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The difference between mass and weight are defined and described in this student-lead NASA eClips segment. The resource also includes a lesson that contains a pre- and post-test, and an activity using the Frayer model. The Real World series of NASA... (View More)

Keywords: Gravity; Force; Matter; Speed; Galileo
Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: Free

Types of clouds and their roles in Earth’s energy budget are introduced and explained through this student-lead NASA eClips segment. The resource also includes a lesson which contains a pre- and post-test, and an activity using the Frayer model.... (View More)

Learners begin this 5E activity by creating their own picture of the sun out of paint and detergent. They then make colored filters out of cellophane and paper towel tubes to simulate how specialized instruments capture and view solar images. An... (View More)

Learners design and build an airbag system that can safely land an egg dropped from a height of 3' onto the floor. This resource includes a challenge video, leader notes, and handouts. Two supplemental videos are included: 1) An airbag landing... (View More)

Learners design and build a device that can take a core sample from a potato. This resource includes a challenge video, leader notes, and handouts. Two supplemental videos are included: 1) NASA's Curiosity rover drilling into a rock on Mars and... (View More)

In this hands-on engineering challenge, learners design, build, and improve a model that allows a moving object to change direction using an invisible force. Mimicking the gravity-assisted travel of the New Horizons spacecraft, learners roll a steel... (View More)

Learners design and build a device that can pass above a surface and detect magnetic fields. This resource includes a challenge video, leader notes, and handouts. Two supplemental videos are included: 1) Measuring Magnetic Fields and 2) NASA flight... (View More)

Learners design and build a robotic arm that can lift a cup off a table. This resource includes a challenge video, leader notes, and handouts. Two supplemental videos are also included: 1) NASA's Curiosity rover using its robotic arm to probe the... (View More)

The lithograph features illustrations, statistics and science goals of the James Webb Space Telescope. The accompanying classroom activity prompts students to use the images and text to generate questions about the telescope. Students then research... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

Explore the size relationship between the sun and Earth by using tape and stickers. Learners estimate, then place and count the number of one-inch diameter stickers (representing Earths) that would fit across the diameter of a nine-foot circle of... (View More)

Using a plastic tray filled with sand to represent a planetary surface, learners simulate the effects of wind, water, and impacts. They will compare the surface effects they create with actual images of planetary surfaces- and determine the causes... (View More)

Students "observe" an imaginary new planet in our galaxy from the relative distances of a ground-based telescope, the Hubble Telescope, and a fly-by mission. After recording their observations and discussing the differences, they compare their... (View More)

Using different perspectives- the unaided eye, a magnifying lens, and a satellite- provides different information. Children make observations of common objects- along with images of butterflies, the Mississippi River, a fire in the Colorado Black... (View More)

Learners create scale models of Earth, the moon, and Mars out of playdough. Based on the size of the models, they must determine the relative distance between them and then display them at that scale. This activity was designed for use in a library... (View More)

An introduction to the Landsat satellite is presented through a poster with accompanying images, information and classroom lesson. The poster displays 10 pairs of international Landsat images highlighting changes over time from both natural and... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

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 students investigate cloud opacity, including transparent, translucent, and opaque cloud characteristics. The activity is a companion resource to an episode of the PBS series, SciGirls. The episode, titled "SkyGirls," featured NASA... (View More)

Using water to represent the atmosphere and milk droplets to represent aerosols, students make predictions and conduct investigations to discover how different aerosol concentrations affect atmospheric color and visibility. This lesson is one of... (View More)

Keywords: Aerosols

Through the use of prisms and glue sticks, this activity introduces students to a fundamental property of light: white light is made up of colors representing different wavelengths. Students use the results of the activity to explain the variation... (View More)

The effects of gravity on near-surface objects and those in Earth orbit are explored in this activity. A brief explanation, links to three related videos, a teacher's guide and short assessment are included.

