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Educational Level:
Middle school  
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Lesson or lesson plan  
Instructional Strategies:
Nonlinguistic representations  
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In this lesson, students observe the surface of rotating potatoes to help them understand how astronomers can sometimes determine the shape of asteroids from variations in reflective brightness.

This is an activity about how the Earth's axial tilt causes its seasons. Learners will make a model using polystyrene spheres and a light bulb to represent the Earth-Sun system, showing why the tilt of the Earth’s spin axis causes its seasons due... (View More)

Keywords: NSTA2013
Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: $1 - $5 per student

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)

This is a lesson about detecting ice on the permanently shadowed craters of Mercury and the Moon. Learners will consider what might be in that ice and will examine why the polar regions of Earth, Mercury and the Moon are colder than elsewhere on the... (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 the concept of direct versus indirect sunlight. Learners construct and use a sun angle analyzer to investigate the effect of angle on area illuminated. The fraction of light on each square of the analyzer is then calculated... (View More)

In this activity, students simulate how light collected from a space object converts into binary data and reconverts into an image of the object. A pencil and paper activity demonstrates how astronomical spacecraft and computers create images of... (View More)

One of the greatest mysteries of all is what causes gamma ray bursts. These bursts are the most powerful explosions in the Universe and occur about once a day. Their origin is unknown, although there are several theories. Students learn about NASA's... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

Learners will construct a pinhole camera and, using the projected image of the Sun, calculate its diameter. After calculating the diameter of the Sun, learners will create a classroom sized scale model of the Sun and Earth. This activity requires... (View More)

Explore lunar phases as viewed from Earth using a golf ball and an ultraviolet light. With the student's head representing Earth, students hold and move the golf ball to demonstrate the cause of the Moon's phases in their correct order. Related Next... (View More)

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