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Middle school  
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1 to 2 hours  
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This is an activity about satellite design. Learners will create a satellite model to determine which shape will provide a steady minimum current output from solar panels, given a fixed position light source. After, as a group, they will assess... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

In this activity, students learn that light carries information. Students also discover that infrared (IR) radiation is a form of light that in some cases behaves like visible light and in other cases behaves very differently. For example, some... (View More)

This is a lesson about detecting atmospheres of planets. Learners will explore stellar occultation events (by interpreting light curves) to determine if an imaginary dwarf planet "Snorkzat" has an atmosphere. The activity is part of Project Spectra,... (View More)

This is an activity about detecting elements by using light. Learners will develop and apply methods to identify and interpret patterns to the identification of fingerprints. They look at fingerprints of their classmates, snowflakes, and finally... (View More)

In this activity, students are introduced to light and colored gels (filters). Students make and test predictions about light and color using gels; learn about the importance of gels (filters) to astronomers; then analyze images taken with regular... (View More)

This is a lesson that applys occultations to Saturn's Moon Enceladus. Learners will establish whether Saturn’s small moon, Enceladus, has an atmosphere, whether that atmosphere is over the entire planet, and what creates Saturn’s E-ring. The... (View More)

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)

In this activity, students build a photocell detector, and use it to detect different colors of light in a spectrum. Then they place the detector just outside the red region of the visible light spectrum and see that the detector detects the... (View More)

This is a set of materials about spectroscopy, including a downloadable PowerPoint presentation and two demonstrations or activities. Learners will read and/or hear about the science of spectroscopy, what a spectrum is, and how spectroscopy is... (View More)

This is an activity about how the Sun can affect the Earth's atmosphere, specifically the ionosphere. Learners will use real data from a Sudden Ionosphere Disturbance Monitor, or SID Monitor, to identify the signatures in the graphed data that can... (View More)

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