By watching and performing several simple experiments, students develop an understanding of the properties of air: it has mass, it takes up space, it can move, it exerts pressure, it can do work.
The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to the planet Mars. This lesson will begin by discussing the location and size of Mars relative to Earth, as well as introduce many interesting facts about this red planet. Next, the history of Martian exploration is reviewed and students discover why scientists are so interested in studying this mysterious planet. The lesson concludes with students learning about future plans to visit Mars.
The year is 2032 and your class has successfully achieved a manned mission to Mars! After several explorations of the Red Planet, one question is still being debated: "Is there life on Mars?" The class is challenged with the task of establishing criteria to help look for signs of life. Student explorers conduct a scientific experiment in which they evaluate three "Martian" soil samples and determine if any contain life.
In this hands-on activity, students explore the electrical force that takes place between two objects. Each student builds an electroscope and uses the device to draw conclusions about objects' charge intensity. Students also determine what factors influence electric force.
Students learn about atoms and their structure (protons, electrons, neutrons) — the building blocks of matter. They see how scientific discoveries about atoms and molecules influence new technologies developed by engineers.
We are surrounded everyday by circuits that utilize "in parallel" and "in series" circuitry. Complicated circuits designed by engineers are made of many simpler parallel and series circuits. In this hands-on activity, students build parallel circuits, exploring how they function and their unique features.
Working in teams of three, students perform quantitative observational experiments on the motion of LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robotic vehicles powered by the stored potential energy of rubber bands. They experiment with different vehicle modifications (such as wheel type, payload, rubber band type and lubrication) and monitor the effects on vehicle performance. The main point of the activity, however, is for students to understand that through the manipulation of mechanics, a rubber band can be used in a rather non-traditional configuration to power a vehicle. In addition, this activity reinforces the idea that elastic energy can be stored as potential energy.
Students use balloons to perform several simple experiments to explore static electricity and charge polarization.
Have you ever wondered why it takes such a long period of time for NASA to build space exploration equipment? What is involved in manufacturing and building a rover for the Red Planet? During this lesson, students will discover the journey that a Mars rover embarks upon after being designed by engineers and before being prepared for launch. Students will investigate the fabrication techniques, tolerance concepts, assembly and field-testing associated with a Mars exploratory rover.
In the everyday electrical devices we use calculators, remote controls and cell phones a voltage source such as a battery is required to close the circuit and operate the device. In this hands-on activity, students use batteries, wires, small light bulbs and light bulb holders to learn the difference between an open circuit and a closed circuit, and understand that electric current only occurs in a closed circuit.
Students use a sponge and water model to explore the concept of relative humidity and create a percent scale.
Students act as Mars exploratory rover engineers, designing, building and displaying their edible rovers to a design review. To begin, they evaluate rover equipment and material options to determine which parts might fit in their given NASA budget. With provided parts and material lists, teams analyze their design options and use their findings to design their rovers.
The purpose of this activity is to recreate the classic egg-drop experiment with an analogy to the Mars rover landing. The concept of terminal velocity will be introduced, and students will perform several velocity calculations. Also, students will have to design and build their lander within a pre-determined budget to help reinforce a real-world design scenario.
Students learn about current electricity and necessary conditions for the existence of an electric current. Students construct a simple electric circuit and a galvanic cell to help them understand voltage, current and resistance.
Air is one of Earth's most precious resources, and we need to take care of it in order to preserve the environment and protect human health. To this end, students develop their understanding of visible air pollutants with an incomplete combustion demonstration, a "smog in a jar" demonstration, and by building simple particulate matter collectors.
The purpose of this lesson is to teach the students about how a spacecraft gets from the surface of the Earth to Mars. The lesson first investigates rockets and how they are able to get us into space. Finally, the nature of an orbit is discussed as well as how orbits enable us to get from planet to planet specifically from Earth to Mars.
Students build and observe a simple aneroid barometer to learn about changes in barometric pressure and weather forecasting.
Students gain an understanding of the difference between electrical conductors and insulators, and experience recognizing a conductor by its material properties. In a hands-on activity, students build a conductivity tester to determine whether different objects are conductors or insulators. In another activity, students use their understanding of electrical properties to choose appropriate materials to design and build their own basic circuit switch.
Students use water balloons and a length of string to understand how the force of gravity between two objects and the velocity of a spacecraft can balance to form an orbit. They see that when the velocity becomes too great for gravity to hold the spacecraft in orbit, the object escapes the orbit and travels further away from the planet.
Students use gumdrops and toothpicks to make lithium atom models. Using these models, they investigate the makeup of atoms, including their relative size. Students are then asked to form molecules out of atoms, much in the same way they constructed atoms out of the particles that atoms are made of. Students also practice adding and subtracting electrons from an atom and determining the overall charges on atoms.