In this activity, students research scientific discoveries that happened by accident in the past, and learn how gamma-rays were discovered by 20th century scientists. In the process, students develop an understanding that science theories change in the face of new evidence. This acitivity is part of the "Swift: Eyes Through Time" collection that is available on the Teacher's Domain website.
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In this activity, students construct adding slide rules, scaled with linear calibrations like ordinary rulers. Students learn to move these scales relative to each other in ways that add and subtract distances, thus calculating sums and differences. This is Activity A1 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons within the guide include activities in which students measure, compare quantities as orders of magnitude, use scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, the GLAST mission was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi.
This is an activity about the motion of the Sun, Earth and Moon, specifically rotation and revolution. After identifying what they already know about the Sun, Earth and Moon, learners will observe and manipulate a styrofoam ball model of the Sun, Earth, and Moon system. This activity requires a location with an open space approximately ten feet by ten feet in area, and is Activity 9 of a larger resource entitled Eye on the Sky.
This is an activity about the rotation of the Earth and its revolution around the Sun, as well as the rotation of the Moon and its revolution around the Earth. Outside, in chalk, learners will draw the Sun and Earth system complete with Earth's orbit. Learners will then add to the chalk drawing the placement of the Moon and the path of its orbit around the Earth. Volunteers will then act out the rotation and revolution of a yearly cycle of the Moon, Earth and Sun. Learners will also complete a worksheet to reinforce visual understanding of this model. This activity requires an outdoor location with ample room and is Activity 8 of a larger resource entitled Eye on the Sky.
This story, featuring a pigeon named Amelia, takes place in New York City. Amelia's owner, a young girl named Maria, receives a gift from her grandfather-a camera specially designed for strapping on to a pigeon along with copies of old photographs taken of New York City landmarks. Suddenly, Amelia's flights around the city take on new relevance; she visits the Bronx Zoo, Central Park and Battery Park to take updated pictures of those same landmarks from her "birds-eye" perspective. Through Amelia's adventures, and with some help from a NASA scientist, Maria learns about the history of aerial images, the use of images to detect changes over time, the significance of color, texture and shape in interpreting those images, and the importance of images taken from today's NASA satellites to our understanding of Earth.
Welcome to the exciting world of aeronautics. The term aeronautics originated in France, and was derived from the Greek words for “air” and “to sail.” It is the study of flight and the operation of aircraft. This educator guide explains basic aeronautical concepts, provides a background in the history of aviation, and sets them within the context of the flight environment (atmosphere, airports, and navigation).
The activities in this guide are designed to be uncomplicated and fun. They have been developed by NASA Aerospace Education Services Program specialists, who have successfully used them in countless workshops and student programs around the United States. The activities encourage students to explore the nature of flight, and experience some real-life applications of mathematics, science, and technology.
The subject of flight has a wonderful power to inspire learning.
This astronomy program is designed for middle school children in out-of-school-time settings. The program explores basic astronomy concepts (like invisible light, telescopes) and focuses on the universe outside the solar system (stars, galaxies, black holes). The program is structured for use in a variety of settings, including astronomy days, summer camps, or year-long afterschool programs. Although session activities build concepts sequentially, each session activity is designed to be freestanding as not all participants may attend every session. A manual provides background information and descriptions of how to conduct each activity. A companion website provides additional information and resources for the program leader.
This picture book is designed to introduce children to the Earth's atmosphere and its importance to life on Earth. It also introduces how the addition of new gases (e.g., ozone) contributes to changing the quality of air we breathe. With an understanding of how our atmosphere works, we can begin to understand how our activities may be contributing to some of those changes in air quality.
This is a book containing over 200 problems spanning over 70 specific topic areas covered in a typical Algebra II course. Learners can encounter a selection of application problems featuring astronomy, earth science and space exploration, often with more than one example in a specific category. Learners will use mathematics to explore science topics related to a wide variety of NASA science and space exploration endeavors. Each problem or problem set is introduced with a brief paragraph about the underlying science, written in a simplified, non-technical jargon where possible. Problems are often presented as a multi-step or multi-part activities. This book can be found on the Space Math@NASA website.
