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Instructional Strategies:
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SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
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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)

Learners model how the Moon's volcanic period reshaped its earlier features. The children consider that the broad, shallow impact basins contained cracks through which magma seeped up. A plate in which slits have been cut is used to represent an... (View More)

Learners create edible models of the interior composition of the Earth and Moon. Common food items are used to construct the cores, mantles, and crusts of both planetary objects. They then compare their structure as they are eating their models.... (View More)

Learners color images of the latest scientific data depicting the Moon's formation to create their own comic strips of our Moon's birth. The children use different-colored balls of Play-Doh® to model the impact between Earth and a small planet 4.5... (View More)

This is an activity about the history of the Solar System. Learners work in groups to determine the order of geologic events — such as the formation of the Moon and when the bright crater of Tycho formed — and arrange images depicting those... (View More)

In this activity, community members of all ages are invited to contribute photographs — taken with cell phones, film cameras, or more sophisticated equipment — of the Moon. The images are collected over the course of a month or more and posted... (View More)

Audience: Informal education
Materials Cost: Free

This is an activity about the way distance, reflectivity, and atmosphere affect the temperature of a planet. Learners will create a planet using a computer game and change features of the planet to increase or decrease the planet's temperature. This... (View More)

Keywords: Water; Climate

This is a lesson about the size and scale of planets in the solar system. Learners will kinesthetically model the order of the planets outward from the sun. Then they will use a string and beads to create a model to represent the relative distances... (View More)

Learners will record detailed observations of a simulated surface and core sample of Mars, analyze a simulated surface and core sample of Mars, compare and contrast an unknown foreign object with the surface and interior of Mars, and learn... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, Informal education
Materials Cost: Free

Learners will explore the features of Mars through a demonstration of Google Earth Mars, gather, and analyze data from multiple sources on the internet as well as print sources, develop and use strategies for reading informational text to... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, Informal education
Materials Cost: Free