Back in the days of Christopher Columbus, voyages made across bodies of water were dependent upon winds and currents to drive the sailing ships. Thus good navigation routes were often determined by prevailing weather conditions such as the Trade Winds, and then discovered by explorers. In this lesson, students will explore the wind climatology for the Atlantic Ocean basin (as determined by satellite data from the past ten years), and then compare it to the route documented by Columbus in 1492.
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In this activity, students examine visible and infrared satellite images of Hurricane Mitch to learn how remote sensing provides crucial information to forecast the size and strength of a tropical storm. They plot the hurricane on a hurricane tracking chart, and measure the storms width, and the size of the eye. Satellite images and the hurricane tracking chart are provided. Summary background information, data and images supporting the activity are available on the Earth Update data site. To complete the activity, students will need to access the Space Update multimedia collection, which is available for download and purchase for use in the classroom.
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.
In this activity, learners will evaluate seismic activity along major San Francisco faults using satellite images and a fault map of San Francisco. They will identify a location where new housing can be built that is as close to downtown as possible, but far away from active faults. Links to the image and map are provided. This activity is part of the Event-Based Science (EBS): Remote Sensing Activities.
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.
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.
In this experiment, learners discover how an airfoil creates lift. Learners use simple materials to build an airfoil and test it at different angles to investigate Bernoulli's principle. This activity guide includes questions for drawing conclusions, extensions, and an answer key.
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 activity is about rocket propulsion. Learners will use use baking soda and vinegar to propel an object across the floor and understand how real rockets propel themselves in space. This activity should be carried out with adult supervision. This is activity 21 of 25 from Mars Activities.
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 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 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.
Amazing Space consists of web-based educational presentations for young children about space, which were developed at the Space Telescope Science and Technology Institute. Teachers teamed up with scientists and engineers from the institute and staff members from the Office of Public Outreach to develop interactive lessons. All lessons include spectacular photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and many high quality graphics, videos, and animation designed to enhance student understanding and interest.
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?
Aqua, Latin for water, is a NASA Earth Science satellite mission named for the large amount of information that the mission is collecting about the Earth's water cycle, including evaporation from the oceans, water vapor in the atmosphere, clouds, precipitation, soil moisture, sea ice, land ice, and snow cover on the land and ice. Additional variables also measured by Aqua include radiative energy fluxes, aerosols, vegetation cover on the land, phytoplankton and dissolved organic matter in the oceans, and air, land, and water temperatures. This brochure provides a comprehensive overview of the Aqua spacecraft, instruments, science, and data products.
This is an activity about comparing images of the Sun in different wavelengths of light. Learners will examine solar images taken by the SOHO spacecraft to look for differences in the features that are visible in the various wavelengths of light. This activity requires access to the internet to view or print images of the Sun. This is Activity 7 of the Sun As a Star afterschool curriculum.
This activity is about Mars sample return. Learners will use candy bars, straws and other materials to simulate the extraction of a Martian core sample and how to derive observations about the history and make-up of Mars. This is activity 3 of 25 from the collection, Mars Activities.
This Spanish web site explains why we need to study objects in space at many wavelengths. It includes a general overview of what we learn in each part of the spectrum and why we need to send telescopes into space.
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.
A caller on an automotive-themed radio program asked for help with a problem. It seems that when it rained her windshield wipers sometimes turned themselves on. How is this possible? This resource provides an explanation by exploring electrical currents. 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 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.