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This is a lesson about determining planetary composition. Learners will use a reflectometer to determine which minerals are present (from a set of knowns) in a sample of Mars soil simulant. Requires the use of ALTA II spectrometers (which may be... (View More)

In this activity about the Sun's influence on plant growth, learners will create a plant box and observe that a plant will grow towards the Sun, its primary source of energy. By periodically collecting data on the growth of the plant, they can come... (View More)

This is an activity about the concept of direct versus indirect sunlight. Learners construct and use a sun angle analyzer to investigate the effect of angle on area illuminated. The fraction of light on each square of the analyzer is then calculated... (View More)

In this activity about magnetic fields and their relation to the Sun, learners will simulate sunspots by using iron filings to show magnetic fields around a bar or cow magnet, and draw the magnetic field surrounding two dipole magnets, both in... (View More)

This is a lesson about the shape of objects in space. Learners will observe the surface of rotating potatoes to help them understand how astronomers use variations in reflective brightness to determine the shape of asteroids.

This is a series of five activities about geology on the moon. Learners will explore lunar stratigraphy (caused by lava flows), impact craters, the moon's history, spacecraft design in which students build models of the LRO out of edible or... (View More)

In this activity, students are introduced to the concept of remote sensing. In the course of this experiment, students will investigate heat conduction on two surfaces and understand the application of these techniques to spacecraft investigations... (View More)

This is an activity about ultraviolet light. Learners will make ultraviolet light detector bracelets and use them to experiment with artificial light and sunlight. Then, they experiment with various sun-blocking materials to see how such materials... (View More)

Audience: Informal education
Materials Cost: $5 - $10

This is an activity about modeling the apparent motion of the Sun as seen from Earth. Learners will use a flashlight, toothpick, and styrofoam model Sun to mimic the relative shadow motion produced by a sundial. The activity will help learners... (View More)

Audience: Informal education
Materials Cost: $1 - $5

In this 2-part inquiry-based lesson, students conduct a literature search to determine the characteristics of the atmospheres of different planets (Venus, Mercury, Mars and Earth). After collecting and analyzing data, student teams design and... (View More)