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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 the lunar cycle and the pattern of the moon’s motion in our sky. Learners will use the Sky Tonight online program to observe the different phases of a lunar month and predict where the moon will be in the night sky... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school, Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

This is an activity about the altitude and azimuth for the Moon. Learners will use the Sky Tonight online program to take data on the position of the Moon, plot it and see what kind of relationship the data has. This activity requires the use of a... (View More)

This is an activity about the phases of Venus and the planet’s variance in angular size as seen from Earth. Learners will use an online program such as Solar System Live to determine Venus’s distance from Earth for one half of its cycle. This... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school, Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

Net Radiative Flux (NRF) is used to determine the flow of solar energy in and out of the Earth system. NRF is influenced by seasonal variations related to the tilt of the Earth's axis and degree of cloud cover as well as Earth’s surface features.... (View More)

Keywords: Solar energy
Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free

In this activity, students build a simple computer model to determine the black body surface temperature of planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Experiments altering the luminosity and... (View More)

Students explore how mathematical descriptions of the physical environment can be fine-tuned through testing using data. In this activity, student teams obtain satellite data measuring the Earth's albedo, and then input this data into a... (View More)

This is an activity about using spectrogram plots as an indicator of magnetic activity on Earth. Learners will analyze spectrogram data and compare it to local Kp indices in an attempt to determine global magnetic storminess. This activity uses real... (View More)

Audience: High school, Higher education
Materials Cost: Free

This activity is about planetary climate. Once familiar with the factors that determine a planet's surface temperature, learners will use an interactive spreadsheet model of a planet's atmosphere to determine if greenhouse gases, luminosity of the... (View More)

This is a lesson about the survival of humans in space. Learners will predict how human survival requirements are met by characteristics of our solar system and planet. They engage in an online Astronomy Training module in which they make changes to... (View More)

Audience: Middle school