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A Case of the Wobbles: Finding Extra-Solar Planets
Topic: Discovering New Worlds
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students plot and analyze NASA data to determine the period of an invisible planet orbiting a wobbling star.


Active Accretion
Topic: Formation of the Solar System
Body: Our Solar System, Asteroids, Meteors & Meteorites
Mission: Dawn (Dwarf Planets)

Short Description: Students act as dust grains that come together to model early planet formation by the process of accretion in our solar system.


Air Quality at Earth Observatory
Topic: Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: These citizen science activities could be used in a high school classroom to gather and submit data on local air quality, and to analyze satellite data.


All About Ice
Topic: Ice in the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Our Solar System, Earth

Short Description: In this suite of activities, students investigate ice, learn about its properties and explore how it can change states to a liquid or a gas. Through hands-on experiences, they observe ice, find its melting and freezing point, and learn about some of its unique properties, including that ice, the solid phase of water, is less dense than the liquid!


An Ocean Below Enceladus' Icy Crust
Topic: Water in the Solar System
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.


AstroVenture: Search for and Design a Habitable Planet
Topic: Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Jupiter, Saturn
Mission: Cassini (Saturn), Galileo (Jupiter), Juno (Jupiter)

Short Description: Students role-play NASA occupations, as they search for and build a planet with the necessary characteristics for human habitation. Atmospheric science is one of several modules, and includes nine lessons.


Auroral Magnetism from the Ground (Activity 7)
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Students analyze graphs to determine the range of magnetic changes at Canadian observatories.


Best of the Solar System
Topic: Investigating Our Planetary Family Tree
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Asteroids, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Dwarf Planets, Comets, Kuiper Belt & Oort Cloud, Earth's Moon, Europa, Pluto
Mission: Cassini (Saturn), Dawn (Dwarf Planets), Galileo (Jupiter), Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: This activity introduces students to planetary research. Using some of the most famous and interesting images of the solar system, students learn to focus on details by studying uncaptioned images. Next students increase their knowledge of the planets and their features by comparing their observations to those of real researchers. Students organize their findings to infer a key difference between inner and outer planets.


Build a Solar System
Topic: Scale of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System
Mission: IBEX (Our Solar System), Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: This resource from the Exploratorium allows teachers and students to select a size for an object to represent the sun and all other sizes and distances in the solar system and distances to other interesting stars are calculated. The resource can be very good for a differentiated classroom to reduce the math requirement.


Cake Batter Lava
Topic: Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: Students use cake batter to understand how different lavas flow and the structures that are created.


Candy Gas Giants
Topic: Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Mission: Cassini (Saturn), Galileo (Jupiter), Juno (Jupiter), Pioneer 10 (Jupiter), Pioneer 11 (Saturn), Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students make two edible or non-edible models of the Earth and one of their favorite gas giants. They explore the differences in size and composition of layers through choices of materials.


Carbon Dioxide Increases
Topic: Space Math, Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Students study the Keeling Curve to determine the rates of increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.


Changes Inside Planets (Differentiation and Breakup)
Topic: Formation of the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Asteroids, Meteors & Meteorites
Mission: Dawn (Dwarf Planets)

Short Description: Students conduct experiments to model the separation of light and heavy materials within a planetary body using gelatin. In a second activity, students model the break-up of a differentiated body using frozen hard-boiled eggs.


Changing Theories About Mars
Topic: Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Mars

Short Description: Once thought to be home to life forms that built canals, the view of Mars' habitability has changed significantly over the past several decades. Keeping open-minded about new information allows scientists to fully explore options. Open-mindedness is important to the culture of science.


Conflicting Theories for the Origin of the Moon
Topic: Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth's Moon

Short Description: There are different views on the origin of the moon. Investigation results can be interpreted in different ways which are sometimes conflicting. Critical thinking and matching evidence with theories are skills that are highly valued in science.


Cooling Planets
Topic: Evolving Worlds: Planets, Like People, Grow and Change Over Time
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth, Mars, Earth's Moon
Mission: Earth Science (Earth), InSight (Mars), LADEE (Earth's Moon), Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon), MAVEN (Mars)

Short Description: In this activity, students take temperature readings from large and small containers of hot water, and graph the measurements to determine how volume affects cooling. They use this information to interpret the cooling histories of the different sizes of the inner, rocky planets of our inner solar system.


Cosmic Chemistry: Planetary Diversity
Topic: Evolving Worlds: Planets, Like People, Grow and Change Over Time, Formation of the Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Our Solar System, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Asteroids, Meteors & Meteorites, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Dwarf Planets
Mission: Dawn (Dwarf Planets), InSight (Mars)

Short Description: The goal of this module is to acquaint students with the planets of the solar system and some current models for their origin and evolution. During the explorations of the Cosmic Chemistry: Planetary Diversity module, students will make decisions concerning possible patterns or groupings of the physical and chemical compositions of internal structures and atmospheres of planets. Through classroom activities, they will be encouraged to examine some contemporary models proposed to explain the origin and evolution of the planets. In the final assessment activity students will use these experiences to predict the properties of the the missing planet that could have formed in the asteroid belt.


Counting Sunspots
Topic: The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Sun
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: Students discover the pattern created when plotting the number of sunspots over a long period of time.


