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Planet Kepler-10b: A Matter of Gravity
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Hubble (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students use the measured properties of the Earth-like planet Kepler 10b such as its size and density, and by solving Newton's formula for gravity, they determine the weight of a 100 kilogram human standing on the planet's surface.


Planetary Geology: Impact Cratering
Grade Level: 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Earth Science (Earth), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: Geologists studying impact craters have combined measurements of craters on the Earth, moon, and planets with laboratory experiments to develop approximate relations between the depth of a crater (d), its diameter (CD), and the diameter of the impacting body that produced the crater (ID). To explore these relations:

  • Use the data for Arizona's Meteor Crater shown in the class handout to estimate d/CD.
  • With that result and the laboratory observation d/ID ~ 7 develop a relation between the diameter of a crater and the diameter of the impacting body.
  • Why does any single such relation for all craters serve as only an approximation?
  • Use the result to estimate the size of the impactor that produced Meteor Crater and compare it to the estimates for the dimensions given in the class handout.


Plasma Wars
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Earth
Mission: Genesis (Our Solar System)
Short Description: Students use iron powder to model the solar wind. 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.


Reading, Writing and Rings
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Saturn
Mission: Cassini (Saturn)

Short Description: These activities blend the excitement of space exploration with reading and writing.


Space Weather Action Center
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth), Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: Imagine being able to monitor the progress of an entire solar storm from the time it erupts from our Sun until it sweeps past our small planet effecting enormous changes in our magnetic field. Now imagine being able to do all of this from your Space Weather Action Center (S.W.A.C.)! By following the basic steps in the Instructional Guide your class will soon be on its way to accessing, analyzing and recording NASA satellite and observatory data.


Spinning Does More than Make You Dizzy
Grade Level: 6-8
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Jupiter, Saturn
Mission: Cassini (Saturn), DSN (Our Solar System), Heliophysics (Sun), Webb Space Telescope (Our Solar System), Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students investigate why the planets revolve around the Sun in the same direction and connect their formation to their motions in this simple demonstration.


Stardust Mission #1: Think Small in a Big Way
Grade Level: 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Asteroids, Meteors & Meteorites, Comets
Mission: Stardust (Comets)

Short Description: Students will discover what happens when impactors hit the surface of a planet using balls of different sizes, flour and cocoa.


Strange New Planet
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Mars
Mission: Mariner 04 (Mars), Mariner 06 (Mars), Mariner 07 (Mars), Mariner 09 (Mars), Mars Global Surveyor (Mars), Mars Pathfinder (Mars), Viking 01 (Mars), Viking 02 (Mars)
Short Description: Strange New Planet brings insight into the processes involved in learning about planetary exploration. This activity demonstrates how planetary features are discovered by the use of remote sensing techniques.


Structure and Properties of Matter: Ion Propulsion Module
Grade Level: 9-12
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Asteroids, Dwarf Planets
Mission: Dawn (Dwarf Planets)

Short Description: This module is intended to engage students and the interested public in the propulsion technology that is necessary for Dawn to complete its mission. As students interact with this module, they will gain an understanding of charges and relative charge, momentum and frames of reference, ionization and plasma, how an ion propulsion system works, and they will experiment with designing an ion engine to determine optimal conditions.


Summit Up: Comparing Volcanoes on Mars and Earth
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Earth Science (Earth), Spirit/Opportunity (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars)

Short Description: Summit Up is a 20 minute activity in which children make paper models to scale of the tallest volcanic mountains on Earth and Mars and discover a big difference between volcanoes on these two planets.

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Last Updated: 21 Oct 2011