Keywords: Gravity
Audience: Elementary school, Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

Students are introduced to the purposes, benefits and challenges of citizen science projects. Examples of historical and current projects are presented, and evidence is provided showing why human scientific analysis is sometimes better than computer... (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)

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)

Students build their understanding of weather and climate concepts by exploring several websites and online videos and completing a related worksheet. Students will examine NASA's role in both gathering weather and climate data and monitoring the... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

Using common items - a glass soft drink bottle, a straw, clay and food coloring - students assemble and calibrate a thermometer and then use it to measure outdoor temperatures. Students record and graph the temperature data and, additionally,... (View More)

Keywords: Temperature

Using the 5E instructional model, students discover the value of using color maps to visualize data. The activity requires students to create a color map of the ozone hole from Dobson data values derived from the Aura satellite. Students then... (View More)

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)

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

Instructions are provided for constructing a terrarium. The analogy between the terrarium and Earth is also provided. This activity is part of the Climate Kids website, a NASA education resource featuring articles, videos, images and games focused... (View More)

Through the use of the 5E instructional model, students discover the value of using color maps to visualize data. The activity requires students to create a color map of the ozone hole from Dobson data values derived from the Aura satellite.... (View More)

In this activity, participants learn about the atmosphere by making observations and taking measurements. They will go outside and use scientific equipment to collect atmospheric moisture data (temperature, relative humidity, precipitation and cloud... (View More)

In this activity, participants learn about the geosphere by making observations and taking measurements. They will go outside and use scientific equipment to investigate water in the soil by measuring soil moisture, temperature, color and... (View More)

After making observations of their natural surroundings, students uncover the intricate relationships between the atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere and hydrosphere. This introductory lesson uses the 5E instructional model. All background information,... (View More)

Students are introduced to the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite mission and its role in studying the water cycle. This webquest provides links to eight websites, allowing middle school students to explore the water cycle and its... (View More)

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)

This lesson was developed to give participants an understanding of Earth's water cycle. In this one-hour long activity, students participate in a webquest to learn about the water cycle, and then build a mini-model of the water cycle to observe how... (View More)

Students begin by determining dew point using an aluminum can, stirring rod, ice and thermometer. Air temperature is also measured and recorded. Students then use those two data in conjunction with the Lifting Condensation Level approximation, to... (View More)

Learners color images of the latest scientific data depicting the Moon's formation to create their own comic strips of our Moon's birth. The children use different-colored balls of Play-Doh® to model the impact between Earth and a small planet 4.5... (View More)

Learners model how Earth's tilt creates the seasons. They use their bodies to review the Earth's daily motions before investigating the reason for Earth's seasons in this kinesthetic exploration. The motion of the Earth about its axis (rotation) and... (View More)

Audience: Informal education
Materials Cost: Free

This module focuses on ultraviolet radiation on Earth and in space and how it affects life. Learners will construct their own "martian" using craft materials and UV beads. They will explore how UV radiation from the Sun can affect living things,... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

This is an activity designed to develop a working definition of life. Learners will conduct a simple experiment, looking for signs of life in three different "soil" samples. The experiment introduces children to the difficulty that scientists face... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

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

This activity focuses on how the search for life on Mars is portrayed in fiction and videos. Learners will consider depictions of Mars from science fiction books and video clips. As a group, children discuss what they know about Mars and compare... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

This is a set of three activities about how scientists study other worlds. Learners will explore and compare the features of Mars and Earth, discuss what the features suggest about the history of Mars, and create a model to help them understand how... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

In this activity, students peruse the Cosmic Times posters to answer open-ended questions. The activity serves as introduction to the Cosmic Times suite of curriculum support materials that explores how our understanding of the nature of the... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

In this lesson, students work in cooperative teams to understand the primary scientific advances over the past century that have contributed to our current understanding of the universe. The activity serves as introduction to the Cosmic Times suite... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

This activity allows participants to build a paper model of the GPM Core Observatory and learn about the technology the satellite uses to measure precipitation from space. Directions explain how to cut, fold and glue the individual pieces together... (View More)

The total amount of water on Earth, the places in which it is found and the percentages of fresh vs. salt are examined in this lesson. A short demonstration allows students to visualize the percentage differences and a coloring exercise illustrates... (View More)

Water is essential to Earth's living system, the biosphere. In this lesson, students determine the types of living things within an outdoor study site, use a taxonomic key to determine the predominant land cover type of their site, then predict the... (View More)

In this activity, participants learn about the hydrosphere by making observations and taking measurements. They will go outside and use scientific equipment to investigate temperature, pH and transparency of a body of water. They will use this... (View More)

This activity was developed to get students thinking about the many ways that people use freshwater and how we can conserve this precious and fundamental natural resource. Students will watch a short documentary describing issues related to clean... (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 is a kick-off activity about the solar system and Jupiter. Learners will discuss what they know, work in teams to read about the Sun, eight planets, asteroid belt, and the dwarf planet, Pluto. They use their knowledge to create a poster about... (View More)

