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Explore simulated remote sensing techniques to observe a clay model of a planet. Observations are done from the perspective of a telescope at Earth’s surface, a telescope above Earth’s atmosphere, and from closer proximity to the planet in a... (View More)

Students analyze and interpret the accompanying large-format images of Mars taken by NASA’s Mars Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera. The analysis involves identifying geologic features, calibrating the size of those features, and... (View More)

Students use the research topic questions generated in the earlier lesson entitled, “Mars Image Analysis,” to refine testable questions and develop hypotheses. The lesson is part of the Mars Education Program series; it models scientific inquiry... (View More)

Keywords: NSTA2013; MSIP
Audience: Elementary school, Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

Common materials such as sand, gravel, pebbles, shells, etc. are used to represent crustal materials from an unknown planet. Students begin by sorting, classifying, and making observations about the sample. Using that information, they must then... (View More)

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)

Become a crime scene investigator! Learners model Dawn Mission scientists, engineers, and technologists and how they use instrumentation to detect distant worlds. After a briefing to build context, students explore interactions between different... (View More)

In this game, students use the accompanying "playing cards" to plan a mission to Mars. The mission must produce significant science returns while also meeting several constraints such as budget, mass and power. The lesson is part of the Mars... (View More)

This is an activity about electromagnetism and the Sun. First, learners will do a KWL activity using six vocabulary words. Next, they will build an electromagnet and investigate how it works. Finally, learners will relate the workings of their... (View More)

Learners will read or listen to a story about two sisters, Marisol and Sofia, as they explore the Sun's role in the water cycle. Additionally, numerous extension resources are included in the accompanying educator guide, such as suggestions for... (View More)

This is an activity about the way distance, albedo, 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. They will... (View More)

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