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The design process  
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45 to 60 minutes  
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Students will test various materials to determine if any can shield their "magnetometer" (compass) from an external magnetic field using their own experimental design. If no suitable material is available, they will devise another method to protect... (View More)

In this activity, children use common craft materials and ultraviolet (UV)-sensitive beads to construct a person (or dog or imaginary creature). They use sunscreen, foil, paper, and more to test materials that might protect UV Kid from being exposed... (View More)

Students are tasked with virtually designing a spacecraft to withstand the harsh environment of the Van Allen Radiation belts- the location of many communication, GPS and weather satellites. The details of the challenge, along with videos on... (View More)

Audience: Informal education
Materials Cost: Free

Become a crime scene investigator! Learners model Dawn Mission scientists, engineers, and technologists and how they use instrumentation to detect distant worlds. After a briefing to build context, students explore interactions between different... (View More)

This is an activity about using models to solve a problem. Learners will build four models of the MMS satellites using fabrication software. Their designs will based upon observations and data collected through prior activities (in the educator's... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

In this activity, students face an engineering challenge based on real-world applications. They are tasked with developing a tool they can use to measure the amount of rain that falls each day. Students will find out why freshwater is important,... (View More)

Students will design, build and then test a rain gauge to measure precipitation. By sharing their results, they will recognize the need for standardization and precision in scientific tools. All background information, student worksheets and... (View More)

This activity focuses on the relationship between science of looking for life and the tools, on vehicles such as the Mars Rover, that make it possible. Learners will create their own models of a Mars rover. They determine what tools would be... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

Learners will review what they have learned about scientific and engineering investigation, construct a valid scientific question that can be answered by data and/or modeling, and choose an appropriate mission for their rover that will answer their... (View More)

Learners will build an open spectrograph to calculate the angle the light is transmitted through a holographic diffraction grating. After finding the desired angles, the students will design their own spectrograph using the information learned. The... (View More)

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