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Asteroids and comets  
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Leonard Nimoy narrates this a video about NASA's Dawn mission to the asteroids Vesta and Ceres. Learners will follow the mission from paper to launch pad to asteroid belt and beyond. The video features the planning, instrumentation and technological... (View More)

This is a lesson about the design and operation of an ion propulsion engine. Learners will study the essential components and variables of an ion propulsion system. Activities include an on-line ion propulsion engine simulation and design. Included... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a lesson about the science supporting the design and operation of an ion propulsion engine. Learners will study the concepts of formation and discharge of charged particles, attractive and repulsive forces between charged particles, and the... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is an activity about motion in a frame of reference. Learners will develop an understanding that motion is relative by reading the text "Frames of Reference." As a follow-up to the reading, students engage in a writing-to-learn strategy that... (View More)

Audience: High school

This is a lesson/briefing about the Dawn mission and the significance of its ion propulsion system. Learners will consider cases of science fact versus science fictions, study the challenges of the Dawn mission, and apply the "History Frame"... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

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)

This is a lesson about the path of one xenon ion through an ion propulsion engine. Learners will focus on what a single xenon ion sees and does as it goes through the reactions and processes that provide the ion jet propulsion engine's thrust. They... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

This online, interactive activity challenges students to use image and text-based clues to identify solar system objects. This activity has a game-like format during which students collect cards that depict solar system objects such as planets,... (View More)

This is an annotated children's story about the Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres in the asteroid belt. Learners will dissect the story for real and fictional objects and places in the solar system, and for those scientific concepts or processes that... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: Free

This online activity introduces the importance of meteorites to the understanding of the origin of the Solar System. Learners will use a key to determine if samples are meteorites. Finding meteorites can be difficult because most meteorites look... (View More)