New Space Science Educational Materials Available at

The Educational Materials section of NASA’s Web site offers classroom activities, educator guides, posters and other types of resources that are available for use in the classroom. Materials are listed by type, grade level and subject. The following space science-related items are now available for downloading.

Comet Mystery Boxes – Grades K-8

Introduce students to the physical characteristics of comets by using a tactile learning experience. Using only their hands, students reach into a series of boxes and feel the variety of materials and structures within. Each box contains an object that represents a quality of comets.

A Dusty Dilemma – Grades 8-10

In this lesson, students learn the concepts of averages, standard deviation from the mean, and error analysis. Students explore the concept of standard deviation from the mean before using data from the Student Dust Counter, an instrument aboard the NASA New Horizons mission to Pluto. This data is used to determine the issues associated with taking data, including error and noise. Questions are deliberately open-ended to encourage exploration.

Signals and Noise Ratio – Grades 6-8

Students are introduced to the terms “signal” and “noise” in the context of spacecraft communication. This hands-on activity includes an online interactive to explore the Signal-to-Noise Ratio, a fundamental concept in spacecraft communication. The lesson’s pencil-and-paper component addresses relevant topics such as proportions and ratios.

Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) Educational Kit – Grades 6-8

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is a spacecraft orbiting the moon. The primary instrument on LRO for analyzing the moon’s radiation environment is the Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation, or CRaTER. This educator guide includes lessons to introduce to students to cosmic rays and their effects on humans.

Earth Calling… Activity from New Horizons – Grades 6-8

Some spacecraft return to Earth with valuable data as part of their cargo, but all require some periodic remote communications as they travel. And for those spacecraft that do not return to Earth, the communication system is the only link to the valuable data collected during its journey. In this activity, students simulate spacecraft radio communication concepts, including the speed of light and the time-delay for signals sent to and from spacecraft.

Star-forming Nebula NGC 3603 Lithograph and In Search of Stellar Evolution Education Activity – Grades 11-12

Some of the heftiest known stars in the universe reside in the nebula NGC 3603, a large gas cloud in the Milky Way galaxy. The image of the nebula is on the first page of the lithograph and background information is on the second page. The lithograph includes a Level One Inquiry activity entitled “In Search of … Stellar Evolution” in which students research how stars form.


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