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Earth and space science  
Instructional Strategies:
Project-based learning  
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This activity enables students to better understand the motion of the Sun and how we use it to measure time. Students create a "horizon calendar" at their school by carefully observing and recording the horizon and the Sun at sunset (or sunrise, for... (View More)

This is a lesson about the temperature on differnt planets in our solar system. Learners will explore the planetary temperature system. They explore how each aspect (e.g., mass, temperature and gravity) influences the system and the consequences of... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

This activity explores how ancient Sun observers made use of natural and built structures to mark solar alignments observed at different times of the year, particularly around the solstices and equinoxes. In Part 1, the teacher prepares a horizon... (View More)

This is a lesson about the survival of humans in space. Learners will predict how human survival requirements are met by characteristics of our solar system and planet. They engage in an online Astronomy Training module in which they make changes to... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

This is a lesson about the amount of atmosphere a planet is likely to have. Learners will look for the relationship between atmospheric mass and other characteristics of the planet. When the results are not completely conclusive, the students... (View More)

Keywords: habitable zone
Audience: Middle school

In this activity, students learn the basics of the horizon, direction and the rising and settings of the Sun and stars by making a schoolyard "medicine wheel" with sidewalk chalk on playground asphalt. Medicine wheels are stone rings constructed by... (View More)

In this activity, students engage in long-term systematic observation to learn about the apparent annual motion of the Sun caused by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Students put a dot on a window where sunlight enters the classroom (or any room... (View More)

In this simulation exercise, students determine where to place a hosptial using a classified land cover map to make environmentally sound land use decisions. Results are presented in a mock town hall meeting. A student worksheet is included within... (View More)

This is a lesson about the kinds of stars that are suitable for supporting human life. Learners will characterize stars on a HR diagram and identify the characteristics of those most suitable for supporting human life. They then explore the... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

This is a lesson that sets up the final project for the Astronomy unit. Learners will research the requirements for human survival and analyze the planets and moons in our solar system to assess the ability of each to support human survival. The... (View More)

Audience: Middle school