Crash Landing!
Topic: Evolving Worlds: Planets, Like People, Grow and Change Over Time
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: ARTEMIS (Earth's Moon), Earth Science (Earth), InSight (Mars), LADEE (Earth's Moon), Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), MSL / Curiosity (Mars), Venus Express (Venus), Viking 01 (Mars), Viking 02 (Mars)

Short Description: This activity examines the conditions necessary to support on-going life on a planet. After considering the conditions needed for life as we know it, students select the most habitable planet, in a fictitious planetary system, on which to crash land.


Dance of the Moon and Oceans
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Sun, Earth, Earth's Moon

Short Description: Students discover how the moon's gravitational pull causes the level of the ocean to rise and fall twice a day along most coastlines through this kinesthetic activity, and consider what the Earth's tides might have been like if there were no moon.


Dancing Lights
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Sun, Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Although children this age aren't prepared to learn about Earth's magnetosphere, they may be interested in the Northern Lights, which are caused by our magnetic field. Students explore the aurora through art and writing.


Desert RATS Teacher Site Selection
Topic: Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System

Short Description: Students research and present an exploration mission timeline proposal that utilizes the scientific process to meet science objectives and mission parameters for the field site. The goal is for students to create a 3-day mission timeline of activities for exploration.


Design Challenge: How do you keep things from getting too hot?
Topic: Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Body: Sun, Mercury
Mission: MESSENGER (Mercury)

Short Description: Part of the "Staying Cool" education unit which investigates how MESSENGER can study Mercury without being damaged by the harsh high-temperature, high-radiation environment; in this activity, students design, build and test a model of MESSENGER and a sunshade.


Detecting Planet Transits
Topic: Discovering New Worlds
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students model NASA's Kepler mission observations of planetary transits (a planet moving in front of a star) by standing in a circle with model star (light bulb) in the center, and observing, through rolled up paper viewing tubes, a "bead" planet orbiting the star.


Differentiation Demonstration: Moon
Topic: Evolving Worlds: Planets, Like People, Grow and Change Over Time
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth, Earth's Moon
Mission: Earth Science (Earth), LADEE (Earth's Moon), Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon)

Short Description: Students observe a model of planetary differentiation, the organization of planetary interiors into layers of different densities. Materials of different densities are mixed in a bottle and allowed to separate into layers. The simple model illustrates how the Moon's interior became organized into a distinct core, mantle and outer crust from the debris of the Giant Impact.


Dirty Ice or Icy Dirt
Topic: Ice in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Mars
Mission: Phoenix (Mars)

Short Description: Large amounts of water ice appear to be buried at high latitudes on Mars. In this activity, students make physical models using Earth samples to investigate whether it is more likely that these regions of Mars are composed of icy dirt (with ice filling the pore space of soils) or dirty ice (with dust sprinkled through a mostly icy surface).


Discover Earth: Hands-on Activities
Topic: Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: This module to support hands-on Earth science explorations includes several activities for this age, including Weather Wall, Weather: the Many Faces of Mother Nature and Weather Stations. Educators are invited to download the activities, supporting reading games and facilitator resources.


Discoveries in Planetary Science Slide Sets
Topic: Discovering New Worlds
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: These four-slide powerpoints by the Division of Planetary Science include basic information for college-level introductory courses. Many of them are on the topic of recently discovered exoplanets.


Discoveries in Planetary Science Slide Sets
Topic: Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Our Solar System

Short Description: These slide presentations for use in undergraduate classes cover new discoveries in planetary science. They are available in Spanish and English.


Discovering Earth-like Worlds by their Color
Topic: Discovering New Worlds, Space Math
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System), Hubble (Beyond Our Solar System), Webb Space Telescope (Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students use recent measurements of the reflected light from solar system bodies to graph their colors and to use this in classifying new planets as Earth-like, moon-like or Jupiter-like.


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.


Egg Drop Lander
Topic: Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Mars
Mission: M-69/521 (Mars), Mars 2020 (Mars), Spirit/Opportunity (Mars), Mars Pathfinder (Mars), MSL / Curiosity (Mars)

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.


Estimating the Temperatures of Exoplanets
Topic: Discovering New Worlds, Space Math
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students review the basic properties of ellipses by exploring the orbits of newly-discovered planets orbiting other stars. They also use a simple formula to determine the temperatures of the planets from their orbits.


Evaporation Investigation
Topic: Water in the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Students observe and understand the process of evaporation.


Exoplanet Orbits and the Properties of Ellipses
Topic: Discovering New Worlds, Space Math
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: Given the formula for the orbits of newly-discovered planets, students determine the basic properties of the elliptical orbits for the planets.


Exploring Crustal Materials from a Mystery Planet
Topic: Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System, Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Students observe the characteristics of "crustal material" samples, classify material into groups, infer causes for the characteristics of the various samples, and infer the history of the mystery planet.


Exploring Ice in the Solar System
Topic: Ice in the Solar System, Water in the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Mercury, Earth, Mars, Asteroids, Dwarf Planets, Comets, Kuiper Belt & Oort Cloud, Earth's Moon, Europa, Pluto, Ceres
Mission: Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), MESSENGER (Mercury), New Horizons (Dwarf Planets), Rosetta (Comets)

Short Description: Examine the importance of water in the form of ice in the solar system. From hands-on experiences with ice, the unit moves on to investigating ice in everyday life, in polar regions on Earth, and throughout the solar system.


