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Detecting Extrasolar Planets
Grade Level: 3-5
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Beyond Our Solar System

Short Description: In this session, students learn about the search for extrasolar planets using the method of transit detection. Teams are given access to a variety of materials and asked to construct a model that can be used to demonstrate the transit of a planet across the face of a star.


Discovering Plate Boundaries
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System 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.


Does the Moon Rotate?
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Earth's Moon
Mission: Apollo (Earth's Moon), Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: Make a three-dimensional model of the Earth and Moon. Using the Sun's light. discover that the Moon does rotate, in the same amount of time it takes to make one orbit.


Dwarf Planets as a New Way of Thinking About an Old Solar System
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Dwarf Planets, Pluto, Ceres
Mission: Dawn (Dwarf Planets), New Horizons (Dwarf Planets)

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


Earth-Moon Activity
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Earth, Earth's Moon
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: This activity helps students understand the size of and distance between Earth and the Moon. Students work in pairs using different-sized spherical objects to represent Earth and the Moon. They use the diameter of the objects to establish this scale.


Exploring Comets and Modeling for Mission Success
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Comets
Mission: Deep Impact (Comets)

Short Description: The purpose of this activity is to give educators information and activities surrounding the basics of comet science. Students get the opportunity to follow the path science has taken throughout history to explore comets. They'll also learn about how we are currently exploring comets and why mission teams perform modeling exercises on Earth in order to assure mission success in space.


Exploring Ice in the Solar System - Unit 1
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System 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 Ice in the Solar System - Unit 2: The Voyage Continues
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System 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: The Voyage education unit uses the remarkable power of models to provide an understanding of Earth's place in the Solar System and the Sun's place among the stars.


Exploring Ice in the Solar System - Unit 3: The Voyage Continues
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System 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: The Voyage Continues education unit continues the exploration of the Solar System using the power of models to take a closer look into Solar System objects and phenomena.


Exploring Lunar Phases with a Daytime Moon
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Sun, Earth, Earth's Moon
Mission: Apollo (Earth's Moon), Earth Science (Earth), Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: This activity creates a model with the real Moon and Sun in the sky to help participants discover the real reason for the lunar phases.

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Last Updated: 21 Oct 2011