This resource provides an explanation of two number/magic puzzles that can be demystified and explained by using algebra. This resource is from PUMAS - Practical Uses of Math and Science - a collection of brief examples created by scientists and engineers showing how math and science topics taught in K-12 classes have real world applications.
This set of two activities are about Saturn's largest moon, Titan. Learners will listen to a narrative "told" by the Huygens probe, entitled Memoirs of a Spacecraft. Next, students will listen to some of the findngs and express those findings by creating their own drawing. Finally they will pretend to be a spacecraft and write a story, poem or song about their journey to Titan. Includes a glossary, information for families, and guidance for deepening the science. This is lesson 6 of 8 in the Jewel of the Solar System: From Out-of-School to Outer Space an adaptation for afterschool programs of the Cassini-Huygens educational product Reading, Writing, and Rings.
This lesson is about Saturn's largest moon, Titan. Learners will listen to a narrative "told" by the Huygens probe, entitled Memoirs of a Spacecraft. Visualization and drawing are used as motivators to enhance comprehension and to get students thinking about Titan and what we might find there. Next, students will read a factual article, entitled All About Titan and the Huygens Probe, and write a summary. This is lesson 8 of 12 in the Mission to Saturn Educators Guide, Reading Writing Rings, for grades 3-4.
This is a lesson about distances in space. Learners will create an outdoor, to-scale model of the distances between the Sun, Earth, and Saturn. Next you will conduct a guided walk to Saturn - which gives students an understanding of how far away Saturn is from Earth and the Sun. Like enthusiastic travelers everywhere, students will write a “postcard home” to share their exciting trip. This is lesson 4 of 10 in "Reading, Writing & Rings!" for grades 1-2.
Traditionally, spectral images are two dimensional, and related to text. This kinesthetic activity has groups of students position themselves along a printed spectrum to make spectral patterns and model various elements. Includes photos, teachers notes and instructions, related resources (e.g., color pdf of a visible light spectra image that can be projected onto a white board or wall to do the activity), and alternative suggestions.
Students compare real-time Earth and Mars measurements for temperature, wind speed, humidity and atmospheric pressure by accessing Internet-data resources from NASA.
This interactive, online module provides an introduction to the concept of a black hole. Students explore the components of a black hole by using a diagram of an accretion disk, an event horizon, and jets of hot gas. Students may complete this activity independently or in small groups. Detailed teacher pages, identified as Teaching Tips on the title page of No Escape: The Truth about Black Holes, provide science background information, lesson plan ideas, related resources, and alignment with national education standards. This module is a subsection of "Is a Black Hole Really A Hole?" It is within the online exploration No Escape: The Truth about Black Holes available on the Amazing Space website.
This is an activity about graph interpretation. Learners will compare, interpret, and discuss four graphs of the speed, temperature, magnetic field strength, and density of a coronal mass ejection as it swept past Earth in 1997. This is the third activity in the Solar Storms and You: Exploring the Wind from the Sun educator guide.
This short video (~2 minutes) explains how a raindrop falls through the atmosphere and why a more accurate look at raindrops can improve estimates of global precipitation. This information is important to scientists working on the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission - understanding the micro world of raindrops provides insight to scientists about the macro world of storms.
This experimental activity is designed to develop basic understanding of the relationship between the angle of light rays and the area over which the light rays are distributed, and the potential to affect changes in the temperature of materials. Resources needed to conduct this activity include a flashlight, cardboard, protractor and ruler. The resource includes background information, a pre-activity inquiry exploration for students, teaching tips and questions to guide student discussion. This is chapter 4 of Meteorology: An Educator's Resource for Inquiry-Based Learning for Grades 5-9. The guide includes a discussion of learning science, the use of inquiry in the classroom, instructions for making simple weather instruments, and more than 20 weather investigations ranging from teacher-centered to guided and open inquiry investigations.
Students will learn about the Transit of Venus through reading a NASA press release and viewing a NASA eClips video that describes several ways to observe transits. Then students will study angular measurement by learning about parallax and how astronomers use this geometric effect to determine the distance to Venus during a Transit of Venus. This activity is part of the Space Math multimedia modules that integrate NASA press releases, NASA archival video, and mathematics problems targeted at specific math standards commonly encountered in middle school textbooks. The modules cover specific math topics at multiple levels of difficulty with real-world data and use the 5E instructional sequence.