Keywords: Jupiter

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)

This is a lesson about the size and scale of the planets in the solar system. Learners will help create and then navigate an outdoor course of the traditional planets (including dwarf planet Pluto), which are represented by small common objects. By... (View More)

Learners will build edible models of Jupiter and Earth to compare their sizes and illustrate their internal layers. They discuss how the Juno mission will infer details about Jupiter's interior by measuring its gravity field and magnetic field. This... (View More)

This is an activity about magnetic fields. Learners will study magnetic fields at four separate stations: examining magnetic fields generated by everyday items, mapping out a magnetic field using a compass, creating models of Earth's and Jupiter's... (View More)

Learners will explore Jupiter's origins through three stories. First, they model their own lifetimes by tying knots in lengths of yarn to represent key events in their pasts. Then, children listen to and act out a cultural origins story, such as the... (View More)

Learners will shrink the scale of the solar system to the size of their neighborhood and compare the relative sizes of scale models of the planets, two dwarf planets, and a comet as represented by fruits and other foods. This activity requires... (View More)

Keywords: Jupiter

In this inquiry activity, teams of students are challenged with engineering a greenhouse heat trap for use with exotic plants. The investigation requires thermometers, plastic wrap, and a shoebox for each team. Students graph data and determine the... (View More)

In this field-based investigation, students survey vegetation and small animal diversity in a study plot. They calculate the biomass of different organisms, and create a habitat action plan based on their data. A student data sheet is included. This... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free per group of students

In this activity, students analyze a 2011 article by physicist Dr. Richard Muller addressing the climate change skeptic's claim that the scientific data used to support global warming is poor or unreliable. He headed a two-year study where his... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free per student

In this guided research investigation, students investigate the process of science and build media literacy by studying the public debate about climate change. Students compare media articles from 1989-2010, and observe that statements differ... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: 1 cent - $1 per student

Students examine a text discussing climate change and identify tools of argumentation: evidence, qualifiers, claims and support. A student worksheet supports the activity. This resource is supported by Chapter 7, What is the Controversy About?, in... (View More)

Learners will 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 scientific question. The lesson uses the 5E instructional model and includes:... (View More)

Colored beads and string are used to create a model of the solar system in order to explore size and distance relationships among planets. A second model for comparing planetary sizes uses common types of fruits and seeds(either actual fruits or the... (View More)

In this activity, students learn that infrared light is reflected in the same manner as visible light. Students align a series of mirrors so that they can turn on a TV with a remote control when the remote is not in a direct line with the TV. As a... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

In this chapter, students will explore relationships between air quality and population density using the image visualization tool, Google Earth. You will learn how to download NO2 data and analyze them to develop a conceptual understanding of how... (View More)

Keywords: Google Earth
Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

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)

This is an activity about the Signal-to-Noise Ratio. Learners will engage with a hands-on activity and an online interactive to understand the terms signal and noise as they relate to spacecraft communication; quantify noise using a given dataset;... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

In this activity, students are reminded that the Universe is made up of elements and that the heavier elements are created inside of a star. They are then introduced to the life cycle of a star and how a star's mass affects its process of fusion and... (View More)

Learners will compare known elemental spectra with spectra of Titan and Saturn’s rings from a spectrometer aboard the NASA Cassini spacecraft. They identify the elements visible in the planetary and lunar spectra. The activity is part of Project... (View More)

Learners will use a spectrograph to gather data about light sources. Using the data they’ve collected, students are able to make comparisons between different light sources and make conjectures about the composition of a mystery light source. The... (View More)

Learners will look at various light sources (including glow sticks and Christmas lights) and make conjectures about their composition. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students,... (View More)

Learners will build and decorate their own spectrographs using simple materials and holographic diffraction gratings. After building the spectrographs, they observe the spectra of different light sources. Requires advance preparation to spray-paint... (View More)

Learners will explore spacecraft radio communications concepts, including the speed of light and the time-delay for signals sent to and from spacecraft. Learners measure the time it takes for a radio signal to travel to a spacecraft using the speed... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: $1 - $5 per group of students

Learners dynamically dynamically model the growth of asteroids from specks of matter. Similar to tag, the children run around, have fun, and burn off energy. Different from tag, there is science involved! The end of activity debriefing discusses... (View More)

This kick-off activity sets the stage for further explorations and activities in Explore! To the Moon and Beyond! - a resource developed specifically for use in libraries. As a group, learners will discuss what they know about Earth's Moon. They... (View More)

This is an activity about size and scale. Learners will create and walk through a distance scale model of the size of the Solar System. This activity requires a straight line distance of approximately 295 meters (300 yards).

