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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 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 definition of planet. 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... (View More) Pluto as a dwarf planet in 2006 created a teachable moment for schools around the world to consider the definitions of these concepts and how discoveries necessitate a change in the language we use to talk about it. (View Less)
This is a lesson about the path meteorites take to get from the asteroid belt to Earth and how rare it is for the Earth to be hit by a large asteroid. Three activities comprise the lesson. Learners will draw circles and ellipses to illustrate basic... (View More) shapes of orbits in the solar system (Activity A); construct a scale-model of the inner solar system, observe relative distances and sizes, plot paths meteoroids might take and manipulate models to demonstrate the ecliptic plane (Activity B); and graph the locations of Earth and a near-earth asteroid, observe the significance of time and space, and estimate when the asteroid might cross the orbit of Earth (Activity C). Activities, vocabulary words, and experimental extensions are included. This is Lesson 4 of 19 in Exploring Meteorite Mysteries. (View Less)