This site contains more than 25 hands-on science activities for the classroom. Exploring topics such as the Earth, the planets, geology, and space science, it provides classroom-ready materials for both teachers and students.
The homepage of Elizabeth Roetteger, a planetary scientist and educator, lists a series of hands-on science activities such as the following:
|Impact Cratering||This lesson has students creating and measuring model craters.|
|Toilet Paper Solar System||Students describe the relative distances of planets from our sun using a roll of toilet paper! In the advanced version, describe the eccentricity of orbits in terms of the varying distance from the sun.|
|Toilet Paper Geologic Time Scale||Use a roll of toilet paper to measure out the 4.6 billion year time span since the Earth formed to scale.|
Dozens of pages full of Snacks…but not the kind you eat. They’re the kind you can learn from and have fun with. Exploratorium Science Snacks are miniature versions of some of the most popular exhibits at the Exploratorium. Some of these tidbits include:
|Persistence of Vision||Use a cardboard tube with a narrow slit to show how your eye adds together strips of light to give you the impression of a larger image.|
|Reflections of a Star||A reflected image of the Sun can be used to observe the earth's rotation and to measure the angular diameter of the Sun|
The Thousand-Yard Model, or The Earth as a Peppercorn
This outdoor exercise has students visually demonstrate how big the Solar System is. Students will make a scale model of the sizes and spacings of the planets using common household materials.
Scroll down past the main article to find the start of this activity. This lesson teaches middle or high school students to build and use an inexpensive device for estimating the angular sizes and distances of objects.
This site includes brief plans to help middle or high school students construct a simple quadrant for measuring angular size and altitude in the sky.
Project CLEA has developed web-accessible laboratory exercises that illustrate modern techniques of observational astronomy, for high-school and college-level classes. In particular, you'll want to check out the lab "Measurement of the Rotation of Mercury by Doppler Radar".
This activity introduces students to planetary research. By studying some famous images of the Solar System, students improve their ability to recognize planets and surface features. In the exploratory activity, students learn to focus on details by studying uncaptioned images, then compare their observations to those of experienced researchers.
This web site will automatically calculate what you would weigh on the Moon, other planets, other moons and some stars. It also provides additional information on the difference between weight and mass, as well as the relationship between gravity, mass, and distance.
Here you can automatically calculate your age in other planetary"days" and "years". In addition, it provides information on the rotation and revolution periods of the planets, as well as introducing Kepler's Third Law.
In this simple web-based interactive game students answer factual questions about the Solar System and collect "Solar System trading cards". It can serve as a fun review for elementary school students.
Learn about remote sensing and how satellite images are used to study Earth's surface. This Earth Day Activity allows students to test their skills at interpreting satellite images. At the end you and your students can test their skills in the Geography From Space Quiz.
If you have a Java-enabled web browser, Sky View Café is a free Java applet that allows the viewer access to many kinds of astronomical information, in both graphical and numerical form. For example, you can find which stars and planets are visible in the sky above your hometown, tonight or any night. You can see solar or lunar eclipses or determine when Mercury will be visible in the sky. Sky View Café includes star charts, a 3-D orrery, displays of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, an astronomical event calendar, an ephemeris generator, and many other features.