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This lesson serves as an introduction to color and to both line spectra and continuous spectra, with applications to sunlight. It also explains how a glass prism resolves light into its rainbow components and the difference between spectral colors and the colors perceived by the eye. Students will learn that hot solids (or dense gases) radiate a continuous spectrum, related to their temperature. But ... Full description.
Grade level: High (9-12)
Resource type: Lesson plan
Subject: Physics, Space science
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This open-ended laboratory activity is useful in demonstrating how solar wind particles are deflected by the Earth's magnetosphere and how charged particles are aligned within it. After this lesson, students should be able to discuss and describe the components of solar wind particles, explain why the magnetosphere and ionosphere protect the Earth, and explain how moving particles behave (and align) ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Lab activity, Guide for instructor
Subject: Physics, Space science
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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Students will participate in a modeling activity that simulates the cyclical role of experimental and theoretical science. Initially, the students will measure the mass of popcorn kernels. While the mass of the kernels are determined, students will also make predictions of the mass of the kernels after they are popped. After the popcorn is popped, the mass of the popcorn is measured. Data is shared ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Classroom activity
Subject: Physics
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This activity will help students to have a better understanding of the basic principles used to determine the age of rocks and fossils. It consists of several parts: to have students determine relative age of a geologically complex area, to familiarize students with the concept of half-life in radioactive decay, to have students see that individual runs of statistical processes are less predictable ... Full description.
Grade level: High (9-12)
Resource type: Lab activity
Subject: Geochemistry, Geologic time, Paleontology
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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Misconceptions: Read (1)
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This lesson shows students that age-dating rocks involves counting atoms and comparing the counts. Students use simulated rock samples, which show a highly magnified selection of 128 atoms, each sample with a different proportion of the atoms of two different elements: a parent radioisotope, and its daughter product. By counting the parent radioactive atoms and knowing the half-life of those atoms, ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Lesson plan
Subject: Geologic time
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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Misconceptions: Read (1)
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This explanation of the factors that produce the polar aurora, (northern lights) discusses the role of electrons in the ionosphere, positive ions in the solar wind, and the mixing of the two to create plasma. The work of Kristian Birkeland of Norway in exploring the cause of the aurora is cited and a link leads to in-depth information on auroras, including some dramatic photographs. Full description.
Grade level: High (9-12), College (13-14)
Resource type: Ref. material
Subject: Geophysics, History and philosophy of science, Physics, Space science
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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In this lab activity using M&M candy, students will explore the concepts of radioactive decay and dating. Students generate a radioactive decay table to simplify the math, use their data to plot a decay graph, develop the concept of half-life, and then use the graph to find the age of a mummified seal in Wright Valley, Antarctica. In a follow-up exercise, students will solve a mysterious Arctic ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Lab activity
Subject: Biology, Geologic time
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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Misconceptions: Read (1)
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Are we made of stars? This video segment features scientists studying light emissions from exploding stars called supernovas. It explains the process by which new elements are formed in these explosions and then disseminated to create planets and new stars. The segment is one minute fifty-five seconds in length. A background essay and list of discussion questions are also provided. Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Video, Ref. material
Subject: Space science
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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Earth provides a comfortable and temperate environment for a wide variety of living organisms. However, in the past few decades, scientists have discovered unusual life forms thriving in areas where the majority of living things on Earth could never survive, such as near deep sea vents, in dry deserts, or on frozen ice sheets. This video segment explores life forms that survive in extreme conditions ... Full description.
Grade level: Intermediate (3-5), Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Video, Ref. material
Subject: Biology, Chemistry, Space science
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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Sun
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This section of the Windows to the Universe web site provides information and images about the Sun including detailed information about stars, the solar interior, sunspots, solar activity, the photosphere, the chromosphere, the corona, eclipses, the solar cycle, coronal mass ejection, and myths about the Sun. Windows to the Universe is a user-friendly learning system pertaining to the Earth and Space ... Full description.
Grade level: Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5), Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14), Informal, General public
Resource type: Computer activity, Illustration - artistic, Illustration - scientific, Imagery - remotely sensed, Photograph, Ref. material
Subject: Chemistry, Physics, Space science
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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