Audience: Elementary school

With this lesson plan, students observe a demonstration of cloud formation that uses a 2L plastic beverage bottle and other simple ingredients to learn the three factors required for cloud formation. A test and a control experiment are conducted.... (View More)

In this hands-on activity, learners will build a solar cooker by lining a box with reflective material and adding a translucent cover. The cooker can be used to make food products. This activity recommends use of empty (clean) pizza boxes. This... (View More)

In this lesson plan, students participate in a hands-on activity using a plastic bottle and other simple ingredients to learn the three factors required for cloud formation. Detailed Procedure and materials, vocabulary linked to an on-line glossary,... (View More)

Keywords: Clouds

In this activity about magnetic fields and their relation to the Sun, learners will simulate sunspots by using iron filings to show magnetic fields around a bar or cow magnet, and draw the magnetic field surrounding two dipole magnets, both in... (View More)

Cloud cover is a fundamental observation in the S'COOL project. The ability to reasonably estimate the percentage of cloud cover is introduced and practiced in this activity. The Students' Cloud Observations On-Line (S'COOL) project engages students... (View More)

Students are introduced to the periodic table and the concept of atomic elements. The group discusses how all material in the Universe is composed of elements and that the atom is the smallest particle that still has the physical and chemical... (View More)

Students are introduced to the scientific tool of spectroscopy. They each build a simple spectroscope to examine the light from different light sources, particularly the Sun (Warning: Do not look directly at the Sun) and artificial lights (e.g.,... (View More)

Students are introduced to the basic properties, behavior and detection of black holes through a brief discussion of common conceptions and misconceptions of these exciting objects. They "act out" a way black holes might be detected through their... (View More)

Using the diameter of a pencil as a reference, students calculate and construct a line chart to show the relative height of several altitudinal points such as Earth's atmosphere, the beginning of space, commercial airplane flights, and the Hubble... (View More)

In this lesson, students explore how eclipses happen and why Einstein needed a total eclipse to image stars near the Sun in order to demonstrate how the Sun's mass bends the light from a far away star. Using a foam ball and a lamp, learners create a... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: $1 - $5 per group of students

In this lesson, students consider observations and inferences to determine the support for each of two theories on the origin of the universe: Steady State and Big Bang. Working with partners, students draw from a set of Evidence cards (master is... (View More)

In this lesson, students will investigate the Doppler Effect and discover how the same principle can be used to identify a possible tornado in storm clouds and investigate the rotation of distant galaxies. Students should be familiar with the... (View More)

In this lesson, students explore the cosmic microwave background to understand why a completely smooth (isotropic) background poses problems for the Universe we see today. Students will participate in an engagement activity which demonstrates how... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: $1 - $5 per group of students

In this lesson, students explore a discrepant event when they design an experiment to measure the rate that ice melts when in pure water versus salt water. It is designed to help students realize that a carefully-designed experiment may yield... (View More)

The purpose of this lesson is to model for students gravitational waves and how they are created. Students will build a simple "Gravitational Wave Demonstrator" using inexpensive materials (plastic wrap, plastic cups, water, food coloring, and... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: $1 - $5

In this lesson, students explore a discrepent event by designing experiments to test either what makes a "come-back can" return (a can that when you roll away from you, always returns) or UV beads change color. This activity should come either near... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: $5 - $10 per group of students

Students examine CERES radiation data to understand how the Earth's tilt causes seasonal differences in incoming solar energy, and to explore how clouds, deserts and ice modulate the reflection of energy from the Sun. The investigation is conducted... (View More)

This is an activity about the period of the Sun’s rotation. Learners will select images of the Sun from the SOHO spacecraft image archive. Next, they will calculate an image scale for the selected solar images. Then, they will use it to help... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school, Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is an activity about cause and effect. Learners will investigate various online sources to find data and other pertinent information regarding reported effects on Earth for the solar events they identified in the previous activities in this... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school, Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is an activity about cause and effect. Learners will calculate the approximate travel time of each solar wind event identified in the previous activity in this set to estimate the time at which the disturbance would have left the Sun. Then,... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school, Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

This game is intended to be used at the end of a unit on weather, providing a review of cloud and weather-related concepts. A student worksheet and a list of questions for teacher use, as well as student notes and suggestions for assessment are... (View More)

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