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Instructional Strategies:
Hands-on learning  
Educational Level:
Elementary school  
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Students participate in a series of activities to discover how astronomers use computers to create images and understand data. No programming experience is required; students will use to complete such activities as creating a color,... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school, Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

In this activity, students create a scale model depicting the vertical distance from Earth’s surface to various features and objects, including Earth’s atmospheric layers, the Van Allen Radiation Belts, and geocentric satellites. Students also... (View More)

This is an activity about constellations. Learners will make a "star finder" toy and play a game to find a constellation in the night sky.

This is a lesson about the electromagnetic spectrum. Learners begin by arranging a set of picture cards; in the discussion afterwards, this activity is related to the electromagnetic spectrum as an arrangement of energy waves. Next, using a... (View More)

This is an activity about size and scale. Learners will create and walk through a distance scale model of the size of the Solar System. This activity requires a straight line distance of approximately 295 meters (300 yards).

Audience: Elementary school

In this hands-on activity, learners begin by estimating the size of each planet in our Solar System and Pluto and making each out of playdough or a similar material. Then, learners follow specific instructions to divide a mass of playdough into the... (View More)

This is an activity about the size of the Sun. Learners will construct a pinhole camera and, using the projected image of the Sun, calculate its diameter. After calculating the diameter of the Sun, learners will create a classroom sized scale model... (View More)

This is an activity exploring the concept that distance affects how we perceive an object's size, specifically pertaining to the size of the Sun and the Moon as seen from Earth. Learners will complete a hands on activity where two balls of differing... (View More)

Keywords: NSTA2013
Audience: Elementary school

This is a lesson about ice worlds in the outer planetary regions and the role they play in understanding the Solar System. Learners will role-play stories connecting science-related literature to ice worlds, view and interpret space-based images of... (View More)

This is an activity about sampling specifically in astronomy. Learners will make a sampling window in order to estimate the number of stars in the sky visible to the unaided eye. After, they will discuss how to estimate the effect of different... (View More)