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 planetary climate. Once familiar with the factors that determine a planet's surface temperature, learners will use an interactive spreadsheet model of a planet's atmosphere to determine if greenhouse gases, luminosity of the source, the distance of the planet from the source and the albedo of the planet can be manipulated so that the average surface temperature on Mars or Venus could support human life. Learners will then be asked to make some conclusions about these methods and suggest improvements for the spreadsheet model (see related resources for link to this model). The activity requires use of Microsoft Excel software. This is Activity D in the fourth module, titled "How do Atmospheres Affect Planetary Temperatures?," of "Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate?."
This is an activity about classifying planetary characteristics. Learners will analyze the provided information about each planet in order to make graphs and Venn diagrams. Then, using both, learners will identify similarities and differences of the planets in the Solar System. This is Activity C-11 as part of The Universe At Your Fingertips curriculum, available for purchase.
Since the Industrial Revolution, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has risen from ~280ppm (parts per million by volume) to ~390ppm in 2010. The rate of increase for the last decade (2001-2010) has been 2.04ppm/yr, more than double the rate for the 1960's. Most scientists agree that human actions are the primary cause of the increase, the rise in Earth's average temperature since the mid-1900's and recent climate change. In this problem-based learning activity, learners develop a carbon mitigation strategy to address climate change issues. This module was developed to be used in the Earth System Science Education Alliance (ESSEA) courses for middle and high school teachers and is also available to teachers to adapt for general classroom use.
This problem-based learning module places learners in the role of researchers analyzing carbon monoxide's environmental impact. Both vehicle emissions and biomass burning are cited as events producing carbon monoxide that impact the environment. Instructions for accessing NASA data from four different sources are provided along with suggested resources and investigations for classroom use. This module was developed to be used in the Earth System Science Education Alliance (ESSEA) courses for middle and high school teachers and is also available to teachers to adapt for general classroom use.
This is an activity about solar flare activity. Learners will use whole-Sun maps of magnetic activity in order to identify possible future magnetic activity. They will take into account the rotation of the Sun and make day-to-day predictions of the overall Earth-side magnetic activity as suspected farside features rotate onto the Earth-side, and as Earth-side features rotate out of view onto the farside. Finally, learners will check the accuracy of their predictions. This activity requires access to the internet to obtain images from the Stanford University solar magnetic map archive from 1996 to 2011 and the GOES X-ray image archive. This is Activity 9 of the Space Weather Forecast curriculum.
In this scenario-based, problem-based learning (PBL) activity, students investigate cloud formation, cloud classification, and the role of clouds in heating and cooling the Earth; how to interpret TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) images and data; and the role clouds play in the Earth’s radiant budget and climate. Students assume the role of weather interns in a state climatology office and assist a frustrated student in a homework assignment. Learning is supported by a cloud in a bottle and an ice-albedo demonstration, a three-day cloud monitoring outdoor activity, and student journal assignments. The hands-on activities require two 2-liter soda bottles, an infrared heat lamp, and two thermometers. The resource includes a teacher's guide, questions and answer key, assessment rubric, glossary, and an appendix with information supporting PBL in the classroom.
In this problem-based learning unit, learners analyze the role of condensation trails from jets, or contrails, and their role in climate change. Contrails are thin ice clouds that form from the burning of jet fuel and release of water vapor. The issue with contrails is that narrow trails can spread and coalesce to form significant banks of cirrus-type clouds. Instructions to access NASA data are provided along with additional resources and activities. This module was developed to be used in the Earth System Science Education Alliance (ESSEA) courses for middle and high school teachers and is also available to teachers to adapt for general classroom use.
This is a math-science integrated unit about spectrographs. Learners will find and calculate the angle that light is transmitted through a holographic diffraction grating using trigonometry. After finding this angle, the students will build their own spectrographs in groups and research and design a ground or space-based mission using their creation. After the project is complete, student groups will present to the class on their trials, tribulations, and findings during this process. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System.
