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In this activity, student teams design small-scale physical models of hot and cold planets, (Venus and Mars), and learn that small scale models allow researchers to determine how much larger systems function. There is both a team challenge and... (View More) competition built into this activity. Experimental findings are then used to support a discussion of human outposts on Mars. The resource includes an experimental design guide for students as well as a handout outlining a method for the design of controlled experiments, and student data sheets. Student questions and an essay assignment are provided as classroom assessments. This is Activity A in the second module, titled "Modeling hot and cold planets," of the resource, "Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate?" The course aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales. (View Less)

In this activity, students build a simple computer model to determine the black body surface temperature of planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Experiments altering the luminosity and... (View More) distance to the light source will allow students to determine the energy reaching the object and its black body temperature. The activity builds on student outcomes from activity A, "Finding a Mathematical Description of a Physical Relationship." It also supports inquiry into a real-world problem, the effect of urban heat islands and deforestation on climate. Includes a teacher's guide, student worksheets, and an Excel tutorial. This is Activity B of module 3, titled "Using Mathematic Models to Investigate Planetary Habitability," of the resource, Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate? The course aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales. (View Less)

Students explore how mathematical descriptions of the physical environment can be fine-tuned through testing using data. In this activity, student teams obtain satellite data measuring the Earth's albedo, and then input this data into a... (View More) spreadsheet-based radiation balance model, GEEBITT. They validate their results against published the published albedo value of the Earth, and conduct similar comparisons Mercury, Venus and Mars. The resource includes an Excel spreadsheet tutorial, an investigation, student data sheets and a teacher's guide. Students apply their understanding to the real life problem of urban heat islands and deforestation. The activity links builds on student outcomes from activities A and B: "Finding a Mathematical Description of a Physical Relationship," and "Making a Simple Mathematical Model." This is Activity C in module 3, Using Mathematical Models to Investigate Planetary Habitability, of the resource, Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate? The course aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales. (View Less)

In this activity, student teams learn about research design and design a controlled experiment exploring the relationship between a hypothetical planet, an energy source, and distance. They analyze the data and derive an equation to describe the... (View More) observations. Includes student data sheets, a teacher's guide, and a tutorial on how to use the spreadsheet program Excel. This is Activity A in module 3, titled "Using Mathematic Models to Investigate Planetary Habitability," of the resource, Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate? The course aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales. (View Less)