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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 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 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)

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

In this activity, students consider the sudden release of a tremendous amount of kinetic energy when an extraterrestrial object strikes the Earth. In small groups, they study satellite images that show possible evidence of impact events. To... (View More)

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)