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Instructional Strategies:
Hands-on learning  
SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
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The nature of science  
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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 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

This is an activity about the Moon's formation, changes over time, gravitational connection to Earth, or influence on our culture and urban legends. Learners share their learning by creating zines: small, self-published magazines inexpensively... (View More)

This is a lesson about landing site selection. Learners will work in teams to determine a landing site for their Mars Rover that best relates to their scientific question. They use technology skills to research Gale Crater through an online... (View More)

This is an activity about the rotation of the Moon. Learners use a penny and a quarter to model that the Moon does indeed spin on its axis as it orbits the Earth. They find that the Moon keeps the same face toward the Earth, but receives... (View More)

Audience: Informal education
Materials Cost: Free

This is an activity about the Moon's influence on Earth. Learners think like a scientist — with reasoning skills and a healthy amount of skepticism — to sort puzzle pieces containing statements about the Moon into two images. The "Far-out Far... (View More)

This is an activity about Lunar samples. Learners will see snapshots of the Moon's history and hold an important artifact of American history with a Lunar Sample Disk. Earth rocks and soil of similar types as the lunar samples may be provided and... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

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)

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