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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.

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Last Updated: 21 Oct 2011