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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 activity, students learn about the motion of the Sun in relation to the Earth, and how geographic directions are defined. Students use a tetherball pole (or an alternative) as a gnomon and the shadow the Sun casts to determine the exact... (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 an annotated children's story about the Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres in the asteroid belt. Learners will dissect the story for real and fictional objects and places in the solar system, and for those scientific concepts or processes that... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: Free

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)

This is a lesson about designing and building an effective sunshade for a model MESSENGER craft. Learners will build a model of MESSENGER. They will use a scientific approach to solve problems and work as a cooperative team. They will discover their... (View More)

Deforestation in Brazil is presented as an example of major environmental changes occurring worldwide. By comparing Landsat images of Rondônia, Brazil from 1975 and 1992, students will analyze the environmental impacts as well as the intended and... (View More)

Water supply in the Southwestern United States depends on snow. Students discover its importance through analysis and evaluation of data, satellite images, space shuttle photos, and ground-based observations, and then apply their findings in a... (View More)

Keywords: Snowpack

In this activity, learners will use satellite images of the San Francisco Bay Area to evaluate urban development in an earthquake-prone region. They will prepare an executive summary of their findings that incorporates diagrams or images. Links to... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

This investigation introduces students to the phenomena of urban heat islands, areas of higher then normal temperatures associated with populated areas. Using Atlanta, Ga., as the study site, students begin by analyzing the population growth and... (View More)