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Instructional Strategies:
Hands-on learning  
SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes  
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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

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)

This is a lesson about using light to identify the composition of an object. Learners will use a spectrograph to gather data about light sources. Using the data they’ve collected, students are able to make comparisons between different light... (View More)

This is an activity about spacecraft radio communications. Learners will explore spacecraft radio communications concepts, including the speed of light and the time-delay for signals sent to and from spacecraft. Learners measure the time it takes... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: $1 - $5 per group of students

This is a lesson about emission spectra. Learners will look at various light sources (including glow sticks and christmas lights) and make conjectures about their composition. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering... (View More)

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