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Asteroids: Education
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Asteroid Activities
The lessons below are teacher-favorite lessons focused on asteroids. For more search options or to search by other science target, missions and other criteria, visit our Fast Lesson Finder. You can also search by curriculum standards on our popular Curriculum Standards Quilts.

Asteroids Lessons:

Asteroid Eros
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Asteroids
Mission: NEAR Shoemaker (Asteroids)

Short Description: Mathematics problems based on images of the asteroid Eros. Problems include finding different measurements.

Close Encounters of the Asteroid Kind!
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Asteroids
Mission: DSN (Our Solar System)

Short Description: The Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Ariz., discovered two small asteroids on the morning of Sunday, September 5, 2010 during a routine monitoring of the skies.

Exploring Meteorite Mysteries: Lesson 10-Building Blocks of Planets
Grade Level: 6-8
Solar System 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.

Stardust Mission #1: Think Small in a Big Way
Grade Level: 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Asteroids, Meteors & Meteorites, Comets
Mission: Stardust (Comets)

Short Description: Students will discover what happens when impactors hit the surface of a planet using balls of different sizes, flour and cocoa.

Structure and Properties of Matter: Ion Propulsion Module
Grade Level: 9-12
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System 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.

The History and Discovery of Asteroids
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Asteroids
Mission: Dawn (Dwarf Planets)

Short Description: Learners will explore scientific discoveries and the technologies as a sequence of events that led eventually to the Dawn mission. - See more at:

Vegetable Light Curves
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Asteroids
Mission: Dawn (Dwarf Planets)

Short Description: In the activity "Vegetable Light Curves," students observe the surface of rotating potatoes to help them understand how astronomers can sometimes determine the shape of asteroids from variations in reflective brightness.

Volcanoes are a Blast: Working with Simple Equations
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Asteroids, Earth's Moon, Enceladus
Mission: ARM (Asteroids), 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.

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Last Updated: 13 May 2014