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This is the first module in the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) Project Suite curriculum. Activities are self-directed by students or student teams using online videos and data from the SDO satellite to explore, research and build knowledge about... (View More)

Keywords: Sunspots
Audience: Middle school, Informal education
Materials Cost: $1 - $5

This is the second module in the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) Project Suite curriculum. Each activity is self-directed by students or student teams and uses online videos, data from the SDO satellite and hands-on activities to explore, research... (View More)

This is the third module in the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) Project Suite curriculum. Each activity is self-directed by students or student teams and utilizes online videos, data from the SDO satellite and hands-on activities to explore,... (View More)

This is the fourth and culminating module in the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) Project Suite curriculum. Student teams use information and resources from the other three modules in the project suite to create a 3D interactive solar exhibit to... (View More)

Developed as a planetarium show, this video describes the unique environment of our solar system planets and a few satellites, along with some of the challenges and possible solutions for potential human habitation on each. Two versions of the video... (View More)

In this activity, students create a scale model depicting the vertical distance from Earth’s surface to various features and objects, including Earth’s atmospheric layers, the Van Allen Radiation Belts, and geocentric satellites. Students also... (View More)

In this lesson students use climatograms from different U.S. locations to observe patterns in temperature and precipitation. After describing geographical features near these locations, they will use graphs to compare and find patterns in the... (View More)

This program uses NASA data and resources to promote authentic classroom research experiences. These two complementary guides lead students through the process of conducting their own inquiry-based research on an Earth-focused topic. In their... (View More)

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)

This is a lesson that applys occultations to Saturn's Moon Enceladus. Learners will establish whether Saturn’s small moon, Enceladus, has an atmosphere, whether that atmosphere is over the entire planet, and what creates Saturn’s E-ring. The... (View More)

This is a lesson about using the light from the star during an occultation event to identify the atmosphere of a planet. Learners will add and subtract light curves (presented as a series of geometrical shapes) to understand how this could occur.... (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)

This is a lesson about using radar to search for water on the Moon. Learners will use images to search for water on the moon. Additionally they will learn how Mini-RF can identify surface features that are permanently shadowed, or lack any visible... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

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 interpret spectral graphs to determine the atmospheric composition of Earth, Venus, and Mars, and then mathematically compare the amount of the greenhouse gas, CO2, on these planets. Students will brainstorm what things, along with... (View More)

This is a lesson about detecting atmospheres of planets. Learners will explore stellar occultation events (by interpreting light curves) to determine if an imaginary dwarf planet "Snorkzat" has an atmosphere. The activity is part of Project Spectra,... (View More)

This is an activity about detecting elements by using light. Learners will develop and apply methods to identify and interpret patterns to the identification of fingerprints. They look at fingerprints of their classmates, snowflakes, and finally... (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 different ways of displaying visual spectra, including colored "barcode" spectra, like those produced by a diffraction grating, and line plots displaying intensity versus color, or wavelength. Students learn that a diffraction... (View More)

In this lesson, 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 include... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

Math skills are applied throughout this investigation of windows. Starting with basic window shapes, students determine area and complete a cost analysis, then do the same for windows of unconventional shapes. Students will examine photographs taken... (View More)

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

The activity introduces students to aspects of the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and litho/geosphere and how they are interrelated. It is designed to promote an interest in authentic investigations of Earth using images acquired by astronauts... (View More)

This module is about collaboration and communication strategies that are used during mission design. Learners will strengthen their understanding of and ability to use collaborative processes and communication practices to clarify, conceptualize,... (View More)

In this lesson, students observe the surface of rotating potatoes to help them understand how astronomers can sometimes determine the shape of asteroids from variations in reflective brightness.

This activity is designed to introduce students to planetary geologic features and processes. First, students will use NASA satellite images to identify geologic surface features on the "Blue Marble" (Earth), and will explore the connection between... (View More)

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 Pluto as a dwarf planet in 2006 created a teachable... (View More)

This is a lesson about the field of astrobiology, the study of life in the universe, and ice as a preservative for evidence of life. Learners will consider the relationship between ice and life as they investigate the conditions required for life to... (View More)

In this activity, students quantitatively evaluate the accuracy of a classification and understand a simple difference/error matrix. Students sort birds into three possible classes based on each bird’s beak: carnivores (meat eaters), herbivores... (View More)

This is a activity about applying the scientific method to a design challenge. Learners will design and build a platform that will be placed on a heat source. The platform is expected to serve as an insulator for a cube of gelatin. The goal is to... (View More)

Learners will design and conduct experiments to answer the question, "how does distance and inclination affect the amount of heat received from a heat source?" They will measure heat change as a function of distance or viewing angle. From that... (View More)

This is a lesson about radiation and the use of the scientific method to solve problems of too much radiation. Learners will build snow goggles similar to those used by the Inuit (designed to block unwanted light, while increasing the viewer's... (View More)

This is a lesson about infrared radiation. Learners will investigate invisible forms of light as they conduct William Herschel's experiment and subsequent discovery of infrared radiation. They will construct a device to measure the presence of... (View More)

This activity is about the discovery of water ice on Mars. Learners will record and graph temperature data and use a model of an ice-rich and ice-free surface on Mars to examine how ice content in the martian soil would impact the temperature of a... (View More)

