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Topics/Subjects:
Solar system  
SMD Forum - Primary:
Earth Science  
Instructional Strategies:
Guided inquiry  
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This activity is designed to introduce students to planetary geologic features and processes. First, students will use NASA satellite images to identify geologic surface features on the "Blue Marble" (Earth), and will explore the connection between... (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)

In this activity, student teams design and conduct a scientific investigation in which they explore the conditions necessary for life. They conduct observations of environmental conditions both indoor and outdoor, and determine the range of... (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 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)

In this activity, students compute the strengths of the gravitational forces exerted on the Moon by the Sun and by the Earth, and demonstrate the actual shape of the Moon's orbit around the Sun. The lesson begins with students' assumptions about the... (View More)

In this problem-based learning (PBL) module, students take on the role of Captain aboard the fictional good ship Low Bid, the first manned spacecraft to orbit Mars. Their challenge: to choose a safe, interesting landing spot, using old Viking images... (View More)

Keywords: Mars; Image analysis
Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

Satellite images of Mercury and Mars are used to illustrate craters and generate a discussion about their cause. After comparing those images with one of Earth, students explore the reason for the lack of visible craters on our planet. The abundance... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: 1 cent - $1 per student

Searching the six satellite images of Mars provided in this investigation, students identify and locate areas that possibly sustained life in the past, might now sustain life, or could in the future. The URL opens to the investigation directory,... (View More)

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