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Solar system  
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2 to 4 hours  
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Learners will use direct vocabulary instruction to learn the new definitions of planet, dwarf planet, and asteroid. The publicity generated by the International Astronomical Union's definition of Pluto as a dwarf planet in 2006 created a teachable... (View More)

This is an activity about challenges that humans face in future space travel as analyzed through news articles highlighting discoveries about the Sun. Learners will read and analyze a series of related articles and answer questions to determine the... (View More)

This resource complements a planetarium experience. However, the accompanying educator's guide and companion guides - with lessons on observing and investigating the Moon - are available to download for independent classroom use. The hands-on... (View More)

This is a lesson about displacement, buoyancy, and density. Learners will understand why ice floats. Includes background information, teacher notes, assessment criteria, and related resources; activities are differentiated for Pre-K-grade 2 and... (View More)

This is a detailed lesson about space and how Earth fits in it. Learners will consider the essential question, "What is space?" Activities include small group miming, speaking, drawing, and/or writing about space and the evidence for ice in space.... (View More)

Learners will explore the difference between natural and artificial satellites and use images taken by robotic spacecraft and telescopes to gain an understanding of the Earth's place in space. Requires the books "Me on the Map" by Joan Sweeney and... (View More)

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 are changes in energy and fuel consumption as a result of variable changes... (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 skills as they enact a story of comets... (View More)

In this activity, student teams design small-scale physical models of hot and cold planets, (Venus and Mars), and learn that small scale models allow researchers to determine how much larger systems function. There is both a team challenge and... (View More)

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)