This is an activity about determining the distance of a solar flare from the center of the Sun's disk. Learners will use transparency grids overlaid on images of the Sun in order to calculate the distance of a solar flare, similar to a signal detection method used by scientists. This is the second activity in the lesson titled, How Does HESSI Take a Picture?
This site provides answers and photos for 200 common questions about astronomy and objects in space. Topics include planets, stars, the solar system, comets, asteroids, galaxies, and the night sky.
NASA Astronomy Photo of the Day website hosted this photo of Earth at night in November 2000. The photo shows what Earth looks like at night with urban centers highlighted by concentrations of city lights. The image is a composite of hundreds of satellite photographs taken by orbiting Defense Meteorological Satellites Program satellites.
This is an activity about auroras and the scientific terminology used to describe them. Learners will read an article that provides an introduction to specific terms and concepts related to auroras and auroral substorms and examine photographs of a 2003 aurora and descriptions of an 1859 aurora to identify the various phases of auroral substorms. This is activity 11 from Exploring Magnetism: Magnetic Mysteries of the Aurora.
This is a lesson which gives students the opportunity to imagine they are scientists, provides them with a basic understanding of aurora and helps them to use creative methods in their observations. First, students will study the scientific aspect of the aurora. They will also look at images of the aurora (both pictures and illustrations) and describe what they think of when they see them. These descriptions can be stored in the student portfolios as they will be useful in future lessons. Includes teacher notes and instructions, student workshops and an online, animated story, and related teacher resources on aurora. This is lesson three of a collection of five activities that can be used individually or as a sequence; concludes with a KWL (Know/Want-to-know/Learned) assessment activity.
In this lesson, students will demonstrate their understanding of the aurora by writing their own poems. Teachers can decide which form(s) of poetry to use from their worksheets or allow students to create their own. Examples of styles include: Acrostic, List, Haiku, Like and As, and May and Could. To help students get inspired, the class will read a poem on the aurora, and they can also look through their portfolios to help form ideas. Includes teacher notes and instructions, student workshops and an online, animated story, and related teacher resources on aurora. This is lesson five of a collection of five activities that can be used individually or as a sequence; concludes with a KWL (Know/Want-to-know/Learned) assessment activity.
This is a lesson about Saturn. Learners will complete one or more poems about Saturn using descriptive words. As a pre-writing activity, students generate a word list from books they have heard and read and images they have seen and created. With the support of the word lists, they will create poems. This is lesson 10 of 10 in "Reading, Writing & Rings!" for grades 1-2.
This experimental activity is designed to develop a basic understanding of the interrelationship between temperature and pressure and the structure of a device made to examine this relationship. Resources needed to conduct this activity include two canning jars, two large rubber balloons, a heat lamp or lamp with 150 watt bulb, and access to freezer or water and ice. The resource includes background information, teaching tips and questions to guide student discussion. This is chapter 5 of Meteorology: An Educator's Resource for Inquiry-Based Learning for Grades 5-9. The guide includes a discussion of learning science, the use of inquiry in the classroom, instructions for making simple weather instruments, and more than 20 weather investigations ranging from teacher-centered to guided and open inquiry investigations.
In this activity, students construct base-two slide rules that add and subtract base-2 exponents (log distances), in order to multiply and divide corresponding powers of two. Students use these slide rules to generate both log and antilog equations, learning to translate one in terms of the other. This is activity C1 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure,compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi.
The purpose of this resource is to quantitatively evaluate the accuracy of a classification system. Students sort birds into three possible classes based on each bird's beak: carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. Students compare their answers with a given set of validation data.
- Environmental Science
- Life Science
- Forestry and Agriculture
- Material Type:
- Data Set
- Lesson Plan
- Student Guide
- Teaching/Learning Strategy
- The GLOBE Program
- UCAR Staff
- Provider Set:
- NASA Wavelength
- Globe Program
- GLOBE Teacher's Guide
- The GLOBE Program, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)
- Date Added:
This lithograph shows the break-off of a large iceberg from the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica. This event occurred between November 4th and 12th, 2001, and provides powerful evidence of rapid changes underway in this area of Antarctica. The images were acquired by the MISR instrument onboard NASA's Terra spacecraft.
