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The nature of technology  
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In this lesson about cosmic rays, students will describe why cosmic rays are dangerous to astronauts. Includes information about student preconceptions. This is activity 3 of 4 from "The Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER)."

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

This is a set of four activities about spacecraft design. Learners will think like engineers as they design, peer review, and then construct and present their spacecraft to travel to Saturn. Includes a glossary, information for families, and... (View More)

Keywords: Saturn

This set of two activities are about Saturn's largest moon, Titan. Learners will listen to a narrative "told" by the Huygens probe, entitled Memoirs of a Spacecraft. Next, students will listen to some of the findngs and express those findings by... (View More)

Keywords: Saturn; Titan

Learners will build an open spectrograph to calculate the angle the light is transmitted through a holographic diffraction grating. After finding the desired angles, the students will design their own spectrograph using the information learned. The... (View More)

This is a lesson about how to plan a mission to explore another world in the Solar System. Learners will discuss the path of a spacecraft traveling between planets, examining the journey from the Earth to Mars as an example. In Activity 1, students... (View More)

This is a lesson about the role of computers in space exploration. Learners will investigate various ways to improve mission design to maximize the scientific return. In the first activity, the students examine how the use of flowcharts can help... (View More)

Audience: High school

This is a lesson about how spacecraft use gravity assists to get where they are going. Learners will explore how engineers minimize the use of fuel by utilizing gravity. In Activity 1, students explore the physical conservation laws by observing the... (View More)

Audience: High school

This is a lesson about spacecraft communication. Learners will explore the concepts of "signal" and "noise" by listening to a computer-generated signal from two different distances with no additional background noise, and then with background noise,... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school
Materials Cost: Free

Learners will investigate, discuss, and determine why humans have always explored the world (and now space) around them. Students determine these reasons for exploration through a class discussion. In the first activity, students use the Internet to... (View More)

In this lesson, learners will discover how certain snakes (pit-vipers) can find prey using a natural infrared sensor and will extend their understandings by exploring infrared technology applications. The lesson features background information for... (View More)