This investigation demonstrates the applicability of images and geography to everyday life. Using an image of a large shopping mall in Huntsville, Alabama, as an example, students will analyze the location of the mall and use of the surrounding... (View More)

Remote sensing detects both human and physical features by using seven distinct image elements: tone, shape, size, pattern, texture, shadow and association. Students are introduced to each of these elements individually through images, descriptions... (View More)

Remote sensing offers three perspectives on human or physical features: aerial (birds-eye), oblique (angled) and ground-level. Sketching a classroom object from each of the three perspectives provides students with the foundation to then complete... (View More)

The 1992 eruption of Alaska's Mt. Spurr was captured in satellite images along with photographs taken from the Space Shuttle. Students will analyze those images and photos to determine the correlation between different types of data, in this case... (View More)

Thermal images of Earth allow for the visualization and analysis of temperature differences. With the aid of ATLAS thermal images of a shopping mall in Huntsville, Alabama, students examine the impact of the addition of buildings and the loss of... (View More)

Similar features exist on the surfaces of Earth and Mars. This investigation includes satellite images of five Earth features and five Martian features, none of which are labeled. Students must compare and contrast those images to produce five... (View More)

The human activity featured in this investigation is the choice of settlement sites. Beginning with an analysis of the location of their own town, students consider the negative and positive aspects of both natural and human made features. Students... (View More)

Remote sensing, using Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner (TIMS) data, has lead to the discovery of previously unknown roads in the canyon area of New Mexico once occupied by the Anasazi culture. Students will use those images, along with maps... (View More)

Worldwide patterns and sources of aerosols are analyzed and evaluated for potential hazards to aircraft safety. Using aerosol index maps created from data gathered by the TOMS instrument, student groups will analyze and compare aerosol data from... (View More)

Searching the six satellite images of Mars provided in this investigation, students identify and locate areas that possibly sustained life in the past, might now sustain life, or could in the future. The URL opens to the investigation directory,... (View More)

The effects of volcanoes on both the environment and people are the focus of this investigation. Students are introduced to the term "buffer" and are tasked with creating a possible buffer zone around Mount St. Helens. Students begin by assigning 32... (View More)

This investigation uses three sources of information - images from space, a relief map, and a road map - to analyze the spatial distribution of human settlements. Students will use a nighttime image of the northeastern U.S. to reinforce spatial... (View More)

Deforestation in Brazil is presented as an example of major environmental changes occurring worldwide. By comparing Landsat images of Rondônia, Brazil from 1975 and 1992, students will analyze the environmental impacts as well as the intended and... (View More)

This investigation introduces students to the phenomena of urban heat islands, areas of higher then normal temperatures associated with populated areas. Using Atlanta, Ga., as the study site, students begin by analyzing the population growth and... (View More)

This is a lesson about observing and examining meteorites in a Meteorite Sample Disc. Learners will practice scientific techniques, develop skills in acquiring data through the senses, observe, examine, record, and sketch data, use magnifying... (View More)

This is a lesson about planet formation. Learners will observe and describe differentiated samples in the Meteorite Sample Disk (or photographs), conduct experiments to model the separation of light and heavy materials within a planetary body,... (View More)

This is a lesson about the connection between meteorites and asteroids, focusing on remote-sensing techniques using light. Learners will make and record observations and measurements; analyze data and draw analogies; compare samples; measure and... (View More)

This is a lesson about the important materials brought to Earth by carbonaceous chondrites. Learners will conduct experiments that simulate how the carbon material and water from carbonaceous chondrites may have helped early life on Earth, grow... (View More)

Learners will research and document some of the requirements for mounting an expedition to an asteroid; actively explore potential resources available to space travelers through research, assessment, team cooperation, and exploration simulations;... (View More)

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)

This is a lesson about the effects of large impacts. Learners will use critical thinking skills to evaluate and apply data from a narrative to a scientific selection process, will demonstrate or visualize simulations of some of the effects of a huge... (View More)

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

This is a lesson about impact craters; the relationships between crater size, projectile size and projectile velocity; and the transfer of energy in the cratering process. Learners will create plaster of Paris or layered dry impact craters and... (View More)

This is a lesson about locating impact craters on Earth using longitude, latitude, and maps. Learners will observe impact craters on Earth and other solar system bodies, discuss geologic forces that have erased much of the evidence of past impacts,... (View More)

Learners will observe and describe physical characteristics of an edible sample in preparation for describing rock or meteorite samples. They will work cooperatively in a team setting and use both oral and written communication skills. Objectives,... (View More)

Learners will view slides and read about meteorite recovery expeditions to Antarctica, explore science careers, evaluate the characteristics and skills required for curating and working with meteorites, create scientific teams, and make written and... (View More)

Learners will read about large historical meteors and meteorites falls, discuss the effects on people, and compare their reactions with those in recorded history. Suggestions for student mapping and vocabulary words are included. This is lesson 15... (View More)

Keywords: Meteorites; Reading
Audience: Elementary school, Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

Learners will conduct an investigation, observe and record the physical characteristics of an unknown rock (meteorite), determine the mass of the unknown rock using math skills, determine the density of the rock, describe and classify a meteorite,... (View More)

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