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National Science Education Standards:
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Instructional Strategies:
Nonlinguistic representations  
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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 draw a circle with a single focus, an ellipse with two foci close together, and an ellipse with two foci far apart, and compare the shapes. Learners then measure the Sun in four images each taken in a different season,... (View More)

In this activity about spectroscopy, learners build a spectroscope, learn about graphing spectra, and then identify elements in gas tubes using their spectra. The activity concludes as learners graph the spectra of different materials. Essential... (View More)

This is an activity about perspective. Learners will examine pictures of objects up close and far away to try and figure out what they are. Then, given an image of a star and the Sun and through discussion about the differences and similarities of... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: Free

In this activity about the Sun's influence on plant growth, learners will create a plant box and observe that a plant will grow towards the Sun, its primary source of energy. By periodically collecting data on the growth of the plant, they can come... (View More)

This is an activity about the motion of the Earth around the Sun. Learners will act out the motions of Earth as it orbits around the Sun over the course of one year, starting with modeling one day, then one year, and finally the months.

This is a lesson about how to plan a mission to explore another world in the Solar System. Learners will discuss the path of a spacecraft traveling between planets, examining the journey from the Earth to Mars as an example. In Activity 1, students... (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 kinesthetic activity, learners act out the rotation and revolution motions of Earth around the Sun over the course of one year. Learners also physically model the tilt of the Earth and will identify the summer and winter solstice and vernal... (View More)

This is a lesson about the distribution of dust in the solar system. Learners will use data from the Student Dust Counter (SDC) Data Viewer to establish any trends in the distribution of dust. Students record the number of dust particles, or hits,... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school