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Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather: Windy Worlds
Organizations & Clubs

If you offer children's programs in informal learning environments such as libraries, planetariums, science centers, astronomy clubs, and scout troops, the following programming ideas and activities are tailored just for you!

Children will enjoy connecting their experiences and understanding of air to new information about atmospheres; as with so many subjects, connecting it to the planets adds an extra layer of excitement. Events that focus on atmospheres may benefit from connections to local resources and existing programs. For instance, museums and science centers that already have a liquid nitrogen demonstration may want to use that in any of their events this month; scout activities about air and balloons can connect to atmosphere, and astronomy clubs could discuss the role of the atmosphere in limiting telescopic observations.

Events could connect to the launching of the MAVEN mission, observing Jupiter at night, or observing clouds in the day. Consider bringing in speakers -- local scientists (astronomy and geology departments at nearby universities are a good place to start), and NASA Solar System Ambassadors -- ask them to join your events and share their experiences or resources with the children.

Be sure to submit photographs, artwork, music, or words of your community enjoying your activities to Share Your Stories.

Activity Description
The Goldilocks Principle: A Model of Atmospheric Gases This activity introduces students to the atmospheric differences between the three "sister" planets in a graphic and hands-on way, using jelly beans or cotton balls to model different atmospheric gases. Participants will use this understanding later as they begin to appreciate the scope and importance of the greenhouse effect on Earth.
Jupiter's Family Secrets: Weather Stations In this series of brief station activities, children may examine the turbulent weather that creates Jupiter's distinctive banded appearance.
Discover Earth: Hands-on Activities This module to support hands-on Earth science explorations in libraries and other places of community learning focuses on Earth science topics close to home -- such as local weather and the plants, animals, crops, and environmental features unique to your region -- as well as a global view of our changing planet. Educators are invited to download the activities, supporting reading games and facilitator resources.
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Last Updated: 12 Sep 2014