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Our Star
The sun is a star, a hot ball of glowing gases at the heart of our solar system. Its influence extends far beyond the orbits of distant Neptune and Pluto. Without the sun's intense energy and heat, there would be no life on Earth. And though it is special to us, there are billions of stars like our sun scattered across the Milky Way galaxy.

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  Explore the sun in 3D Videos Activities

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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?


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.


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."


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."


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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: 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.


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 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.


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.


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 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.

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Previous
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    1     2     3     4    
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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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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?


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.


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."


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."


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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: 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.


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 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.


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.


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 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.

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