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Educational Level:
Middle school  
Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes  
SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
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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)

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

This is a lesson about the Moon's Copernicus Crater. Learners will use observation to make their own geologic map of the Crater. They then identify crater features in a photogeologic image and use those observations to color their map with the... (View More)

Keywords: Cratering

This is a lesson about statistics in science as it applies to the measurement of dust in space. Learners will be introduced to the concepts of error analysis, including standard deviation. They will apply the knowledge of averages (means), standard... (View More)

This is a lesson about using light to identify the composition of an object. 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... (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

This is a lesson about elemental spectra. 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... (View More)

This is an activity about spacecraft radio communications. 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... (View More)

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

This is a lesson about emission spectra. 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... (View More)

This is an lesson about spectrographs. 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.... (View More)

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