Exploring Meteorite Mysteries: Lesson 10-Building Blocks of Planets
Topic: Formation of the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Asteroids, Meteors & Meteorites

Short Description: In Activity A students will observe and describe chondrite meteorites. In Activity B they will experiment with balloons and static electricity to illustrate the theories about how dust particles collected into larger clusters. In Activity C students will manipulate magnetic marbles and steel balls to dramatically illustrate the accretion of chondritic material into larger bodies like planets and asteroids.


Exploring Origins
Topic: Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Body: Sun
Mission: Genesis (Our Solar System)

Short Description: The goal of Exploring Origins is to help students understand the cumulative nature of scientific knowledge and technological advancements and to understand the theoretical basis for the Genesis mission. By exploring ideas about the origins of the solar system held by various cultures throughout the ages, students will gain an understanding that the Genesis mission is providing data to answer age-old questions. This activity is geared towards grades 4 and up.


Exploring the Earth's Magnetic Field
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth), Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: This is a workbook of 23 activities spanning the needs of K-12 teachers who want to discuss Earth's magnetism in varying degrees of detail. Chapters 2-3 contain 11 activities for high school students. It includes web-based activities, and a variety of hands-on experiments with magnets and electromagnetism.


Exponential Functions and the Atmosphere
Topic: Space Math, Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Earth, Mars, Earth's Moon
Mission: Earth Science (Earth), LADEE (Earth's Moon), Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), MSL / Curiosity (Mars), MAVEN (Mars)

Short Description: A study of the way a planet's atmosphere changes as its temperature is changed using exponential functions.


Finding the Distance to the Sun
Topic: The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Sun, Venus, Earth
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: The students will apply the concepts of vertical angles and ratios to calculate lengths and angles. Can they determine the distance to the sun?


Flexing Muscles and Moons
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Europa
Mission: Galileo (Jupiter), Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students measure the effect of gravitational flexing (which keeps Io and Europa's interior warm) by taking the temperature of some flexible rubber balls. They also calculate the force of gravity.


Fundamentals of Lunar Exploration: The Search for Lunar Ice
Topic: Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Earth's Moon
Mission: Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon)

Short Description: Students design and build a mission and TopoBot rover to search for ice in the lunar polar regions.


Gelatin Volcanoes
Topic: Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Our Solar System, Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: Jell-O is used to explore how lava flows in a volcano.


Getting a Feel for Gravity
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System
Mission: DS1 (Asteroids), Voyager 1 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: In this kinesthetic activity, students use their own bodies to create a model of the solar system and the forces the sun and planets exert on each other and on passing objects such as spacecraft.


Goldilocks and the Three Planets
Topic: Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: Akatsuki (Venus), MAVEN (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: Students determine what some of Earth, Venus and Mars' atmosphere is composed of and then mathematically compare the amount of the greenhouse gas, CO2, on the planets Venus, Earth and Mars in order to determine which has the most.


Gravitation 3.8
Topic: Formation of the Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Our Solar System
Mission: Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: An interactive gravity modeler that can simulate a solar system, and allows you to drag the planets into new parameters; this can be used to observe gravitational interaction.


Gravity Induced Tides: It's What Pushes Us Apart
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: The materials relating to gravity, tides, the slowing of the Earth's rotation, and the confirmation of the accuracy of radiometric age dating techniques make an engaging supporting story for high school classes studying radioactivity and age dating of geologic materials.


Great Red Spot Pinwheel
Topic: Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Jupiter
Mission: Galileo (Jupiter), Juno (Jupiter)

Short Description: Students kinesthetically create a model of Jupiter's Red Spot, rotating like a pinwheel around a central point to demonstrate the atmospheric dynamics of the cyclonic storm.


Heavyweight Champion: Jupiter
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Jupiter
Mission: Juno (Jupiter)

Short Description: The students explore gravity and its relationship to weight by weighing themselves on scales modified to represent weights on other worlds, and compare the features of different planets to determine which characteristics cause a planet to have more or less gravity.


How Low Can You Go
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Students compare the weight of various objects and describe gravity as the force that holds us on the Earth.


How Much Would You Weigh on Distant Planets
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth's Moon
Mission: Apollo 11 (Earth's Moon), Apollo 12 (Earth's Moon), Apollo 14 (Earth's Moon), Apollo 15 (Earth's Moon), Apollo 17 (Earth's Moon), Apollo (Earth's Moon)

Short Description: Students view Web movies of astronauts on the moon and discuss what they can learn about one's lunar weight; a calculator is provided to get their weight on other planets; a discussion of the causes of weight and gravity is then suggested with different hypotheses.


Ice in the Solar System
Topic: Ice in the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Mercury, Earth's Moon
Mission: Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon), MESSENGER (Mercury)

Short Description: Students examine different types of ices, discover where these different ices occur in the solar system, how scientists determine what ice is where, meet some of the scientists who are exploring these ice worlds, and explore why their work is so important!


In the Footsteps of Galileo: Observing the Moons of Jupiter
Topic: Moons and Rings, Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System, Jupiter, Europa
Mission: Juno (Jupiter)

Short Description: Students learn about the scientific method and do a simplified version of Galileo's pioneering observations of Jupiter's moons, which similarly supported a new model of our solar system.


Inside Mars -- Puzzling Patterns -- Where Does Volcanism Occur?
Topic: Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars)

Short Description: Students compare volcano maps of Earth and Mars and identify patterns, similarities and differences.


