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Educational Level:
Middle school  
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This is a lesson about determining planetary composition. Learners will use a reflectometer to determine which minerals are present (from a set of knowns) in a sample of Mars soil simulant. Requires the use of ALTA II spectrometers (which may be... (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)

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)

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)

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)

This is a lesson where learners are introduced to chemical change and the conservation of matter during different types of chemical changes. The lesson models scientific inquiry using the 5E instructional model and includes teacher notes,... (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)

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