This board game challenges players (ages 10+) to build a spaceship and fly to a black hole. The game provides opportunities for understanding phenomena based on current black hole research. During the game, players will experience the dangers and excitement of a real space mission, and learn about the nature of black holes by launching scientific probes. The game can be played competitively or as a team (instructions are also provided for playing in large groups. Black Hole Explorer consists of: Game Board, Game Rules, Spacecraft Data sheets, Science Briefing Room document, Event cards (28), Probe result cards (12), Energy tokens (140). Game components are available as PDF downloads; dice and game pieces must be provided by the user. NOTE: tokens and cards need to be cut to size from letter-size cardstock.
Students are introduced to the basic properties, behavior and detection of black holes through a brief discussion of common conceptions and misconceptions of these exciting objects. They "act out" a way black holes might be detected through their interaction with other objects. In this activity, girls represent binary star systems in pairs, walking slowly around one another in a darkened room with each pair holding loops of wire to simulate the gravitational interaction. Most of the students are wearing glow-in-the-dark headbands to simulate stars, some are without headbands to represent black holes, and a small set of the black holes have flashlights to simulate X-ray emission. This activity is part of a series that has been designed specifically for use with Girl Scouts, but the activities can be used in other settings. Most of the materials are inexpensive or easily found. It is recommended that a leader with astronomy knowledge lead the activities, or at least be available to answer questions, whenever possible.
Students experiment with a model system made from a wooden block, sandpaper, a thumbtack, and a rubber band to understand earthquakes. In this system, the rubber band stores energy until it accumulates enough energy to overcome friction and move the block across the sandpaper, modeling elastic rebound observed in plate tectonics. The resource is part of the teacher's guide accompanying the video, NASA Sci Files: The Case of the Shaky Quake. Lesson objectives supported by the video, additional resources, teaching tips and an answer sheet are included in the teacher's guide.
This collection of activities is based on a weekly series of space science problems distributed to thousands of teachers during the 2009-2010 school year. They were intended for students looking for additional challenges in the math and physical science curriculum in grades 9 through 12. The problems were created to be authentic glimpses of modern science and engineering issues, often involving actual research data. The problems were designed to be one-pagers with a Teachers Guide and Answer Key as a second page. This compact form was deemed very popular by participating teachers.
This chapter provides teachers with instructions to install a school weather station, and to build simple instruments to monitor weather conditions. Materials need to create a homemade weathervane include a two-liter soft drink bottle, a shallow metal pie pan, a plastic drinking straw, and a compass. Building an anemometer requires plastic cups, soda straws, a pencil with an unused new eraser on the end, a paper punch, and a thumbtack. Thermometers and a rain gauge must be purchased. A data table is included for estimating windspeed using the anemometer. The chapter includes research ideas that allow students to validate their instruments and test the predictive capability of resources such as the Farmer's Almanac. This resource is chapter 15 of Meteorology: An Educator's Resource for Inquiry-Based Learning for Grades 5-9. The resource includes background information, teaching tips and questions to guide student discussion. This is chapter 15 of Meteorology: An Educator's Resource for Inquiry-Based Learning for Grades 5-9. The guide includes a discussion of learning science, the use of inquiry in the classroom, instructions for making simple weather instruments, and more than 20 weather investigations ranging from teacher-centered to guided and open inquiry investigations.
"Build It Yourself: Satellite!" is an online Flash game hosted on the James Webb Space Telescope website. The goal of the game is to explain the decision-making process of satellite design. The user can choose to build a "small," "medium," or "large" astronomy satellite. The user then selects science goals, wavelength, instruments, and optics. The satellite is then launched on the appropriate rocket (shown via an animation). Finally, the user is shown what their satellite might look like, as well as what kind of data it might collect, via examples from similar real-life satellites. Satellites range from small X-ray missions without optics (like the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer) to large missions with segmented mirrors (like the James Webb Space Telescope).