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Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO)  
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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 pencilcode.net to complete such activities as creating a color,... (View More)

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

This exhibit uses text and images to portray humanity's views of the universe and how they have evolved over time. It includes six two-sided panels that feature key astronomical discoveries from the past 400 years. The exhibit also highlights the... (View More)

In this introductory activity, students are introduced to the fundamental tools of scientific inquiry: observing, identifying changes, perspectives and patterns. Materials needed include student journals, pencils, crayons, plastic sample bags,... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: 1 cent - $1 per student

In this inquiry investigation, students explore how light hits things of different shape and form. One real world application to this activity is understanding what we actually observe when we see a solar eclipse. Supplies needed for this lesson... (View More)

In this inquiry investigation, students learn that while the Sun appears to move around the Earth, in fact it is the Earth spinning around on its axis while the Sun remains stationary. Materials suggested for this activity include an easel or wipe... (View More)

In this inquiry investigation, students study the motion and positions of the Earth and how they affect the path of sunlight we get in different places. They discover that the Earth must be curved to account for the different lengths of shadows at... (View More)

In this activity, students become familiar with the orientation of shadows, their size in relation to the object casting them, and how the alignment of the Sun, the object, and the shadow tells us much about how shadows work. Supplies needed for... (View More)

Keywords: Angle

This inquiry activity supports student understanding of the cause of light, heat and shadow, how to measure the passage of time, and how to use rules and other measuring tools. Students make observations using shadows, a meter stick, and a homemade... (View More)

Keywords: Angle; Sphere; Model

In this inquiry investigation, students discover how a given amount of light changes in intensity when the area it shines on changes, and that change in light and heat occurs when the Earth is tilted towards or away from the Sun. Supplies required... (View More)

In this inquiry investigation, students discover that the Earth is tilted on its spin axis, and that the tilt is responsible for the seasons. Supplies required include a globe, flashlights, golf tees and blue-tak. This investigation is from... (View More)

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