Investigating the Atmosphere of Super-Earth GJ 1214b
Topic: Space Math, Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Hubble (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students create a model of the interior of an exoplanet using its mass, average density and radius as constraints to determine the thickness of its atmosphere.


Investigating the Insides
Topic: Investigating Our Planetary Family Tree
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8
Body: Jupiter
Mission: Juno (Jupiter)

Short Description: In this 30-minute activity, teams of children, ages 9 to13, investigate the composition of unseen materials, using a variety of tools. This open-ended engagement activity mimics how scientists discover clues about the interiors of planets with cameras and other instruments onboard spacecraft.


Investigating the Martian Polar Caps
Topic: Ice in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: Hubble (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students use internet resources and image processing to measure and compare the Martian and terrestrial polar caps at different seasons, and analyze their results.


Invisible Collisions
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Mercury
Mission: Mariner 10 (Mercury)

Short Description: This activity relates an elastic collision to the change in a satellite's or spacecraft's speed and direction resulting from a planetary fly-by, often called a "gravity assist" maneuver. Both hands-on and online interactive methods are used to explore these topics.


It's Just a Phase: Water as a Solid, Liquid, and Gas
Topic: Water in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Students construct models of the way water molecules arrange themselves in the three physical states.


Jump to Jupiter
Topic: Scale of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Jupiter
Mission: Galileo (Jupiter), Juno (Jupiter), Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: Children help create and then navigate an outdoor course of the traditional "planets" (including dwarf planet Pluto), which are represented by small common objects. By counting the jumps needed to reach each object, children experience first-hand the vast scale of our solar system.


Jupiter's Family Secrets: Weather Stations
Topic: Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Jupiter
Mission: Galileo (Jupiter), Juno (Jupiter)

Short Description: In this series of brief station activities, students may examine the turbulent weather that creates Jupiter's distinctive banded appearance.


Kepler Spies Five New Planets
Topic: Discovering New Worlds, Space Math
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students count squares on a Bizarro Star to study the transit of a planet, and determine the diameter of the planet. This demonstrates the basic principle used by NASA's Kepler satellite to search for Earth-sized planets orbiting distant stars.


Kepler Star Wheel
Topic: Discovering New Worlds
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: Participants make a constellation map of the night sky which shows the locations of many of the discovered planetary systems.


Kepler's First Look at Transiting Planets
Topic: Discovering New Worlds, Space Math
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: A statistical study of the 700 transits seen during the first 43 days of the mission.


Kepler's First Look at Transiting Planets
Topic: Space Math
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: A statistical study of the 700 transits seen during the first 43 days of the mission.


Live from the Hubble Space Telescope
Topic: Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Mission: Cassini (Saturn), Hubble (Beyond Our Solar System), Juno (Jupiter), Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: In this series of activities, students compare the weather, plot the movement of weather systems, and observe a fundamental motion of air responsible for certain large cloud formations on Earth and other planets, and report these observations.


Lunar Nautics: Designing a Mission to Live and Work on the Moon Educator Guide
Topic: Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth's Moon

Short Description: The Lunar Nautics Educator Guide has 40 activities. This guide features lessons that address the basics of Newton's Laws of Motion, rocket design, microgravity, and the moon. Students will design, test and analyze a model lunar lander, a robot and a soda bottle rocket. Other activities include building edible models of spacecraft and a solar oven to cook hot dogs. Students can also build a microgravity sled as part of an underwater activity.


Magnetic Globe
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Students use a magnet inside a small globe and clamped staples to model the magnetic field lines of the Earth.


Magnetic Math
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Mercury, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Mission: Cassini (Saturn), Juno (Jupiter), MESSENGER (Mercury)

Short Description: This book contains hands-on exercises and math problems which allow students to explore magnetism and magnetic fields. The activities include drawing and geometric construction, and introduce students in the use of simple algebra to quantitatively examine magnetic forces, energy, and magnetic field lines and their mathematical structure.


Magnetic Sensor Measurements with a Graphing Calculator
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Mercury, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Mission: Cassini (Saturn), Earth Science (Earth), InSight (Mars), Juno (Jupiter)

Short Description: This activity uses magnetic field sensors with the "Texas Instrument" Graphing Calculator and CBL to measure and plot magnetic fields. This allows the student to prove that magnetic fields decrease as the negative cube of the distance.


Magnetism and Electromagnetism
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Mercury, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Mission: Cassini (Saturn), Earth Science (Earth), Juno (Jupiter), MESSENGER (Mercury)

Short Description: In this review of basic magnetism, students map field lines around bar magnets to visualize the magnetic dipole field, and create their own electromagnet using copper wire, battery and a pencil to learn that electric currents create magnetic fields.


Make a Mission
Topic: Ancient Astronomers / Modern Tools
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Mercury
Mission: MESSENGER (Mercury)

Short Description: Design your own cosmic bridges, as you build a spacecraft to explore the planet Mercury.


Make the Itty Bitty Radio Telescope
Topic: Ancient Astronomers / Modern Tools
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Our Solar System
Mission: DSN (Our Solar System)

Short Description: This requires a variety of equipment and a fair amount of oversight.


Making a Comet in the Classroom
Topic: Ice in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Comets
Mission: SOHO (Comets)

Short Description: This demonstration of the composition of a comet uses dry ice and several common ingredients to make a nucleus that will release jets of gas and sublimate over time.


