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Topics/Subjects:
Asteroids and comets  
Educational Level:
High school  
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This is a video about the IAU definition of a planet. Learners will watch 3D animation designed to illustrate the history behind the discussion defining the question, what is a planet?, and to outline some of the traits that may be associated with... (View More)

Keywords: Dwarf planet
Audience: Middle school, High school, Informal education
Materials Cost: Free

In this activity, learners replicate the scientific processes of observing, forming an explanation, revising and communicating about a model of a comet. Learners construct a model of features of a comet using an assortment of common craft supplies.... (View More)

This is an online interactive about asteroid composition. Learners will explore how scientists learn about the composition of an asteroid by studying energy and neutrons that emanate from it. Includes audio (and transcription) explaining the diagram.

Learners can read about the Deep Impact mission to encounter comet Tempel 1, including the mission, the experiment, results, the comet, the team, and how the results were transmitted back to Earth.

Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a lesson about the shape of objects in space. Learners will observe the surface of rotating potatoes to help them understand how astronomers use variations in reflective brightness to determine the shape of asteroids.

This is a lesson about the characteristics of planets, comets, asteroids, and trans-Neptunian objects. Learners will classify objects and then apply what they have learned by participating in a formal debate about a solar system object discovered by... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a video about NASA's Dawn mission to the asteroids Vesta and Ceres. Learners will follow the mission from paper to launch pad to asteroid belt and beyond. The video features the planning, instrumentation and technological challenges of this... (View More)

This is a lesson about the design and operation of an ion propulsion engine. Learners will study the essential components and variables of an ion propulsion system. Activities include an on-line ion propulsion engine simulation and design. Included... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a lesson about the science supporting the design and operation of an ion propulsion engine. Learners will study the concepts of formation and discharge of charged particles, attractive and repulsive forces between charged particles, and the... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a lesson about the path of one xenon ion through an ion propulsion engine. Learners will focus on what a single xenon ion sees and does as it goes through the reactions and processes that provide the ion jet propulsion engine's thrust. They... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free