Exploring the Solar System Activities Outline: Hands-On Planetary Science for Formal Education K-14 and Informal SettingsActivities by NASA scientists and teachers focus on integrating Planetary Science activities with existing Earth science, math, and language arts curriculum. The wealth of activities that highlight missions and research pertaining to the exploring the solar system allows educators to choose activities that fit a particular concept or theme within their curriculum. Most of the activities use simple, inexpensive techniques that help students understand the how and why of what scientists are learning about comets, asteroids, meteorites, moons and planets. With these NASA developed activities students experience recent mission information about our solar system such as Mars geology and the search for life using Mars meteorites and robotic data. The Johnson Space Center ARES Education team has compiled a variety of NASA solar system activities to produce an annotated thematic outline useful to classroom educators and informal educators as they teach space science. An important aspect of the outline annotation is that it highlights appropriate science content information and key science and math concepts so educators can easily identify activities that will enhance curriculum development. The outline contains URLs for the activities and NASA educator guides as well as links to NASA mission science and technology. In the informal setting educators can use solar system exploration activities to reinforce learning in association with thematic displays, planetarium programs, youth group gatherings, or community events. Within formal education at the primary level some of the activities are appropriately designed to excite interest and arouse curiosity. Middle school educators will find activities that enhance thematic science and encourage students to think about the scientific process of investigation. Some of the activities offered are appropriate for the upper levels of high school and early college in that they require students to use and analyze data.
Allen, J. S. (Lockheed Martin Corp. Houston, TX, United States)
Tobola, K. W. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Lindstrom, M. L. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)