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Solar system  
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Planetary Science  
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Middle school  
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Common materials such as sand, gravel, pebbles, shells, etc. are used to represent crustal materials from an unknown planet. Students begin by sorting, classifying, and making observations about the sample. Using that information, they must then... (View More)

Developed as a planetarium show, this video describes the unique environment of our solar system planets and a few satellites, along with some of the challenges and possible solutions for potential human habitation on each. Two versions of the video... (View More)

This classic video explains the history, debate and continuing discussion of the definition of a planet.

Keywords: Dwarf planet
Audience: Middle school, High school, Informal education
Materials Cost: Free

Become a crime scene investigator! Learners model Dawn Mission scientists, engineers, and technologists and how they use instrumentation to detect distant worlds. After a briefing to build context, students explore interactions between different... (View More)

This unit investigates asteroids, comets, and meteoroids, focusing on Vesta, a prominent asteroid in the asteroid belt. The unit of eleven lessons culminates in having students use engineering practices to design, build, and test devices that will... (View More)

Each lesson or activity in this toolkit is related to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The toolkit is designed so that each lesson can be done independently, or combined and taught in a sequence. The Teacher Implementation Guide provides... (View More)

In this game, students use the accompanying "playing cards" to plan a mission to Mars. The mission must produce significant science returns while also meeting several constraints such as budget, mass and power. The lesson is part of the Mars... (View More)

This paper model shows the orbit of Comet ISON (late 2013) with respect to the innermost planets of the solar system. After reading background information about comets - how they form and where they come from - students cut out and tape together the... (View More)

This is a collection of mathematics problems relating to the moons of the solar system. Learners will use simple proportional relationships and work with fractions to study the relative sizes of the larger moons in our solar system, and explore how... (View More)

This is an activity about the atmospheric conditions (greenhouse strength, atmospheric thickness) Mars needs to maintain surface water. Learners will use a computer interactive to learn about Mars past and present before exploring the pressure and... (View More)