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This is an activity about comet composition. Learners will explore the physical characteristics of comets by reaching into a series of boxes and feeling the materials and structures within. They will describe what they observe and speculate on comet... (View More) characteristics being modeled in each box, opening the discussion about the nature of these icy bodies and begin to compare them to other members of our solar system. (View Less)
This is a unit in 7-8 sessions about objects outside of our solar system, including galaxies and the universe. Learners will investigate the contents of the universe, why light years are used to measure distances in space, the lifespan of a star,... (View More) and detecting extrasolar planets. Finally, they will examine evidence for habitable worlds beyond earth. This is Unit 4 of the GEMS Space Science Sequence for Grades 6-8, which is available for purchase (see related link). (View Less)
This is an activity about modeling the effect of wind on a sandy surface. Learners will use trays of sand and straws to recreate surface features of images of Mars. Participants test their ideas about how some of the features on Mars might have been... (View More) produced. This is activity 4 of 9 in Mars and Earth: Science Learning Activities for After School. (View Less)
Learners will use a variety of resources to conduct research to try to find answers to the questions they generated in previous activities. They continue to work the way scientists do by communicating what they learned from their research about Mars... (View More) and present questions they still have and that others might want to think about researching in the future. This is activity 8 of 9 in Mars and Earth: Science Learning Activities for After School. (View Less)
This activity is about planetary climate. Once familiar with the factors that determine a planet's surface temperature, learners will use an interactive spreadsheet model of a planet's atmosphere to determine if greenhouse gases, luminosity of the... (View More) source, the distance of the planet from the source and the albedo of the planet can be manipulated so that the average surface temperature on Mars or Venus could support human life. Learners will then be asked to make some conclusions about these methods and suggest improvements for the spreadsheet model (see related resources for link to this model). The activity requires use of Microsoft Excel software. This is Activity D in the fourth module, titled "How do Atmospheres Affect Planetary Temperatures?," of "Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate?." (View Less)
Learners will use trays of sand and cups of water to recreate surface features seen in images of Mars. This is activity 5 of 9 in Mars and Earth: Science Learning Activities for After School.