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In this hands-on activity, learners begin by estimating the size of each planet in our Solar System and Pluto and making each out of playdough or a similar material. Then, learners follow specific instructions to divide a mass of playdough into the... (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)

This is an activity about observing and mapping sunspots by direct solar observation. Learners will use a small telescope, binoculars, or a Sunspotter to create a projected image of the Sun and trace the position of any observed sunspots on a piece... (View More)

This is an activity about solar rotation and sunspot motion. Learners will use a sphere or ball to model the Sun and compare the observed lateral motion of sunspots to their line-of-sight motion. This is Activity 1 of the Space Weather Forecast... (View More)

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

This is a lesson about ice worlds in the outer planetary regions and the role they play in understanding the Solar System. Learners will role-play stories connecting science-related literature to ice worlds, view and interpret space-based images of... (View More)

This is a lesson about detecting ice on the permanently shadowed craters of Mercury and the Moon. Learners will consider what might be in that ice and will examine why the polar regions of Earth, Mercury and the Moon are colder than elsewhere on the... (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)

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)