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Lesson Title: Make a Comet and Eat It!
May 11, 2012

Unit: Earth and Space Science - Year of the Solar System

Grade Levels: 4-6

Connection To Curriculum: Science and Technology

Teacher Prep Time: 2 hours

Lesson Time Needed: 1.5 hours

Complexity Moderate

Keywords: solar system, small bodies, coma, tail, nucleus, deep impact, scientific methods, solar wind, sun, orbits, Kuiper Belt, oort cloud, edible

Materials:

One sandwich-size reclosable plastic bag per teams of two to four
One gallon-size reclosable plastic bag per teams of two to four
Small cups for ice cream - one for each person on the team. Two additional cups are needed to trade with another team - one each to feel only, taste, smell and see.
Plastic spoons - one per student
Rubber kitchen gloves, oven mitts, or cloths or sweaters (The comet bags get cold!)
Ice (to fill a gallon-size bag half full per team) or fresh snow
Chunky cookies in black or brown, crushed candies (like toffee or peppermint), gummy bears, coconut flakes or peanuts
Whole milk (2% won't work)
Sugar
Vanilla extract
Evaporated milk
Salt
Can opener
Something to use to crush cookies and other additives
 

Description
In this activity, students develop a comet model that can be eaten and trade another "comet" on which to take measurement using four senses.

Objectives
Students will:
• Investigate the physical characteristics of comets.
• Compare their ideas about comets with the data that NASA comet missions have sent back to Earth.
• Develop a comet model.


First page of Make and Eat a Comet

Lesson Guide
Make a Comet Lesson
[257KB PDF file]

 

 

Lesson Activities and Sequence
Comet on a Stick
In this activity, you are going to develop a comet model that you can eat. The students will trade "comets" and pretend to be an instrument on the Deep Impact spacecraft called a spectrometer. You will use four of your senses individually to decide what is in the ice cream.

Keywords: solar system, small bodies, coma, tail, nucleus, deep impact, scientific methods, solar wind, sun, orbits, Kuiper Belt, oort cloud, edible

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Understanding of scientific concepts.
• An appreciation of "how we know" what we know in science.

Physical Science
• Properties of objects and materials.

Earth and Space Science
• Objects in the sky.

Science and Technology
• Abilities to distinguish between natural objects and objects made by humans.

ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Communication and Collaboration
• Interact, collaborate and publish with peers, experts or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
• Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.
 

 

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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator