Educational Activities Student and teacher at computer
  A team of master teachers, university faculty, and NASA researchers have created a series of web-based astronomy and astrobiology lessons for the CERES Project. These classroom-ready activities for K-12 students represent a robust combination of contemporary teaching/learning strategies from the National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1996), exciting and current NASA science data, and Internet pointers to an endless supply of accurate and timely resources.

Three Types of Classroom-Ready Lessons are Available On-line:
  • STUDENT INQUIRIES / EXTENSION LESSONS

  • Students explore NASA data to construct first-hand knowledge about the astronomical universe. These internet-based lessons require 1 to 4 class hours and are tied explicitly to the NRC National Science Education Standards astronomy objectives. They can be used as an introduction to astronomy topics, as an intermediate activity, or as an extension activity that requires active participation by students.

  • SPACEQUESTS

  • Classes divide into research teams to attack scientific problems. These collaborative group projects require 4 to 10 class hours and integrate themes & unifying concepts in science with astronomy objectives from the NRC National Science Education Standards. Develop and submit your own Quests with this on-line template to CERES staff for further development.
    QuestForm Template


  • APPLICATIONS IN ASTROBIOLOGY

  • Students explore interdisciplinary science topics within the context of astrobiology to construct first-hand knowledge about the origin, distribution, and future of life on Earth and beyond. These internet-based lessons require 1 to 4 class hours and are closely tied to the NRC National Science Education Standards and the Principles and Standards for Mathematics. These lessons can be used as stand alone activities or as supplemental materials for standard math and science courses. Many of these activities are suitable for both middle and high school students, even though they may be cited as being appropriate for one group or another.


 
  NASA Themes Icons Education Icons
  Structure and Evolution of the Universe Grade level iconIndicates Recommended
Grade Level for Activities
  Exploration of the Solar System Indicates Duration of Activities
  The Search for Origins Sort DurationShortMedium DurationMediumLong DurationLong
  Sun-Earth Connection  


