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This paper model shows the orbit of Comet ISON (late 2013) with respect to the innermost planets of the solar system. After reading background information about comets - how they form and where they come from - students cut out and tape together the... (View More) pieces of the model provided to show its orbital pathway (a single page of parts that can be assembled using just scissors and adhesive). Links are provided to related classroom activities and additional resources. (View Less)
This is an activity about visual analysis. Learners will create art inspired by planetary images while learning to recognize the geology on planetary surfaces. This presentation and accompanying activity uses the elements of art - shape, line,... (View More) color, texture, value - to make sense of features in NASA images, while honing observation skills and inspiring questions. (View Less)
Learners will take and then compare the images taken by a camera - to learn about focal length (and its effects on field of view), resolution, and ultimately how cameras take close-up pictures of far away objects. Finally, they will apply this... (View More) knowledge to the images of comet Tempel 1 taken by two different spacecraft with three different cameras, in this case Deep Impact and those expected/obtained from Stardust-NExT. This lesson could easily be adapted for use with other NASA missions. (View Less)
This activity is an interactive word find game with words related to comets and NASA's Comet Nucleus Sample Return mission. Accompanying text and pictures describe what comets are and why we are interested in them.
This is a DVD about asteroids and impacts in the solar system. Learners can watch a 7-minute video of the "lifetime" of a meteor. The narrated, subtitled program includes images of impact craters on planets and asteroids, visualizations of the... (View More) Asteroid Belt, animations of collisions between asteroids, an explanation of how collisions between asteroids can create fragments that reach Earth as a meteorite, visualizations of resonances in the asteroid belt, the perturbation of an asteroid fragment toward Earth, an explanation of how meteors that impact Earth might have obtained high and low impact velocities, and visualizations of the range of outcomes from impacts by meteors with different velocities and sizes. The goal is to provide engaging and scientifically accurate animations and images of impact processes in the solar system. The program is specifically designed to dispel commonly-held misconceptions and improve general understanding of solar system science among student's grades 5-12, as well as a broad lay audience. In addition to the 7-minute stand-alone video, the DVD also contains two interactives for Windows® and Macintosh® computers. The first interactive is a version of the above program that allows students and other users to view segments in any order through answering some of the most-commonly asked questions about asteroid impacts. The second interactive, "Make a Collision," allows users to simulate asteroid collisions, by selecting the parameters of collisions between asteroids and then seeing the results. The third interactive, "ImpactChallenge," provides additional experience with simulations Asteroid Belt impacts by giving users additional parameters that can be adjusted to make a wider variety of asteroid collisions. (View Less)
In this lesson about comets, 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... (View More) include scientist and student audio tracks, and images of Wild 2, Tempel 1, and Hartley 2. (View Less)
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) the definition of a planet. (View Less)
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 activity relates to several NASA comet missions such as Deep Impact, Stardust, Stardust-NExT, and EPOXI and can be used to emulate a process that scientists and engineers follow on all missions. (View Less)
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.