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After reading the accompanying background information, students create an ice core using a tennis ball container and an assortment of dyes and craft supplies. Students measure the thickness and determine the age of each layer. As an extension... (View More)

Carl Sagan once claimed that the most important lesson we learn from studying the stars is perspective. To address this concept, this activity offers a scale model of the solar system to be evaluated. There are many versions of solar system scale... (View More)

Learners create scale models of Earth, the moon, and Mars out of playdough. Based on the size of the models, they must determine the relative distance between them and then display them at that scale. This activity was designed for use in a library... (View More)

Acting as the ICESat-2 satellite, students investigate the reflection of light photons off Earth's surface by catching and recording a number of photons. Using bouncy balls to represent the photons, students drop, let bounce once and try to catch in... (View More)

This is the third module in the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) Project Suite curriculum. Each activity is self-directed by students or student teams and utilizes online videos, data from the SDO satellite and hands-on activities to explore,... (View More)

This is the fourth and culminating module in the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) Project Suite curriculum. Student teams use information and resources from the other three modules in the project suite to create a 3D interactive solar exhibit to... (View More)

Students will use the law of reflection to reflect a laser beam off multiple mirrors to hit a sticker in a shoebox. Since X-ray telescopes must use grazing angles to collect X-rays, students will design layouts with the largest possible angles of... (View More)

This lesson plan teaches how to select the landing site for a planetary surface investigation, using the 5E learning cycle. Students will be able to determine a landing site for their Mars rover; work with their team to summarize information and... (View More)

This online Flash interactive simulates the process of discovering new exoplanets using the transit method. Learners explore a simulated star field, record data, make measurements and do calculations to discover new planets. Instructional videos and... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

Learners will use an inexpensive, simple spectrophotometer to test how light at different visible wavelengths (blue, green, red) is transmitted, or absorbed, through four different colored water samples. Clear water is used as the “control,”... (View More)

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