 
  Grades K-4Medium DurationSun-Earth Connection Sky Paths:
Studying the Movement of Celestial Objects
By using these activities in K-4 students will have the concrete experiences of observing, organizing, comparing, and describing the movement of objects that they observe in the sky. 
  Grades K-4Long DurationExploration of the Solar System Learning Planet Sizes
In this activity, learners use the concepts of greater than, less than, and equals to classify student height, object size, and planet size. They will build scale models of the planets based on their discoveries of planet size.
  Grades K-4Medium DurationSun-Earth Connection Birthday Moons
Students become familiar with lunar phases by locating and then graphing the moon phase of their birthdays. After listening and discussing lunar myths and legends they create their own Birthday Moon Story.
  Grades K-4Long DurationSun-Earth Connection MoonQuest
Students explore Moon legends and data by forming expert teams and sharing knowledge.
  Grades K-4Short DurationExploration of the Solar System Every Picture Tells a Story
Students discover that what you see isn't necessarily what you get.
  Grades 5-8Short DurationExploration of the Solar System Every Picture Tells a Story
Students investigate further how a picture can sometimes be worth more than a mere one thousand words.
  Grades 5-8Medium DurationSun-Earth Connection Investigating the Changing Polar Ice Caps
Students explore seasonal changes on Mars and Earth by analyzing images of the polar ice caps in summer and winter.
  Grades 5-8Long DurationExploration of the Solar System Planet Paths: Studying Planetary Orbital Paths.
This activity is designed to help middle school students understand that planets travel in nearly circular orbits around the sun and that planetary motion obeys laws defined by Kepler and Newton. 
  Grades 5-8Short DurationExploration of the Solar System Polar Caps: Image Processing Tutorial
In this step-by-step tutorial, students learn to use computer image processing techniques.
  Grades 5-8Medium DurationSun-Earth Connection Changing Faces: A Study of Solar and Planetary Rotation Rates
Students examine images of the Sun and planets to determine their rotation rates. 
  Grades 5-8Medium DurationExploration of the Solar System Analyzing Meteorological Data From Mars
Students compare real-time Earth and Mars weather measurements for temperature, wind speed, humidity and atmospheric pressure by accessing Internet-data resources from NASA.
  Grades 5-8Long DurationExploration of the Solar System MarsQuest
Students team up to create a travel brochure to Mars describing the Martian atmosphere, climate, topography, and mythology. 
  Grades 5-8Short DurationExploration of the Solar System The First Manned Mission to Mars
In this lesson, students will plan the first manned mission to Mars. In small groups and as a class, they will consider and discuss the social and scientific aspects of such a mission. 
  Grades 5-8Medium DurationExploration of the Solar System How Much Do You Weigh on Distant Planets?
Students study the effects of gravity on the planets of the Solar System.
  Grades 5-8Medium DurationStructure and Evolution of the Universe Digital Images: From Satellites to the Internet
Students create digital images from binary data sets and design information transfer systems.
  Grades 5-8Long DurationExploration of the Solar System Designer Genes for a Designer World
In this series of guided inquiry activities, students explore how organisms adapt to their environments through changes in their genetic codes.
  Grades 5-8Long DurationExploration of the Solar System Who Can Live Here: Life in Extreme Environments
Students explore the limits of life on Earth to extend their beliefs about life to include its possibility on other worlds.
  Grades 5-8Long DurationThe Search for Origins Interstellar Real Estate - Defining the Habitable Zone
What makes Earth the perfect home for life as we know it? Students in this activity explore the orbital characteristics a planetary home needs to support Earth-like life forms.
  Grades 9-12Long DurationSun-Earth Connection Sun's Impact on Earth's Temperature
Students manipulate graphical computer models to determine the effect of distance, albedo, and greenhouse effectiveness on planet temperature.
  Grades 9-12Long DurationExploration of the Solar System MountainQuest
Students divide into five research teams to make recommendations for building a new observatory for NASA.
  Grades 9-12Short DurationStructure and Evolution of the Universe Searching for Protoplanetary Disks
Using Hubble Space Telescope images of the Orion nebula, students search for new planets on-line.
  Grades 9-12Long DurationThe Search for Origins A Case of the Wobbles - Finding Extrasolar Planets
Students plot and analyze NASA data to determine the period of an invisible planet orbiting a wobbling star.
  Grades 9-12Long DurationThe Search for Origins Remote Sensing - What Can We See When We Can't Touch?
In this lesson, students discover how remote sensing is used to identify the signatures of life even when the particular life form is not directly observable.
  Grades 9-12Long DurationThe Search for Origins The Expanding Universe
Students create a balloon model of the expanding universe and review Hubble Space Telescope measurements that are refining estimates for the age of the universe.
  Grades 9-12Medium DurationStructure and Evolution of the Universe Galactic Inquiry
Students view NASA images of galaxies and develop a galaxy classification scheme. Students then compare and contrast their classification scheme with that developed by Edwin Hubble.
  Grades 9-12Short DurationStructure and Evolution of the Universe Life Cycle of Stars
Students analyze characteristics that indicate human life cycles, and then apply these observational principles to various NASA pictures of stars to synthesize patterns of stellar life cycles.
  Grades 9-12Long DurationSun-Earth Connection The Rare Earth - How Rare is Earth-Like Life?
How special are the circumstances that have allowed complex life, like animals and plants, to develop on Earth? In this activity, students systematically investigate the time frame for complex life to develop on Earth.
  Grades 9-12Medium DurationStructure and Evolution of the Universe The Drake Equation - Estimating the Number of Civilizations in the Milky Way Galaxy
Students estimate the number of civilizations in the galaxy by first estimating the number of craters on the Moon and then by performing estimates of multiple-variable systems culminating in the use of the Drake Equation.


 
 
NASA Themes Educational Activities Classroom Resources
Internet Courses Site Map CERES Home Page