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HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES

The 25 hands-on activities will form the core of the SpaceDay educational event. Each activity has been selected based on its science/educational value and its relevance to the Lunar Prospector Mission.

SOLAR SYSTEM

Several activites encourage an understanding of the basics of our solar system: how it is arranged, how it operates, and how we approach exploring it. Among these are:
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Edible Solar System; Sun/Earth/Moon Roleplay; Orbital Forces;Hubble Space Telescope; Apollo Spacecraft,
Saturn V

EARTH MOON SYSTEM The next set of activities addresses the Moon and the Earth/Moon system directly, they are:
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Phases of the Moon; Moon Archeology; Regolith Formation; Reaping Rocks; Edible Rocks; Lunar Landforms; Make a Crater; Making a Comet in the Classroom.
LUNAR PROSPECTOR The next set of activities relate to Lunar Prospector, Launch, engineering issues, and the science experiments being conducted by the mission, they are:
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Lunar Prospector Model; Alka Rockets; Gelatin Volcanoes; Lava Layering; How Much Do You Weigh?; Wright Flyer.

FUTURE MOON ART WORK

The final set of activities addresses some directions for the future of space science and exploration. They are as follows:
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Construct a Lunar Habitat; Paperbag Space Helmets.

 

Each activity is accompanied by science rationale and instructions for teachers and students.


1. Lunar Prospector Model [student page][teacher's page]
Learn the parts of a simple spacecraft. Learn the importance of science instruments in spacecraft design (made with paper, straws and marshmallows).

2. Construct a Lunar Habitat [student page][teacher's page]
Construct a lunar habitat from RAFT "junk" (This could easily become an "extra time" activity. Some kids will spend all day doing this one activity.)

3. Edible Rocks [student page][teacher's page]
Observe and describe physical characteristics of edible samples chosen as models of real rocks or meteorites.

4. Alka Rockets [student page][teacher's page]
Understand Newton's 3rd Law of Motion

5. Moon Archeology [student page][teacher's page]
Using chocolate chip cookies and toothpicks, children "earn" credits for chips mined and the least amount of destruction (broken cookie pieces) to the lunar surface.

6. Gelatin Volcanoes [student page][teacher's page]
Understand how and why magma moves inside volcanoes.

7. Lava Layering [student page][teacher's page]
Learn about the stratigraphy of lava flows produced by multiple eruptions.

8. Phases of the Moon [student page][teacher's page]
Children must put pictures of the phases of the moon into proper order

9. Reaping Rocks [student page][teacher's page]
Make predictions about the origin of lunar rocks by first collecting, describing, and classifying neighborhood rocks (a generous selection will be provided- students may want to bring some and get information from the lead volunteer).

10. Magnets [student page][teacher's page]
Understand basic magnetism and how it relates to the Earth and the Moon.

11. Wright Flyer [student page][teacher's page]
Demonstrate basic support and structural principles to make an airplane using graham crackers and pretzels.

12. Lunar Ice Cream [student page][teacher's page]
Learn about freezing and relative cold.

13. Lunar Landforms [student page][teacher's page]
Identify landforms on the surface of the Moon using orbital, Apollo spacecraft photographs.

14. Regolith Formation [student page][teacher's page]
Compare and contrast the process of regolith formation on Earth and on the Moon and make predictions using readily available materials (toast, sandpaper, ice etc.)

15. Make a Crater [student page][teacher's page]
Determine the factors affecting the appearance of impact craters and ejecta.

16. How Much Do You Weigh? [student page][teacher's page]
Understand that weight is a measure of gravitational attraction, and that this force is not the same on each planet.

17.Teaching with Stories and Symbols [student page][teacher's page]
Learn about Sun symbols from different cultures and validate the relevance of astronomy and science to basic culture.

18. Making a Comet in the Classroom [student page][teacher's page]
Learn the elements of a comet.

19. Orbital Forces [student page][teacher's page]
Demonstrate orbital motions and forces using a tennis ball swung by a ribbon.

20. Sun/Earth/Moon Roleplay [student page][teacher's page]
Demonstrate celestial mechanics.

21. Edible Solar System [student page][teacher's page]
Learn the order of planets in the solar system

22. Paperbag Space Helmets [student page][teacher's page]
Use red filters to "read" secret messages (with older children, we just have them "frame" red filters, but I've had 6th graders who wanted to make the paper bag space helmets)

23. Saturn V Rockets [student page][teacher's page]
Learn about aspects of the Apollo program and lunar exploration.

24. Apollo Spacecraft [student page][teacher's page]
Learn about aspects of the Apollo program and lunar exploration.

25. Hubble Space Telescope [student page][teacher's page]
Learn about one aspect of exploring space.