Making a Sun Clock
Topic: Ancient Astronomers / Modern Tools, The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Sun
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: Let the Exploratorium show you how to build a working "Sun Clock."


Making and Mapping a Volcano
Topic: Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars)

Short Description: After each of a series of vinegar/baking soda eruptions, students use Play-Doh to mark where the lava flowed. In teams they examine the stratigraphy and map the flows.


Mapping Magnetic Influence
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Sun, Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth), SOHO (Comets)

Short Description: This lesson is designed to allow your students to explore magnets and develop an operational definition of a magnet "field" and an operational definition for a magnetic "pole."


Mars Pathfinder Egg Drop and Landing
Topic: Ancient Astronomers / Modern Tools
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Mars
Mission: Mars Pathfinder (Mars)

Short Description: One important tool used by modern planetary scientists is a lander. In this activity, students model a mechanism for safely delivering a lander to the surface of another world.


Mars Robotics Activities
Topic: Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Mars
Mission: MSL / Curiosity (Mars)

Short Description: Mars robotics activities provide ideal ways to help students understand the role of engineering and technology in today's world. From looking at personal robots to those we send to other worlds, these activities will help students learn the different elements necessary to design, build and support robotic missions to the Red Planet.


Matching Magnetic Activity and Active Regions
Topic: The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Sun
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun), SOHO (Comets)

Short Description: Students observe images of the sun and match the magnetic images to the corresponding ultraviolet images.


Measuring the Diameter of Our Star -- Spreadsheet
Topic: The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Sun
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: Students measure and calculate the diameter of the sun with a meter stick and index cards.

Additional materials for this lesson:


Measuring the Diameter of Our Star -- Student Brief
Topic: The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Sun
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: Students measure and calculate the diameter of the sun with a meter stick and index cards.

Additional materials for this lesson:


Measuring the Diameter of Our Star -- Teacher Notes
Topic: The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Sun
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: Students measure and calculate the diameter of the sun with a meter stick and index cards.

Additional materials for this lesson:


Microgravity in the Classroom
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System

Short Description: This activity consists of three demonstrations that create microgravity conditions by freefall.


Mission Design
Topic: Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System
Mission: MESSENGER (Mercury)

Short Description: Mission Design is intended to provide an overarching framework for discussing exploration in general. The module places space exploration in the greater context of the history of human exploration, and allows the students to investigate how scientists and engineers today plan missions to study worlds in the solar system and extend their exploration even farther in the Universe.


MoonKAM
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth's Moon
Mission: GRAIL (Earth's Moon)

Short Description: GRAIL MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) allows classrooms to request pictures of the lunar surface from cameras on the twin GRAIL satellites. Students can use the images to study lunar features such as craters, highlands and maria while also learning about future landing sites. All who are part of a school or educational institution are welcome to register now!


Morning Star and Evening Star
Topic: Discovering New Worlds
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Venus
Mission: Akatsuki (Venus), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: Students participate in a kinesthetic model that demonstrates that Venus is visible in the evening and morning sky.


MY NASA DATA Lessons
Topic: Ice in the Solar System, Water in the Solar System, Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: MY NASA DATA microsets are created using data from NASA Earth science satellite missions and provide information on Earth's atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, ocean, and land surface. There are a variety of lessons using these data.


New Horizons: Orbit and Spin
Topic: Formation of the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Our Solar System, Asteroids, Dwarf Planets, Pluto
Mission: New Horizons (Dwarf Planets)

Short Description: In this kinesthetic activity, students explore the size, distance, orbit, and spin of the Sun, Moon and Earth.


Observing Where the Sun Sets
Topic: Ancient Astronomers / Modern Tools, The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Sun
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: This activity is for students to do at home. When they complete it, they will have created a horizon sun calendar much like ones that were used in many Native American tribes.


Observing, Describing and Identifying Clouds
Topic: Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Students observe and sketch clouds, describing their forms. They generate their own descriptions and then move toward building a more scientific vocabulary. They then correlate their descriptions with the standard classifications.


On the Moon
Topic: Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Body: Earth's Moon
Mission: Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon)

Short Description: This guide has six activities that bring engineering and NASA's moon missions to life. Some are applicable for elementary-aged students, and one is for high school students, but most are targeted for middle school students.


Orbits of Jupiter's Moons and Kepler's 3rd Law
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Jupiter, Europa

Short Description: Students use images of Jupiter's Galilean moons to find their orbit periods and orbit radii, and find a "constant" relationship between orbit period and orbit radius to arrive at Kepler's 3rd Law.


Out of Sight Remote Vehicle Activity
Topic: Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System
Mission: MSL / Curiosity (Mars)

Short Description: Engineers and scientists tested the FIDO rover in the Mojave Desert. The rover drivers worked out of a trailer without watching the rovers. In similar fashion, in this activity students drive a remote-controlled car through a course to learn the challenges faced while trying to operate a planetary rover. They use measurement, geometry and problem-solving skills to move through the course.


Planetary Billiards
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System, Saturn
Mission: Cassini (Saturn)

Short Description: Using steel balls and magnets, students gain an understanding of how gravity is used to modify the trajectory of spacecraft.


Plasma Wars
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Earth
Mission: Genesis (Our Solar System)

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.


Play-Doh Venus Volcanos
Topic: Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Venus
Mission: Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: This simple activity for young elementary students is based on the Middle School activity "Making and Mapping a Volcano." After having vinegar/baking soda eruptions, students use Play-Doh to mark where the lava flowed.


