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Solar System Exploration
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Dance of the Moon and Oceans
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System 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. They also consider what the Earth's tides might have been like if there were no moon.

Flexing Muscles and Moons
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System 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.

Heavyweight Champion: Jupiter and The Pull of the Planets Unit
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System 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 Much Would You Weigh on Distant Planets
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System 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.

Microgravity in the Classroom
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Our Solar System

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

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.

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Last Updated: 21 Oct 2011