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Solar system  
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Computer simulations/models/visualizations  
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How effective would solar cells be in any particular area of the United States? In this activity, students answer that question by analyzing graphs of incoming solar radiation. Students will download two solar radiation graphs, one based on latitude... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

This is an activity about how the Sun can affect the Earth's atmosphere, specifically the ionosphere. Learners will use real data from a Sudden Ionosphere Disturbance Monitor, or SID Monitor, to identify the signatures in the graphed data that can... (View More)

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 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)

In this activity, students pose several hypotheses for what will happen if you continue heating or supplying energy to the hot and cold planet models (Mercury, Mars, Venus, and Earth) and then test their hypotheses using a spreadsheet based... (View More)

In this activity, students simulate the interaction of variables, including carbon dioxide, in a radiation balance exercise using a spreadsheet-based radiation balance model. Through a series of experiments, students attempt to mimic the surface... (View More)

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