Possible Water World at 40 Light Years
Topic: Water in the Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System)

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


Reading, Writing and Rings
Topic: Investigating Our Planetary Family Tree
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Saturn
Mission: Cassini (Saturn)

Short Description: These activities blend the excitement of space exploration with reading and writing. Activities are available for Grades 1-2 and Grades 3-4.


Remote Sensing Ices on Mars
Topic: Ice in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Mars Global Surveyor (Mars)

Short Description: Students analyze data collected by Mars spacecraft using three different energies of light -- visible light, infrared light and gamma rays -- to investigate the composition and distribution of ices at the high latitude regions of Mars.


Rivers on Mars
Topic: Water in the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Mars
Mission: Spirit/Opportunity (Mars), MSL / Curiosity (Mars)

Short Description: This modified version of a middle school activity was created for young elementary students.Using stream tables, students simulate the development of the Martian landscape through water flow and erosion.


Rock Star Precipitation
Topic: Water in the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Student predict the best times for rock stars to perform outdoors, using monthly precipitation data from around the world.


Rockets
Topic: Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System

Short Description: This NASA educator's guide has a variety of hands-on activities about rockets -- a fundamental part of any planetary mission-- that can be used with older students, but are also easily grasped by elementary students.


S'COOL Lesson Plans
Topic: Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: In the S'COOL project students gather data to help NASA study the ways in which clouds may affect the Earth's climate. The project includes a large number of lesson plans on clouds, temperatures and weather; most are geared toward elementary students. Check Educator Resources for S'COOL materials, presentations and more.


Scale Model of Sun and Earth
Topic: The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth), Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: This activity explores the relative size of sun and Earth, as well as the distance between them.


Schoolyard Solar System
Topic: Scale of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System
Mission: Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: The vastness of the solar system offers a unique lesson in large numbers and in scale. "The Schoolyard Solar System" was developed to demonstrate the solar system to scale; to show the relationship between units of thousands, millions and billions; and to accomplish these goals with student involvement that will re-enforce the lessons.


Scratching the Surface -- Carving Channels
Topic: Water in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Mars
Mission: M-69/521 (Mars), Mars Express (Mars), MOM (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), MSL / Curiosity (Mars)

Short Description: Students create channel features with flowing water. Their observations of the ways in which flowing water alters the surrounding terrain will be used as clues to draw conclusions about Mars' geologic past.


Search for Extrasolar Planets
Topic: Discovering New Worlds
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: In this 5E series of activities, students study the concepts of transits, take and examine data of transits, and apply physical models to determine the properties of planets.


Searching for Protoplanetary Disks
Topic: Discovering New Worlds
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Hubble (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students download NASA Hubble Space Telescope views of star-forming regions in nebulae and look for evidence of planetary systems forming beyond our own solar system.


Solar Math
Topic: Space Math, The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Sun
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: These problems, including proportions, decimals, geometry, and scientific notation, call for students to apply mathematics and science concepts to understand the sun and the work of the Hinode satellite.


Solar System in My Neighborhood
Topic: Scale of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System
Mission: Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: In this 1-hour activity, students shrink the scale of the vast solar system to the size of their neighborhood. They are challenged to consider not only the traditional "planets," but also some of the smaller objects orbiting the sun. Children compare the relative sizes of scale models of the planets, two dwarf planets, and a comet as represented by fruits and other foods. They determine the spacing between the scaled planets on a map of the neighborhood and relate those distances to familiar landmarks. This indoor activity may be used in addition to, or in place of, the outdoor scale model explored in Jump to Jupiter.


Solar System Math
Topic: Scale of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System
Mission: Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: A series of four classroom lessons centered on pre-algebra topics such as measurement, unit conversion, ratio and proportion, scale, data analysis, and data representation. The downloadable software application, "What's the Difference," supports the lessons with engaging multimedia that accurately illustrates the size, distance and composition of the bodies in our solar system.


Solarscapes Activities
Topic: The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Sun
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: In this series of activities, students learn that the sun has many observable features, including sunspots, that can be plotted and analyzed.


Space Math: Ice on Mercury?
Topic: Ice in the Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Mercury
Mission: MESSENGER (Mercury)

Short Description: Since the 1990's, radio astronomers have mapped Mercury. An outstanding curiosity is that in the polar regions, some craters appear to have "anomalous reflectivity" in the shadowed areas of these craters. One interpretation is that this is caused by sub-surface ice


Space Math: LRO Makes a Temperature Map of the Lunar South Pole
Topic: Ice in the Solar System, Space Math
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth's Moon
Mission: Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon)

Short Description: Students use the published LRO temperature map to study the scale of the south polar region, the sizes of its craters and estimate the volume of water-ice that may be present in Shackleton Crater.


Space Weather Action Center
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields, The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
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.


SpaceMath: Planet Kepler-10b: A Matter of Gravity
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together, Space Math
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: 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.


SpaceMath: The Transit of Mercury
Topic: Space Math, The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Sun, Mercury, Earth
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: As seen from Earth, the planet Mercury occasionally passes across the face of the sun; an event that astronomers call a transit. From images taken by the Hinode satellite, students will create a model of the solar disk to the same scale as the image, and calculate the distance to the sun.


Spinning Does More than Make You Dizzy
Topic: Formation of the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4
Body: 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.


