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Discovering Plate Boundaries
Topic: Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: This data-rich exercise to help students discover the processes that occur at plate tectonic boundaries is built around four global data maps: 1) Earthquake location and depth, 2) Location of recent volcanic activity, 3) Seafloor Age, and 4) Topography and Bathymetry. Alternative versions of the activity can concentrate on examining just the volcanic data and comparing the locations of volcanoes composed primarily of basalt to those of andesite and rhyolite, relative to plate boundaries.


Discovering Plate Boundaries
Topic: Evolving Worlds: Planets, Like People, Grow and Change Over Time, Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: This is an excellent inquiry based activity through which students in upper elementary through college can make observations about the patterns of features on Earth's surface -- and draw conclusions about the movements of Earth's tectonic plates.


DPS Slide Set: A Sunlit Lake on Titan
Topic: Ice in the Solar System, Moons and Rings
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Saturn
Mission: Cassini (Saturn)

Short Description: This four-slide powerpoint by the Division of Planetary Science includes basic information for college-level introductory courses.


DPS Slide Set: Venus May Have Active Volcanism
Topic: Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Venus
Mission: Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: This four-slide Powerpoint by the Division of Planetary Science includes basic information for college-level introductory courses.


DPS Slide Set: Volcanoes on Mercury
Topic: Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Mercury
Mission: MESSENGER (Mercury)

Short Description: This four-slide Powerpoint by the Division of Planetary Science includes basic information for college-level introductory courses.


Dunking the Planets
Topic: Investigating Our Planetary Family Tree
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Our Solar System, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Asteroids, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Dwarf Planets
Mission: Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: In this 30-minute demonstration, children ages 9-13 compare the relative sizes and masses of scale models of the planets as represented by fruits and other foods. The children dunk the "planets" in water to highlight the fact that even a large, massive planet -- such as Saturn -- can have low density. They discuss how a planet's density is related to whether it is mainly made up of rock or gas.


Dwarf Planets as a New Way of Thinking About an Old Solar System
Topic: Investigating Our Planetary Family Tree, Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Dwarf Planets, Pluto
Mission: Dawn (Dwarf Planets), New Horizons (Dwarf Planets)

Short Description: This middle school activity utilizes a researched-based instructional strategy called direct vocabulary instruction to help students understand the new definitions of planet and dwarf planet.


Earth-sized Planets by the Score!
Topic: Discovering New Worlds, Space Math
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students use recent Kepler satellite data summarized in tabular form to estimate the number of planets in the Milky Way galaxy that are about the same size as our Earth, and located in their Habitable Zones were liquid water may exist.


Eclipsing the Sun
Topic: The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Body: Sun
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: Use this physical model to demonstrate how an eclipse occurs


Egg Drop Lander
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System

Short Description: Students design a package to contain and successfully land a raw egg, unbroken from a fall to the ground. While the calculations suggested in this description may be beyond young students, the challenges of designing a successful egg drop lander are appropriate for all ages.

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Last Updated: 21 Oct 2011