In this problem-based learning (PBL) activity, students take on the role of a student research scientist and explore the role of solar energy in determining climate, focusing on the urban heat island effect. Students conduct research and compare temperatures between two cities, and determine the factors that are responsible for the difference exhibited between them. The lesson is supported by teacher notes, answer key, glossary and an appendix with information about using PBL in the classroom. This is the third of three activities in Investigating the Climate System: Energy, a Balancing Act, and serves as an authentic assessment for all three modules.
This is an activity about modeling the apparent motion of the Sun as seen from Earth. Learners will use a flashlight, toothpick, and styrofoam model Sun to mimic the relative shadow motion produced by a sundial. The activity will help learners understand that because the Earth rotates from West to East, the Sun appears to rise in the East and set in the West. This is Activity 6 of the Sun As a Star afterschool curriculum.
This is an activity about observing and mapping sunspots by direct solar observation. Learners will use a small telescope, binoculars, or a Sunspotter to create a projected image of the Sun and trace the position of any observed sunspots on a piece of paper. Additionally, learners will mark the direction of the Sun image’s motion. This is Activity 2 of the Space Weather Forecast curriculum.
This interactive, online module reviews the basics of the the electromagnetic spectrum and makes the connection between radiation theory and the images we get from weather satellites. Students will learn about: the electromagnetic spectrum; electromagnetic waves; the electromagnetic spectrum and radiation theory; and how satellite radiometers "see" different sections of the spectrum. The module is part of an online course for grades 7-12 in satellite meteorology, which includes 10 interactive modules. The site also includes lesson plans developed by teachers and links to related resources. Each module is designed to serve as a stand-alone lesson, however, a sequential approach is recommended. Designed to challenge students through the end of 12th grade, middle school teachers and students may choose to skim or skip a few sections.
In this problem-based learning unit, learners explore the possibilities of sustainable energy, and engage in a project to provide electricity for their city using alternative energy sources. Instructions to access NASA data are provided along with additional resources and activities. This module was developed to be used in the Earth System Science Education Alliance (ESSEA) courses for middle and high school teachers and is also available to teachers to adapt for general classroom use.
The 9-session NASA Family Science Night program invites middle school children and their families to discover the wide variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics being performed at NASA and in everyday life. Family Science Night programs explore various themes on the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, and the Universe through fun, hands-on activities, including at-home experiments. Information about Family Science Night implementation and support resources, including the facilitator's guide, are available by registering on the Family Science Night Facilitators website (see Related & Supplemental Resources for link).
This is an activity about using what you can see to identify what you cannot see. Learners will examine images of the Sun taken over one complete solar rotation and look for data features that appear on the farside of the Sun which persist at the same location as the Sun rotates to bring that part to the side facing Earth. This activity requires access to the internet to obtain images from the Stanford University solar magnetic map archive from 1996 to 2011. This is Activity 6 of the Space Weather Forecast curriculum.
This is an activity about cause and effect. Learners will investigate various online sources to find data and other pertinent information regarding reported effects on Earth for the solar events they identified in the previous activities in this curriculum set. Then, they will summarize their findings for this activity as part of the overall Space Weather project. This is Activity 13 of the Space Weather Forecast curriculum.
This is an activity about searching online data archives for solar wind events. Learners will find at least three episodes of increased solar wind activity impacting Earth using direct measurements of solar wind velocity and density. Then, they will characterize each events by its rise time, the time it takes for the solar wind speed to rise from normal levels to the peak speed of the event, and the percentage increase in solar wind velocity. This is Activity 11 of the Space Weather Forecast curriculum.
This is an activity about ultraviolet light. Learners will make ultraviolet light detector bracelets and use them to experiment with artificial light and sunlight. Then, they experiment with various sun-blocking materials to see how such materials impact the beads' absorption of ultraviolet light. Special UV detecting beads are required for this activity. This is Activity 3 of the Sun As a Star afterschool curriculum.
In this problem-based learning activity, students learn about global precipitation patterns. They assume the role of climatologists and teach a newspaper reporter about the scientific method, explore how rainfall patterns impact society using TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) satellite data, and brainstorm needed weather instruments to be built in the future. The resource includes teacher notes, student worksheet, glossary and an appendix introducing problem-based learning. This resource is the third of the 3-part learning module, Investigating the Climate System:Precipitation.