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Instructional Strategies:
Hands-on learning  
SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
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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

This is an activity about how scientists use craters to determine the ages of lunar surface. Learners work in pairs: one child keeps time while the other creates a painting for the other to interpret. Cotton balls coated in different colors of paint... (View More)

This activity is about viewing the planet Mars (and others) through a telescope. Learners will go outside on a clear evening to view the planets and other celestial bodies for themselves. Using sky charts and other resources, and possibly in... (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 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 is an activity about the requirements of life. Learners will explore what living things need to survive and thrive by creating and caring for a garden plot (outdoors where appropriate) or a container garden (indoors) at the program facility.... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

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

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)

This is a lesson about measurement and cratering. Learners will read about the origin of the foot as a standardized unit of measure, work collaboratively to conduct an experiment about cratering, and collect and record data to draw logical and... (View More)

In this activity, teams of learners will model how scientists and engineers design and build spacecraft to collect, store, and transmit data to Earth. Teams will design a system to store and transmit topographic data of the Moon and then analyze... (View More)