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Plasma Wars

Plasma Wars

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Short Description: Students use iron powder to model the solar wind, moving under pressure created by a pipette, encountering and interacting with an enclosed magnetic field. The student text introduces the idea of planetary diversity not only in the shape, size, and strength of the planetary magnetospheres, but also in the types and sources of the high-energy charged particles that occupy them.

Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields

Grade Level: 5-8

Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Earth

Mission: Genesis (Our Solar System)

Science Education Standards:


By the end of the 2nd grade, students should know that
  • Magnets can be used to make some things move without being touched. 4G/P2

By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that

  • Without touching them, a magnet pulls on all things made of iron and either pushes or pulls on other magnets. 4G/E2
  • Without touching them, an object that has been electrically charged pulls on all other uncharged objects and may either push or pull other charged objects. 4G/E3*

Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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Last Updated: 14 Mar 2014