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Strange New Planet

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In this simulation of space exploration, participants plan and carry out five missions to a “planet” and communicate their discoveries to their family or a friend.

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Teacher's Guide

Provides classroom connections, key concepts, connections to science standards, and additional resources.

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  • Rating 
  • Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
    Participants Learned from This Activity 
    Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
    Would Recommend 

Related Programming Resources

Related Links Websites:
• NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System
Learn about our home planet, our solar system, the universe beyond, and the spacecraft exploring them with this downloadable application

Videos:
Where does the solar system end? A video about the Oort Cloud - Space Place in a Snap!
Searching for Other Planets Like Ours - Space Place in a Snap!
Story Time from Space: The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home
NISE Network: Mars Rover Content Training Video

Handouts:
• Our Solar System
lithographs (NASA educational product number LS-2013-07-003-HQ)

Images:
• NASA Solar System Exploration
• Planetary PhotoJournal (NASA/JPL)
Originating Source Lunar and Planetary Institute/National Center for Interactive Learning
Adapted from Mars Activities: Teacher Resources and Classroom Activities, a Mars Education Program product from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Arizona State University.
Related Books
[Suggest a book]
• How to Be a Space Explorer: Your Out-of-This-World Adventure (Brake, Mark, 2014)
• Are there other Earths? (Portman, M., 2013)
The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home

Reviews

 
Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
11/13/2018

Lots of fun

My group had a lot of fun with this activity. I had 6-8 year olds and they loved coming back to the group with their observations and trying to draw what they saw on their worksheets. Lots of good discussions were going on in the room about space exploration and finding life on other planets. I combined this with the activity Investigate the Insides for a really fun hour-long library program.

Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
04/12/2018

great for all ages!

We tried this at a librarian conference. Engaging demonstration of how space exploration works (and how it costs). Fun pretend planets to explore and discuss! This would be a great after school program.

Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
12/06/2017

A fun and inventive program choice!

I recently did this activity in two library programs, one for 1st-2nd graders, and the other for 3rd-4th, and it was a delight! Because of time and space constraints (we did not have enough room to do the distance viewing), I adapted the activity slightly, in that I had the children pretend to be astronauts and they "landed" on their planets. They were able to use their senses to evaluate the planets, and I gave them observation sheets to record what they saw. What colors were there, was there signs of life (Stickers!), what was the terrain like (I used hot glue to create a terrain, rather than modeling clay), was the planet heavy or light (golf balls hidden inside made for a weightier planet), was it a warm planet or a cold one (cold were put in a freezer beforehand)? For the older kids, we also had them write more in-depth observations and draw what they thought life might be like on their planet. Overall, it was a fun program and activity, and the information provided was really handy!

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Strange New Planet

Strange New Planet

In this simulation of space exploration, participants plan and carry out five missions to a “planet” and communicate their discoveries to their family or a friend.