Educator Features

Asteroids, Comets and Meteorites Extra
04.20.06
What's an Extra? Each month a list of resources for educators is gathered to support a theme related to NASA. Visit each month to find new educational materials, classroom activities, games, pictures, NASA TV broadcasts and Web sites.

The theme for May 2006 is "Asteroids, Comets and Meteorites." These small bodies have continually pelted Earth and the other planets and moons of our solar system since its formation. Asteroids, comets and meteorites offer clues to the chemical mixture from which the planets formed. Explore this month's theme with the resources listed below and learn about the primitive, leftover building blocks of the solar system's formation.

A true-color image of Comet NEAT
NASA TV Education Schedule
During the week of May 15-21, 2006, programs about asteroids, comets and meteorites will be featured on NASA TV. Check the schedule for titles and descriptions of the broadcasts.
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Image to right: This composite image of Comet NEAT was taken on January 29, 2003. Credit: NASA

NASA Educational Products

The front of the lithograph showing different views of asteroid Eros, Mars' two moons, asteroid Ida and asteroid Vesta Asteroids Lithograph (Grades K-12)
These images show Eros, Gaspra, Vesta, Ida with its moon Dactyl, and the moons of Mars -- Phobos and Deimos.
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The front of the lithograph showing Comet Hale-Bopp, Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, and Jupiter Comet Lithograph (Grades K-12)
This image shows Comet Hale-Bopp and Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.
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This activity shows a house floating in space with text 'Space Science Adventure Is Waiting' written at the top Adventure Is Waiting Activity (Grades 3-5)
Comets, meteors, meteoroids, gravity, black holes and robots abound in these classroom resources designed for grades 3-5.
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This activity shows a house floating in space with text 'Space Science Adventure Is Waiting' written at the top Adventure Is Waiting Activity (Grades 6-8)
Comets, meteors, meteoroids, gravity, black holes and robots abound in these classroom resources designed for grades 6-8.
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This poster shows a house floating in space with text 'Could a House Launch Into Orbit' written at the top Adventure Is Waiting Poster (Grades 3-5)
Chris Van Allsburg's book "Zathura" inspired this poster and set of classroom activities designed for grades 3-5.
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This poster shows a house floating in space with text 'Could a House Launch Into Orbit' written at the top Adventure Is Waiting Poster (Grades 6-8)
Chris Van Allsburg's book "Zathura" inspired this poster and set of classroom activities designed for grades 6-8.
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NASA Educational Multimedia Materials

Picture of CD, tape, slides and guides
The Central Operation of Resources for Educators, or CORE, is the worldwide distribution center for NASA-produced multimedia materials. Education Modules for themes are bundled by topic and may include CD-ROMs, videotapes, educator guides, posters, lithographs, books, lesson plans, bookmarks, fact sheets, slide sets and activity kits.

Image to right: NASA develops multimedia resources for educators.

Module Spotlight:

Small Bodies, Big Impact Video
The Cool Comets and Awesome Asteroids videos have been packaged together for use in the classroom.
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Search words for CORE materials: comets, asteroids, meteorites

CORE
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Follow the Theme -- Activities, Adventures and Web Sites of Interest

A temperature map and three ice rich regions on Tempel 1's surface Deep Impact Mission
On July 3, 2005, Deep Impact, a NASA Discovery Mission, performed an incredibly complex experiment in space to probe beneath the surface of Comet Tempel 1 and reveal the secrets of its interior.
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Amazing Space Amazing Space
This is the Hubble Space Telescope page for students, teachers and space enthusiasts. Amazing Space offers lots of fun and interesting things to do, from guides to the nighttime sky to online games.
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An image showing all of the moons and planets of the solar system Solar System Exploration: Asteroids, Comets, Meteorites and the Kuiper Belt
This site has facts, figures and links about planets, asteroids, meteors, meteorites, meteoroids, comets and the Kuiper Belt.
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Stardust spacecraft Stardust Education Page
The Stardust education page supports diverse programs that enhance scientific literacy among students. The materials found on this site include lesson plans and resources for teachers, and activities that students can complete on their own.
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A drawing of a potato in space The Space Place: Make Asteroids You Can Eat!
Create your own asteroids out of mashed potatoes. Bake them in the oven to turn them an asteroid color. Then eat your asteroids for dinner!
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An illustration of Stardust flying in space toward a comet

