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In this lesson, students will explain CRaTER's purpose and how it works. They will also design (using paper and pencil) a cosmic ray detector to answer their own questions. CRaTER's purpose is to identify safe landing sites for future human missions... (View More) to the moon; discover potential resources on the Moon; and characterize the radiation environment of the Moon. The lesson includes background information for the teacher, questions, and information about student preconceptions. This is lesson 4 of 4 from "The Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation." (View Less)
In this lesson on cosmic rays, students will explain two examples of a cosmic ray detector. Includes information about student preconceptions and a demonstration that requires a geiger counter and optional access to a small radioactive source that... (View More) emits energetic helium nuclei (alpha particles), e.g., the mineral the mineral autunite, which contains uranium. This is activity two of four from The Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER). (View Less)
This is a lesson about using the light from the star during an occultation event to identify the atmosphere of a planet. Learners will add and subtract light curves (presented as a series of geometrical shapes) to understand how this could occur.... (View More) The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System. (View Less)
This Hubble Space Telescope image shows an especially photogenic group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273. The larger of the spiral galaxies, also known as UGC 1810, has a disk that is distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational tidal... (View More) pull of the companion galaxy below it, also known as UGC 1813. The encounter between the two galaxies also has created regions of intense star formation. In the accompanying educational activity, In Search of ... Interacting Galaxies, students investigate galaxy interactions through a level 1 inquiry activity using the images and text from the lithograph and other resources. A level 1 inquiry activity can help prepare students to become independent thinkers. (View Less)
This is a lesson about determining planetary composition. Learners will use a reflectometer to determine which minerals are present (from a set of knowns) in a sample of Mars soil simulant. Requires the use of ALTA II spectrometers (which may be... (View More) borrowed from the Lunar and Planetary Institute or purchased online) and Mars soil simulant. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System. (View Less)
In this activity, users examine satellite images from NASA's Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) that show how much ozone is in the atmosphere over the Southern Hemisphere. They interpret the images to identify ozone thinning that develops over... (View More) this region each summer, and compare its size from year to year. Using freely-available image analysis software, ImageJ, users quantify the area of the Antarctic ozone hole each October from 1996 to 2004. Finally, they bring their measurements into a spreadsheet program and create a graph to document changes in the size of the ozone hole. This chapter is part of the Earth Exploration Toolbook, which provides teachers and/or students with direct practice for using scientific tools to analyze Earth science data. Students should begin on the Case Study page. (View Less)
This is a game about planning what to take on a space trip to Mars. Learners will decide on the appropriateness of items to take on a long trip to Mars and take into consideration the effects of zero gravity, limited electrical power, etc.
This is a series of three webpages about how humans and computers communicate. Learners will explore the binary and hexidecimal systems and how engineers use them to translate spacecraft data into images.
This online, interactive "Chutes and Ladders" type of game is for ages 7-9 and can be played with a friend or against the computer. As players land on squares, depending on the described action, they either "leap" frog ahead if they help the... (View More) environment or butterfly "flutter" back if they do not. The website includes a short explanation of why we should care about frogs and butterflies, as well as some facts about some of the activities on the game board and why they are good or not good for the environment. A printable version of the board game is also available. (View Less)
This fulldome and flat-screen planetarium show follows the creation of NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer spacecraft, giving audiences an in-depth look at the mission and how IBEX is collecting high-speed atoms to create a map of the boundary of... (View More) our Solar System. Narrated by two inquisitive teenagers, audiences will hear from the scientists and engineers that developed the IBEX mission and created the spacecraft, and get the latest updates on the mission's discoveries. The show runs 28 minutes in length and incorporates animation, scientific visualization, and video elements. It is available to museums, planetariums, and other informal and formal education venues with no licensing fee. (View Less)