which focuses on the science and engineering design of NASA's NuSTAR mission. The guide includes a standards matrix, assessment rubrics, instructor background materials, and student handouts. (View Less)

This activity uses Dr. Drake's framework to have students consider the implications of each term and make their own estimates of life in the Milky Way galaxy. This activity is part of a guide that was developed in conjunction with the Cosmic... (View More) Questions exhibit and complements a museum visit. However, the activities can also be used independently. The format is flexible, and educators can pick and choose the materials that are most appropriate for their students. (View Less)

In this activity, students survey other people to find out their thoughts about life beyond Earth and compare their ideas with visitors to the Cosmic Questions exhibit. Students can also analyze their survey data to see whether there is any... (View More) variation or patterns in answers from men and women or people of different ages. To do this, students will need to design their own method for tracking demographic data. This activity is part of the "Cosmic Questions Educator's Guide" that was developed to support the Cosmic Questions exhibit. Activities in the guide can be used in conjunction with or independently of the exhibit. (View Less)

This lesson is comprised of three parts grouped to enable student understanding of classifying organisms. In part one of the lesson, students classify imaginary organisms represented by a mix of breakfast cereals, candies, nuts, raisins, etc.... (View More) according to similar characteristics. Students use a flow chart to show the characteristics by which they divided the imaginary organisms into groups. In part two, students classify a series of single-celled organisms using a dichotomous key. In part 3, students apply skills acquired from the previous activities to create a dichotomous key for their specimens from the first activity. These activities are part of an astrobiology guide called the "Fingerprints of Life" which contains background information for the student, worksheets, extension activities, suggested assessments, and alignment to standards. (View Less)

This lesson is comprised of four parts grouped to enable student appreciation of the importance making accurate scientific observations, descriptions, and drawings. In part one, The Truth is Out There, students describe an object given to them by... (View More) their instructor to illustrate the importance of good descriptive skills in scientific observation. In part two, Who Knows?, students attempt to draw and identify a creature based on another student’s description which will emphasize that detailed accuracy is necessary. In part three, Tell It Like It Is!, students make new descriptions, using accurate observations and measurements of what they see. In part four, Truth Revealed, students assess the completeness of the more detailed descriptions. These activities are part of an astrobiology guide called the "Fingerprints of Life" which contains background information for students, worksheets, extension activities, suggested assessments, and alignment to standards. (View Less)

In these activities, students investigate how gamma ray bursts emit energy in beams (as opposed to emitting light in all directions) and investigate the implications of this on the total number of gamma ray bursts seen in the universe. This activity... (View More) uses Gamma-ray Bursts as an engagement tool to teach selected topics in physical science and mathematics. In addition, the guide features background information, assessment information, student worksheets, extension and transfer activities, and detailed information about the physical science and mathematics content standards for grades 9-12. This is Activity 4 of 4 in the guide which accompanies the educational wall sheet, titled Angling for Gamma-ray Bursts. (View Less)

In this activity, students look at the distribution of aluminum foil balls arranged in a circle on the floor, and compare them to the distribution of gamma-ray bursts on the sky. This activity uses Gamma-ray Bursts as an engagement tool to teach... (View More) selected topics in physical science and mathematics. In addition to the activities, it features background information, assessment information, student worksheets, extension and transfer activities, and detailed information about the physical science and mathematics content standards for grades 9-12. This is Activity 3 of 4 in the guide which accompanies the educational wall sheet titled Angling for Gamma-ray Bursts (View Less)

In this activity, students solve exponential equations where the unknown is contained in the exponent. Students learn that taking base-10 or base-2 logs pulls down the exponent, allowing the unknown to be isolated and solved. This activity is... (View More) activity C3 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure, compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)

In this activity students convert antilogs to logs, and logs to antilogs using scientific notation as an intermediate step. They will thereby develop a look-up table for solving math problems by using logarithms. This is activity D2 in the "Far Out... (View More) Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure,compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)