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Classroom Activities

Credit: National Center for Interactive Learning/Space Science Institute

Your students will take a voyage of discovery to the outer Solar System; the realm of giant planets, beautiful rings, and exotic moons. An assortment of standards-based lesson plans and classroom activities about the Solar System; intended for elementary, middle, and high school students.

Jupiter Activities from the Lunar & Planetary Institute

Jupiter's Family Secrets
Explore! Jupiter's Family Secrets will acquaint you with Jupiter and NASA's upcoming Juno mission! The activities showcase how the Juno mission will unveil Jupiter's deepest secrets, including clues about how our solar system formed and Jupiter's unique traits.
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Activities from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Pocket Solar System
Building scale models of the solar system is a challenge because of the vast distances and huge size differences involved. This is a simple little model to give you an overview of the distances between the orbits of the planets and other objects in our solar system. (It is also a good tool for reviewing fractions.)
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Worlds in Comparison (Received in your packet of materials)
This activity allows students to develop an understanding of the relative sizes (volumes) of the planets in the solar system. Students start with a big ball of playdough and divide it up following the steps on the instructions sheet. When they are done, they see how the planets vary in size. By the time they get to the tiny dwarf planet, Pluto, they are typically quite amazed. This activity is part of the Race to the Planets kit from Family ASTRO:
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In the Footsteps of Galileo: Observing Jupiter
This activity is a simulation of Galileoís original observations of Jupiterís satellites (moons). It is an example of the modern evidence-based view of science that really began with Galileo.
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Sorting the Solar System
This card sorting activity has students explore some of the different objects in the Solar System and create their own categories for them. They then have a discussion about what categories scientists currently assign to each object.
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Grades 6-8

Saturn’s Moons
Provides students with a basic understanding of the properties of moons and the planet-moon systems they create
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History of Saturn’s Discoveries
Students use skits to learn about the various methods used to explore Saturn and other bodies in our Solar System
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Kinesthetic Astronomy
These lessons are science-rich and fun.  They are intended for sixth graders up through adult learners in both formal and informal educational settings.  They emphasize astronomical concepts and phenomenon that people can readily encounter in their “everyday” lives such as time, seasons, and sky motions of the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets.  Lessons plans are fully aligned with national science education standards, both in content and instructional practice.  They offer a complete learning cycle with written assessment opportunities now embedded throughout the lesson.
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The Cassini Robot
Students learn about the components of a space probe and compare the functions of the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft to human body functions
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Solar System Puzzle Kit
Students color and build and eight-cube paper puzzle of the Solar System that includes interesting facts about the planets and other bodies within the Solar System
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Grades 9-12

Planetary Billiards
Using steel balls and magnets, students gain an understanding of how gravity is used to modify the trajectory of spacecrafts
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