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This is a lesson about detecting atmospheres of planets. Learners will explore stellar occultation events (by interpreting light curves) to determine if an imaginary dwarf planet “Snorkzat” has an atmosphere. The activity is part of Project... (View More)

This is an activity about detecting elements by using light. Learners will develop and apply methods to identify and interpret patterns to the identification of fingerprints. They look at fingerprints of their classmates, snowflakes, and finally... (View More)

This is a math-science integrated unit about spectrographs. Learners will find and calculate the angle that light is transmitted through a holographic diffraction grating using trigonometry. After finding this angle, the students will build their... (View More)

Audience: High school

In this lesson, students will explain CRaTER's purpose and how it works. They will also design (using paper and pencil) a cosmic ray detector to answer their own questions. CRaTER's purpose is to identify safe landing sites for future human missions... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

In this lesson on cosmic rays, students will explain two examples of a cosmic ray detector. Includes information about student preconceptions and a demonstration that requires a geiger counter and optional access to a small radioactive source that... (View More)

Keywords: Cosmic Ray; Radiation
Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Over $20

This is a lesson about determining planetary composition. Learners will use a reflectometer to determine which minerals are present (from a set of knowns) in a sample of Mars soil simulant. Requires the use of ALTA II spectrometers (which may be... (View More)

This is a lesson about elemental spectra. Learners will compare known elemental spectra with spectra of Titan and Saturn’s rings from a spectrometer aboard the NASA Cassini spacecraft. They identify the elements visible in the planetary and lunar... (View More)

In this lesson, students will learn how cosmic rays were discovered and what they are - including their size and speed. Includes background information for the teacher, questions, activities and information about student preconceptions. This is... (View More)

Keywords: Cosmic ray
Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a lesson about emission spectra. Learners will look at various light sources (including glow sticks and christmas lights) and make conjectures about their composition. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering... (View More)

This is an lesson about spectrographs. Learners will build and decorate their own spectrographs using simple materials and holographic diffraction gratings. After building the spectrographs, they observe the spectra of different light sources.... (View More)