Strange New Planet
Topic: Ancient Astronomers / Modern Tools, Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: 5-8
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: This activity demonstrates how planetary features are discovered through a sequence of observations, from naked eye, to telescopic, to fly-by, orbiting, and sample missions. Students make multi-sensory observations, gather data and simulate spacecraft missions.


Structure and Properties of Matter: Ion Propulsion Module
Topic: Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: 9-12
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 Volcanos on Mars and Earth
Topic: Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8
Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (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.


Tales of ... Dust Storms Seen on Mars
Topic: Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars)

Short Description: This activity details the weather on Mars from the earliest account in 1796 to 2001. This information can be used to introduce the idea that other planets experience seasons like Earth, as students learn how new data changes our understanding of Mars.


Terrabagga Activity Using a Magnetometer
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Mercury, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Mission: Dawn (Dwarf Planets), Earth Science (Earth), InSight (Mars), MAVEN (Mars)

Short Description: This activity models real-world uses of a magnetometer instrument. Students will see how magnetic fields of the planets and moons are found.


The Changing Atmosphere of Pluto
Topic: Space Math, Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Dwarf Planets, Pluto
Mission: Hubble (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: Based on a recent press release, students determine the aphelion and perihelion of Pluto's elliptical orbit using the properties of ellipses, then calculate the temperature of Pluto at these distances to estimate the thickness of Pluto's atmosphere and its changes during its orbit around the sun.


The Classroom Magnetometer
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Students build and operate a simple magnetometer using a soda bottle and a bar magnet, and use it to monitor changes in Earth's magnetic field.


The Dawn Mission -- Ion Rockets and Spiral Orbits
Topic: Far Ranging Robots, Space Math
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Asteroids, Dwarf Planets
Mission: Dawn (Dwarf Planets)

Short Description: Students determine the shape of the trajectory taken by a spacecraft using a constant-thrust ion motor using differential and integral calculus for arc lengths.


The Earth-like Planet Gliese 518g
Topic: Discovering New Worlds, Space Math
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System), Hubble (Beyond Our Solar System), Webb Space Telescope (Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students use data for the Gliese 581 planetary system to draw a scaled model of the locations and sizes of the discovered planets. They also identify the location and span of the Habitable Zone for this planetary system.


The Goldilocks Principle: A Model of Atmospheric Gases
Topic: Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: Akatsuki (Venus), Earth Science (Earth), MAVEN (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: This activity introduces students to the atmospheric differences between the three "sister" planets in a graphic and hands-on way, using jelly beans or cotton balls to model different atmospheric gases. Students will use this understanding later as they begin to appreciate the scope and importance of the greenhouse effect on Earth.


The Magnetometer
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Mercury, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Students build an instrument capable of detecting a magnetic field and magnetic polarity.


The Orbit Simulator
Topic: Scale of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System
Mission: Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: This simulator lets students explore many aspects of the orbits of planets -- and one comet. This could be a great teaching tool.


The Period of Io and the Mass of Jupiter
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Jupiter

Short Description: Students find the mass of Jupiter using orbital data for Io.


The Pull of the Planets
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Jupiter
Mission: Juno (Jupiter)

Short Description: Students model the gravitational fields of planets on a flexible surface. Children place and move balls of different sizes and densities on a plastic sheet to develop a mental picture of how the mass of an object influences how much affect it has on the surrounding space.


The Solar Wind Tunnel: A Comet Borrelly Interactive
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Asteroids, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Dwarf Planets, Comets
Mission: Rosetta (Comets), SOHO (Comets), Wind (Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students compare their observations of the solar wind's interaction with magnetized planets, non-magnetized planets, comets, and asteroids, and record their observations online.


The Thousand Yard Model
Topic: Scale of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Our Solar System
Mission: Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: This is a classic exercise for visualizing just how BIG our solar system really is. Both the relative size and spacing of the planets are demonstrated in this outdoor exercise, using a mere peppercorn to represent the size of the Earth.


The Voyage Scale Model Solar System
Topic: Scale of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Our Solar System, Mercury
Mission: Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: In October 2001, the Voyage Scale Model Solar System opened in Washington, DC, displaying a one to ten billion scale of the sizes of the sun and planets, and the distances between them. In this lesson, students will replicate the Voyage model to experience the size of the solar system.


The Water Cycle - Now You See It, Now You Don't
Topic: Water in the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Elementary students learn about the relationship between temperature and condensation.


Time Lineup
Topic: Evolving Worlds: Planets, Like People, Grow and Change Over Time
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Asteroids, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Dwarf Planets, Comets, Kuiper Belt & Oort Cloud, Earth's Moon
Mission: ARTEMIS (Earth's Moon), Cassini (Saturn), Dawn (Dwarf Planets), Galileo (Jupiter), Hubble (Beyond Our Solar System), InSight (Mars), Juno (Jupiter), LADEE (Earth's Moon), Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon), MSL / Curiosity (Mars), MAVEN (Mars), MESSENGER (Mercury), Viking 01 (Mars), Viking 02 (Mars), Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System), WISE (Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students work in groups or as a class to determine the order of events that formed our solar system. This is an excellent activity to begin discussion of events that shaped the solar system and how Earth's geosphere and biosphere have changed -- in an interrelated manner -- through time.


Tracking a Solar Storm
Topic: Ancient Astronomers / Modern Tools, Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth), Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: This is a pair of high school-level workbooks featuring advanced problems in mathematics and science that are based on experiments performed with the IMAGE satellite.


