Summer of Innovation - A national program that provides educators with activities and resources
designed to improve education in science, technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM) over the summer.
Discovery Guides - Learn all about planets, the solar system and NASA's exciting missions to explore these alien worlds with robotic spacecraft!
Eyes on the Solar System - Fly along with past, present and future NASA spacecraft and take a tour of
the solar system in this virtual space. Be a Martian - Students can become a citizen scientist and improve Martian maps, take
part in research tasks and assist Mars science teams studying data about
the Red Planet.
Explore the Mars Yard @ JPL - Take a virtual interactive tour of the Mars Yard at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and learn how rovers are tested.
a comet you can eat, build a four-wing paper boomerang, use a soda straw to
put a rocket in flight, and explore Mars along with NASA's newest Mars rover, Curiosity! Discover these and other fun informal NASA
educational activities for students in grades 4-9.
Each of these activities can also be found in NASA/JPL's Summer of
Innovation handbook. Learn more about the Summer of Innovation program
and get involved, here.
Explore Your Curiosity
Curiosity, NASA's newest Mars rover, landed on the Red Planet on Aug. 5, 2012, and set off on a mission to find signs that Mars could have once sustained life. It's the biggest rover yet, carrying multiple instruments as well as 17 cameras! It's essentially a laboratory on wheels. Get a rundown of the mission in this Curiosity resource guide for educators. Then bring Curiosity into your classroom with the lessons below.
What Can We Learn from Images - Participants compare and contrast images of Earth and Mars and then experiment with lenses to understand more about the instruments used to make the pictures.
What are Satellite Images - Participants create maps of the room and dis-cuss the perspectives in their drawings. Thenthey look at satellite images to help them real-ize that these are taken from above the Earth.
Build Your Own Satellite - Students will understand what instruments may be on a satellite and what function satellites play in the reservoir of scientific research data and that scientists and citizens use daily.
What Do Satellite Images Tell Us About Mars? - Participants compare satellite images of Mars and Earth to look for similar features. Then theybrainstorm a list of forces or events that could have caused some of these features to form on Mars.
What Else Do We Want to Find Out About Mars? - Participants discuss the models they created inthe last three activities as models of forces that shape the surface of planets, and talk about thesimilarities and differences between models and real events.
How Can We Find Out More About Mars? - Participants use a variety of resources to try to find answers to their questions. Then they hold ascience conference to share their findings.
Which Planet Shall We Visit? - Participants compare images of planets and select one planet on which to base the story of theirimaginary voyage. They create comic strips to tell the tale.
Do You Think Aliens Exist? - Participants discuss the possible existence of alien life and then survey the group to record andgraph opinions. They use their science journals to write about and illustrate their ideas.
Is it Living? - Participants compare a living and a non-living object to begin defining life. They gooutdoors to search for living things.
Do the Mystery Samples Contain Life? - Participants explore the properties of threemystery samples and try to find out which onecontains life. What Does Life Need? - Working in small groups, participants determine, write about, and/or draw what a particular livingorganism needs to survive.
Are Microbes Alive? - Participants observe mold growing on potatoes,and then look at magnified images of several different microbes.
Where Does Life Live? - Participants use cards and/or computer images to look at some extreme environments and thenmatch the environments with life forms they support. Could Life Live in Other Places in the Solar System? - In their science journals, participants recordwhat they already know about our solar system.Then they examine NASA images of moons,planets, and the sun to evaluate them as possible places for life to exist.
Landform Mapping: The Terrestrial Planets - The objective of this exercise is to recognize and compare the similarities and differences among the surfaces of the terrestrial planets at a global scale. Geologic Features of Mars - By examining images of Martian surface features, students will learn to identify landforms and interpret the geologic processes that formed them.
Launch to Mars! - Students will learn about rocket stability as they construct and fly small paper rockets.
Imagine Mars - Students will use what they know about Mars to design a permanent settlement on Mars for 100 people.
Go for Flight
The Blended Wing Body -- Model an airplane wing out of paper and see how subtle design changes alter its flight performance.
Rotor Motor -- Construct a rotary wing and use it as a model to examine various mathematical concepts.