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Solar System Activities
The lessons below are teacher-favorite lessons focused on our solar system. 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.


Our Solar System Lessons:

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Ice in the Solar System
Topic: Ice in the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Mercury, Earth's Moon
Mission: Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon), MESSENGER (Mercury)

Short Description: Students examine different types of ices, discover where these different ices occur in the solar system, how scientists determine what ice is where, meet some of the scientists who are exploring these ice worlds, and explore why their work is so important!


In the Footsteps of Galileo: Observing the Moons of Jupiter
Topic: Moons and Rings, Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System, Jupiter, Europa
Mission: Juno (Jupiter)

Short Description: Students learn about the scientific method and do a simplified version of Galileo's pioneering observations of Jupiter's moons, which similarly supported a new model of our solar system.


Jump to Jupiter
Topic: Scale of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Jupiter
Mission: Galileo (Jupiter), Juno (Jupiter), Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: Children help create and then navigate an outdoor course of the traditional "planets" (including dwarf planet Pluto), which are represented by small common objects. By counting the jumps needed to reach each object, children experience first-hand the vast scale of our solar system.


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.


Make the Itty Bitty Radio Telescope
Topic: Ancient Astronomers / Modern Tools
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Our Solar System
Mission: DSN (Our Solar System)

Short Description: This requires a variety of equipment and a fair amount of oversight.


Microgravity in the Classroom
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Our Solar System

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


Mission Design
Topic: Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System
Mission: MESSENGER (Mercury)

Short Description: Mission Design is intended to provide an overarching framework for discussing exploration in general. The module places space exploration in the greater context of the history of human exploration, and allows the students to investigate how scientists and engineers today plan missions to study worlds in the solar system and extend their exploration even farther in the Universe.


New Horizons: Orbit and Spin
Topic: Formation of the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Our Solar System, Asteroids, Dwarf Planets, Pluto
Mission: New Horizons (Dwarf Planets)

Short Description: In this kinesthetic activity, students explore the size, distance, orbit, and spin of the Sun, Moon and Earth.

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Last Updated: 8 Apr 2014