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This is an activity about the Venus Transit and how it helped astronomers determine the scale of the solar system. Learners will use measurement, ratios, and graphing to construct a model of the solar system and determine the relationship of each... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, Informal education
Materials Cost: Free

This interactive, online activity traces the history of the telescope from Galileo's first look at the stars to the work of modern observatories. Learners will read about the milestones in telescope development, witness the interplay between... (View More)

Keywords: History of science
Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

In this activity, identified as the capstone activity, students will be asked to examine and analyze spectra from a past mission and compare it to simulations of data from future missions, including Suzaku. A thorough comparison will show better... (View More)

This is a lesson about finding habitable planets. Learners will use an online, multimedia module to simulate the techniques that scientists might use to find a star system and planet that meet the astronomical conditions required for human... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

This is a lesson about habitable planets. Learners will discuss what they know about the astronomical conditions of the planets they have found in earlier lessons and what they still need to know in order to determine if they are habitable to... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

This is a lesson about the temperature on differnt planets in our solar system. Learners will explore the planetary temperature system. They explore how each aspect (e.g., mass, temperature and gravity) influences the system and the consequences of... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

This is a lesson about the amount of atmosphere a planet is likely to have. Learners will look for the relationship between atmospheric mass and other characteristics of the planet. When the results are not completely conclusive, the students... (View More)

Keywords: habitable zone
Audience: Middle school

This is a lesson about the kinds of stars that are suitable for supporting human life. Learners will characterize stars on a HR diagram and identify the characteristics of those most suitable for supporting human life. They then explore the... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

In this activity, students investigate one specific topic (MACHOs, WIMPs or hydrogen gas) related to dark matter using available resources. Students will organize their findings and present this information in a creative and engaging fashion. This... (View More)

This is a detailed historical lesson about comets, distant icy worlds often visible to observers on Earth. Learners will consider the essential question, "What are comets?" They will practice observation and "noticing" skills as they enact a story... (View More)

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