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The nature of science  
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SMD Forum - Primary:
Planetary Science  
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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 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

In this activity, teams of learners will model how scientists and engineers design and build spacecraft to collect, store, and transmit data to Earth. Teams will design a system to store and transmit topographic data of the Moon and then analyze... (View More)

Learners create art inspired by authentic NASA planetary image data while learning to recognize the geology on planetary surfaces, uniquely inspiring learner engagement. This presentation and accompanying activity use the elements of art - shape,... (View More)

Students are introduced to planetary rocks, soils, and surfaces using images of the lunar samples collected by Apollo astronauts. Examining those images and participating in related activities will lead students to a deeper understanding of the... (View More)

Learners will become familiar with and use the engineering design process to sketch a reasonable drawing of the rover that will be built. The lesson uses the 5E instructional model and includes: TEKS Details (Texas Standards alignment), Essential... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: Free

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

The goal of this lesson is for students to understand how to plan a mission to another world in the solar system. They begin by discussing the path of a spacecraft traveling between planets, examining the journey from the Earth to Mars as an... (View More)

Learners will investigate various ways to improve mission design to maximize the scientific return. In the first activity, students examine how the use of flowcharts can help make computer programs error-free and efficient, in this way making the... (View More)

Audience: High school

In this activity, learners replicate the scientific processes of observing, forming an explanation, revising and communicating about a model of a comet. Learners construct a model of features of a comet using an assortment of common craft supplies.... (View More)

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