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Instructional Strategies:
Hands-on learning  
SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
Materials Cost:
$1 - $5  
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This is a lesson about geologic history. Learners will work together to create models of volcanic lava flows and analyze the layers that form on a planet's surface. They will sequence lava flows produced by multiple eruptions. Students will be asked... (View More)

This is a set of three activities about the distance to Saturn. Learners will use simple props to create a playground model for size and distance for the Sun, Earth, and Saturn - then walk on their scale model to Saturn. Includes a glossary,... (View More)

This is a set of four activities about Saturn. Learners will read a series of Saturn minibooks, and then use this information to answer questions and construct a poster to display their learning. The fourth activity returns to the idea of size and... (View More)

This is a set of four activities about spacecraft design. Learners will think like engineers as they design, peer review, and then construct and present their spacecraft to travel to Saturn. Includes a glossary, information for families, and... (View More)

Keywords: Saturn

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

In this two-part activity, learners compare how soil forms on Earth and the Moon. They examine different soil samples and compare them to lunar "soil" simulant. They explore how water, wind, and impactors help to make soil. This activity is part of... (View More)

In this activity, learners consider the requirements for human life beyond Earth's protection: air to breathe, plentiful food, shielding from ultraviolet light, power, etc. They then work in teams to design and construct a model of a space colony... (View More)

In this activity, learners replicate the scientific processes of observing, forming an explanation, revising and communicating about a model of a comet. Learners construct a model of features of a comet using an assortment of common craft supplies.... (View More)

This is a lesson about using gravity to assist in spacecraft navigation. Learners will relate an elastic collision to the change in a satellite's or spacecraft's speed and direction resulting from a planetary fly-by, often called a "gravity assist"... (View More)

Keywords: Navigation
Audience: High school
Materials Cost: $1 - $5 per group of students

This is a lesson about the categorization of the three domains of life on Earth and how they relate to the study of astrobiology. Learners will explore, compare, discuss, and explain the basic differences between organisms assigned to the... (View More)

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