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Learners will compare known elemental spectra with spectra of Titan and Saturn’s rings from a spectrometer aboard the NASA Cassini spacecraft. They identify the elements visible in the planetary and lunar spectra. The activity is part of Project... (View More)

Learners will interpret spectral graphs to determine the atmospheric composition of Earth, Venus, and Mars, and then mathematically compare the amount of the greenhouse gas, CO2, on these planets. Students will brainstorm what things, along with... (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)

In this lesson, learners will use images to observe and compare the surfaces of two comet nuclei from close range. Separate teachers guides and students guides are provided. Supplementary resources needed for the lesson are provided and include... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

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 activity is designed to introduce students to planetary geologic features and processes. First, students will use NASA satellite images to identify geologic surface features on the "Blue Marble" (Earth), and will explore the connection between... (View More)

Learners will use direct vocabulary instruction to learn the new definitions of planet, dwarf planet, and asteroid. The publicity generated by the International Astronomical Union's definition of Pluto as a dwarf planet in 2006 created a teachable... (View More)

This is an activity about motion in a frame of reference. Learners will develop an understanding that motion is relative by reading the text "Frames of Reference." As a follow-up to the reading, students engage in a writing-to-learn strategy that... (View More)

Audience: High school

This is a lesson about the field of astrobiology, the study of life in the universe, and ice as a preservative for evidence of life. Learners will consider the relationship between ice and life as they investigate the conditions required for life to... (View More)

This is a detailed lesson about space and how Earth fits in it. Learners will consider the essential question, "What is space?" Activities include small group miming, speaking, drawing, and/or writing about space and the evidence for ice in space.... (View More)