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This is an activity about the way distance, albedo, and atmosphere affect the temperature of a planet. Learners will create a planet using a computer game and change features of the planet to increase or decrease the planet's temperature. They will... (View More)

This is an activity about the atmospheric conditions (greenhouse strength, atmospheric thickness) Mars needs to maintain surface water. Learners will use a computer interactive to learn about Mars past and present before exploring the pressure and... (View More)

This is an activity about how much atmospheric pressure is needed on Mars to maintain surface water and why the planet does not have surface water today. Learners will use a computer interactive to learn about Mars past and present before exploring... (View More)

Keywords: Triple Point; Climate

This is a lesson that applys occultations to Saturn's Moon Enceladus. Learners will establish whether Saturn’s small moon, Enceladus, has an atmosphere, whether that atmosphere is over the entire planet, and what creates Saturn’s E-ring. The... (View More)

This is a lesson about using the light from the star during an occultation event to identify the atmosphere of a planet. Learners will add and subtract light curves (presented as a series of geometrical shapes) to understand how this could occur.... (View More)

Learners will compare known elemental spectra with spectra of Titan and Saturn’s rings from a spectrometer aboard the NASA Cassini spacecraft. They identify the elements visible in the planetary and lunar spectra. The activity is part of Project... (View More)

Learners will interpret spectral graphs to determine the atmospheric composition of Earth, Venus, and Mars, and then mathematically compare the amount of the greenhouse gas, CO2, on these planets. Students will brainstorm what things, along with... (View More)

This is a lesson about detecting atmospheres of planets. Learners will explore stellar occultation events (by interpreting light curves) to determine if an imaginary dwarf planet "Snorkzat" has an atmosphere. The activity is part of Project Spectra,... (View More)

Learners will use the inquiry process to explore the affect of atmosphere on the temperature of a planet. They create a model of the system to test. They then create a concept map of the planetary temperature system. The lesson models scientific... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

Learners will look for the relationship between atmospheric mass and other characteristics of a planet. When the results are not completely conclusive, the students explore possible causes of discrepancies in the data. They conclude that gravity,... (View More)

Keywords: habitable zone
Audience: Middle school
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