Tails of Wonder!
Test your comet IQ and help Stardust capture samples from Comet Wild 2. Answer a question correctly and Stardust will move a little closer to the comet.
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The Sky is Falling
Every day, more than a metric ton of meteoroids hits the moon. This feature story from Science@NASA explains what impact this will have on future exploration of the moon.
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Collecting Micrometeorites
Collecting meteorites can be easy, but we must be satisfied with finding small metal ones. Tons of these micrometeorites fall on Earth each day.
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Finding Impact Craters With LANDSAT
This classroom activity for grades 5-8 includes worksheets and materials for studying the effects of an impact crater on the surface of the Earth. View excellent pictures of craters formed by extraterrestrial objects hitting Earth.
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Fun With Science
This Web site is a model for an afterschool, space science activity program for middle school students. Lots of hands-on fun activities are provided!
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Meteoroids and Orbital Debris Lesson Plan
This detailed unit has five lesson plans about meteorites and orbital debris. The unit is well-planned and easy to follow.
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Keeping an Eye on Space Rocks
With increasing regularity, scientists are discovering asteroids and comets with unusual orbits -- ones that take them close to Earth and the sun. Very few of these bodies are potential hazards to Earth. By understanding more about these space rocks now, humans are better prepared to take appropriate measures in the future.
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What Powers a Comet?
Dr. Marc answers questions asked by visitors to Space Place community partners.
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StarChild
StarChild is an online learning center for young astronomers.
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The Discovery Program
This program gives scientists the opportunity to find innovative ways to unlock the mysteries of the solar system. Visit the education section for classroom resources and ideas.
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Nature's Tiniest Space Junk
Scientists are monitoring tiny but hazardous meteoroids that swarm around Earth. How do these tiny objects affect orbiting satellites and spacecraft?
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Torino Impact Hazard Scale
Planetary scientists have developed the Torino Impact Hazard Scale, a new means of conveying the risks associated with asteroids and comets that might collide with the Earth.
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Videos showcased in the May 2006 Education File Schedule to support "Asteroids, Comets and Meteorites" are:
Destination Tomorrow™ Fifteen (9-Adult)
Destination Tomorrow™ Sixteen (9-Adult)
Destination Tomorrow™ Seventeen (9-Adult)
NASA CONNECT™: Data Analysis and Measurement: Dancing in the Night Sky (6-8)
NASA CONNECT™: Data Analysis and Measurement: Having a Solar Blast! (6-8)
NASA CONNECT™: Rocket to the Stars (6-8)
NASA CONNECT™: The Right Ratio of Rest: Proportional Reasoning (5-8)
NASA CONNECT™: Venus Transit (6-8)
NASA CONNECT™: Virtual Earth (6-8)
NASA SCIence Files™: The Case of the Galactic Vacation (3-5)
NASA SCIence Files™: The Case of the Great Space Exploration (3-5)
NASA SCIence Files™: The Case of the Zany Animal Antics (3-5)
Starfinder Program 6: How Big Is the Universe (6-10)
Starfinder Program 11: Evolution of a Star (6-10)
Starfinder Program 18: Density of Matter (6-10)
Starfinder Program 29: Diffraction (6-10)
THAT NASA SHOW - Program 2: Space Wear (3-8)
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Additional Resources

World Book@NASA: Asteroid
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World Book@NASA: Comet
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World Book@NASA: Meteor
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Exploring Meteorite Mysteries
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Meteorite Curation Page
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Extra Archives