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Instructional Strategies:
Hands-on learning  
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Planetary Science  
Educational Level:
Elementary school  
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The MISSIONMaker program uses art and the making experience to investigate NASA mission design, engineering and space exploration. Using common materials, students build a rover that incorporates six simple machines. The building instructions... (View More)

This multi-phased learning package progresses from guided engineering to an open mission-design challenge. Each step is scaffolded and includes easy-to-implement teaching tools, lessons and art activities. Learners, working in collaborative teams,... (View More)

Explore lunar phases as viewed from Earth using paper plates. While standing in the appropriate spot in the moon's orbit, students hold paper plates that depict the Moon's phase. This activity can be used to assess understanding of lunar phases or... (View More)

Explore lunar phases as viewed from Earth using a golf ball and an ultraviolet light. With the student's head representing Earth, students hold and move the golf ball to demonstrate the cause of the Moon's phases in their correct order. Related Next... (View More)

Explore simulated remote sensing techniques to observe a clay model of a planet. Observations are done from the perspective of a telescope at Earth’s surface, a telescope above Earth’s atmosphere, and from closer proximity to the planet in a... (View More)

Students analyze and interpret the accompanying large-format images of Mars taken by NASA’s Mars Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera. The analysis involves identifying geologic features, calibrating the size of those features, and... (View More)

Common materials such as sand, gravel, pebbles, shells, etc. are used to represent crustal materials from an unknown planet. Students begin by sorting, classifying, and making observations about the sample. Using that information, they must then... (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 is part of the Mars... (View More)

Learners create art inspired by authentic NASA planetary image data while learning to recognize the geology on planetary surfaces, uniquely inspiring learner engagement. This presentation and accompanying activity use the elements of art - shape,... (View More)

Learners will construct a mock-up of a planetary surface rover. They begin by exploring the importance of engineering in our society, and work as a team to build a prototype of the team's rover using student science notebooks and team sketches as a... (View More)

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