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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, student teams create a knowledge map of the essential characteristics or factors of a planet with a habitable climate, identifying range of inputs, outputs and variables of a planetary environmental system. Identified... (View More)

In this kinesthetic activity, the concept of energy budget is strengthened as students conduct three simulations using play money as units of energy, and students serve as parts of a planetary radiation balance model. Students will determine the... (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)

This is an activity about the Kepler space telescope. Learners will make a paper model of Kepler. Ideas for use include hanging all models in a display case that also houses student work. Note: the activity includes updated information about the... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: $1 - $5 per group of students

This is an activity about the planet Mars. Learners will create cratered surface models illustrating different lengths of time. Then, they will compare their models with three different surface images of Mars, placing these images in order from... (View More)

This is an activity about the position of the Moon and the Sun in the sky. Learners will use styrofoam balls to model the interactions between the Earth, Sun, and phases of the Moon. This is Activity A-5 of Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0: A... (View More)

This is a lesson about using craters to indicate the age of a planetary surface. Learners will simulate the process of cratering by using falling water drops to make craters in fine silica sand. Then, they will compare the cratered surfaces they... (View More)