Theme: Cosmic Connection to the Universe
Activity Description Time Required STEM Field(s) Recommended for 1 Day Event
Touchdown Design and build a shock-absorbing system that will protect two "astronauts" when they land. 1-1.5 hrs SEM  √ 
Earth vs. Mars  → Compare and contrast Earth and Mars using data about each. 1 hr SM  
Investigating Ice Worlds  → Use various light sources to examine ice with different components to understand how NASA studies planets and moons from space. 1-1.5 hrs ST  √ 
Universe Trail Mix Use food items such as rice and dried peas to represent elements; students determine of what the universe is made. [download full pdf] 1 hr    √ 
What's Out There? Calculate the abundance of elements in different celestial bodies. 1 hr SM  √ 
Make a Comet and Eat It Build a model satellite probe p. 13. 1 hr SM  √ 
Tracking a Solar Storm - Soda Bottle Magnetometer Build a magnetometer using a soda bottle and a bar magnet. Monitor and study magnetic fields and storms. 1 hr STM  
Field Trip to the Moon Inquiry activity requiring students to work in teams to design a navigation to the moon and a lunar outpost. 2-3 hrs SEM  
Moon Math: Craters! Explore activities for connecting standards-based geometry concepts (area, volume, and proportion of two- and three-dimensional objects) to an actual NASA lunar mission. 3 hrs SM  
Paint by Numbers  → A pencil and paper activity demonstrates how astronomical spacecraft and computers create images of objects in space. [Space-Based Astronomy, Unit 4, p. 84] 0.5-1 hr STM  √ 
Simple Spectroscope  → A basic hand-held spectroscope to split light into its component colors is made from a diffraction grating and a cardboard tube. [Space-based Astronomy, Unit 2, p. 27] 1 hr ST  
Kinesthetic Astronomy Model the movement of Earth around the sun by acting out the movement and determining where students' birthdays are in the orbit. 1 hr S  √ 
Deep Impact: Comet on a Stick! Students build a simple model of a comet and evaluate it to explore the properties of comets. 1 hr S  
Cooking Up a Comet  → Model the chemical composition of a comet with dramatic effects. 1 hr SM  
Walking Planet Distances Model the size of the solar system and distances between planets. 1 hr SM  
Exploring Planet Sizes Use models to compare sizes of planets. 1 hr SM  
Aerogello Using gelatin and metal pellets, simulate the technique used by STARDUST for collecting comet and interstellar dust particles with aerogel. 1 hr STE  
Detecting Planet Transits Demonstrate how planets are found around other stars as they pass in front of the star. 1 hr ST  
Vegetable Light Curves  → Observe the surface of rotating potatoes to understand how astronomers can determine the shape of asteroids from variations in reflective brightness. 1 hr ST  
Lava Layering Simulate repeated volcanic eruptions and how they build a terrain. 1.5-2 hrs SM  √ 
Getting There Map a navigation plan to get from Earth to Mars and back. 1 hr SM  
Mars Bound!  → Investigate what to explore on Mars and design a mission to carry out Martian science. 2-3 hrs SM  
Can We Take it With Us Plan a human mission to the moon using pennies to determine what payload can be carried along [Lunar Nautics Educator Guide p. 27] 1 hr STM  
Follow the Falling Meteorite Apply geometric properties and triangulation to determine the location where a meteorite fell. 1 hr S  
Reaping Rocks Collect and organize and classify rock samples as a lunar geologist. 1 hr S  
Earth, Moon, and Mars Balloons Construct a scale model of the Earth-Moon-Mars system in terms of planetary size to discover how far one might have to travel to get to the moon or Mars. 1.5-2 hrs SM  
Regolith Formation Model the formation of lunar soil through impacts.   S  
Hubble Deep Field  → Image of galaxies in Hubble Deep Field image with activities including classifying and identifying. 0.5-1 hr SM  
Other Resources        
Perseids Meteor Shower Active: Perseids begin to rise in early August. Peak Activity: Night of Aug. 12-13.      
Stellarium  → Free software that works on Mac or PC to identify celestial objects and to look up current locations of planets and constellations.   ST computer
Solar Storms and Satellites Students analyze data to determine safety of satellites.   ST computer
Zooniverse  → Moon Zoo, Galaxy Zoo, Solar Storm Watch. Students sign up to help NASA study phenomena.   STM computer
Solar System Missions Searchable database of past, current and planned NASA solar system missions.   ST computer
Shoot a Cannonball Into Space Interactive tool to demonstrate how objects achieve orbit.   ST computer
Drive the Mars Rover Virtually operate a Mars rover to explore the geology of the Red Planet.   ST computer
Solar System Simulator Computer models of location of objects in the solar system at any chosen day or time.   STM computer

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