Tracking Sunspots: Using Real Data from SOHO -- English
Topic: The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Sun
Mission: SOHO (Comets)

Short Description: Students observe sunspots and analyze their data to calculate the sun's rotation.


Tracking Sunspots: Using Real Data from SOHO -- Spanish (Siguiendo Manchas Solares: Utilizando datos reales del SOHO)
Topic: The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Sun
Mission: SOHO (Comets)

Short Description: Students observe sunspots and analyze their data to calculate the sun's rotation.


Transit Frequency
Topic: The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Sun, Venus
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: This activity by Paper Plate Education models why Venus' transits come in pairs that are eight years apart, followed alternately by spans of 121.5 years and 105.5 years.


Transit Math
Topic: Discovering New Worlds, Space Math, The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Sun, Venus, Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Akatsuki (Venus), Heliophysics (Sun), SOHO (Comets), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: This pdf document includes dozens of math problems and answers related to eclipses, transits and occultations, with an emphasis on transits of Venus through the centuries. The Table of Contents clearly separates middle school level problems from high school problems.


Transit Tracks
Topic: Discovering New Worlds
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: In this investigation, from the NASA Kepler mission Education and Public Outreach team, students describe a transit and the conditions when a transit may be seen; describe how a planet's size and distance from its star affects the behavior of transits; and interpret graphs of brightness versus time to deduce information about planet-star systems.


Using MY NASA DATA to Determine Volcanic Activity
Topic: Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Students use NASA satellite data of optical depth as a tool to determine volcanic activity on Reunion Island during 2000-2001.


Virtual Venus
Topic: Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Venus

Short Description: Students use the Slooh Online Observatory to investigate the phases of Venus, and explore how Galileo's observations of Venus helped to revolutionize our understanding of the solar system by demonstrating that Venus must orbit the sun rather than Earth. See how students can make the same set of enlightening observations.


Volcanos are a Blast: Working with Simple Equations
Topic: Space Math, Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Earth, Earth's Moon
Mission: Cassini (Saturn), Earth Science (Earth), Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon)

Short Description: Students examine the famous Krakatoa explosion, asteroid impacts on the moon and geysers on Enceladus (a moon of Saturn) using three equations that describe the height of the plume and initial velocity to answer questions about the speed of the debris and terminal height.


Water Found on the Moon
Topic: Water in the Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Earth's Moon
Mission: Chandrayaan-1 (Earth's Moon)

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


Water Quality at Earth Observatory
Topic: Water in the Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: These citizen science activities could be used in a high school classroom to gather and submit data on local water quality, and to analyze satellite data.


What Are We Made Of? The Sun, the Earth, and You
Topic: Formation of the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Sun
Mission: Genesis (Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students learn that elements are the basic building blocks of all things found on Earth and in space including water, the human body, the Earth, the Sun, and the planets. By counting elements extracted from a simulated sample, students explore how the extraction of atoms from the Genesis samples help scientists have a better understanding of the abundances of elements from the solar wind. This hands-on experience helps students discover that the elemental abundances from the Sun can be used as a baseline to compare with the diverse bodies of our solar system.


What is a Planet?
Topic: Investigating Our Planetary Family Tree, Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Asteroids, Dwarf Planets, Comets, Kuiper Belt & Oort Cloud, Pluto
Mission: Dawn (Dwarf Planets), New Horizons (Dwarf Planets)

Short Description: Students learn about the characteristics of planets, comets, asteroids, and trans-Neptunian objects through a classification activity. Students can then apply what they have learned by participating in a formal debate about a solar system object discovered by the New Horizons spacecraft and by defining the term "planet."


What Makes Day and Night? The Earth's Rotation
Topic: Ancient Astronomers / Modern Tools, The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Sun, Earth
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: In this demonstration of day and night, students learn kinesthetically as they take on the role of the Earth orbiting the rotating sun.


What Makes Shadows? Observing and Drawing Shadows
Topic: Ancient Astronomers / Modern Tools, The Sun, Transits and Eclipses
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Sun, Earth
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: Students learn about shadows as they observe and draw the shadow of a classmate.


What's the Difference?
Topic: Investigating Our Planetary Family Tree
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: InSight (Mars), MAVEN (Mars)

Short Description: This is a free multimedia software application that facilitates scientific analysis by allowing virtually any pictures, graphics, animations, and movies to be compared side by side. The solar system dataset contains comparisons of the planets and major moons within our solar system. Users can upload graphical, animated, interactive, textual, and audio-formatted content into the categories and attributes grid and then supplement their data with customized multiple choice and summary assessment tests.


Where Are the Distant Worlds? Star Maps
Topic: Discovering New Worlds
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Beyond Our Solar System
Mission: Astrophysics (Beyond Our Solar System), Hubble (Beyond Our Solar System), Webb Space Telescope (Our Solar System)

Short Description: Use a star map to find constellations and to identify stars with extrasolar planets. (Northern Hemisphere only, naked eye)


Why Follow the Water
Topic: Astrobiology: Got Life?, Water in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: Earth Science (Earth), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), Phoenix (Mars)

Short Description: Students investigate several physical properties of liquid water to better understand why we think water is important for life. An extension activity investigates the connection between liquid water and plant productivity on Earth.

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Last Updated: 21 Oct 2011