First Step: Return to the Moon!
First Step: Return to the Moon! is a 60-minute kick-off for children ages 8 to13 that sets the stage for further explorations and activities in Explore! To the Moon and Beyond!. As a group, children discuss what they know about Earth's Moon. They read books to learn more about the lunar environment and history of exploration. They use their knowledge to create a drawing or model of the landscape (optional). The children revisit what they have learned and prepare to explore further.
Children ages 8 to 13 sing about NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission to the Moon in this 10–20-minute introductory activity. They learn that craters on the Moon may harbor water ice, and they discover how LRO is searching for this and other resources needed to build future lunar outposts!
Children ages 8 to 11 work in teams to apply their knowledge from the Moon Tune and/or from their reading about the Moon, its environment, and the LRO mission to match responses to Moon questions. With the correct responses, they build a picture of the Moon in this 20-minute activity.
Build an LRO
Children ages 5 to 10 create their own models of lunar orbiters out of edible or non-edible materials in this 30–45-minute activity. They determine what tools would be necessary to help us better understand the Moon and plan for a future lunar outpost. Then they incorporate these elements into their models. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is currently orbiting the Moon, is used as an example of a spacecraft armed with "eyes," "ears," and other tools for exploration.
Crater Creations: Moon
In the 30–45 minute Crater Creations: Moon activity, teams of children ages 8 to13 experiment to create impact craters and examine the associated features. The children observe images of lunar craters and explore how the mass, shape, velocity, and angle of impactors affects the size and shape of the crater.
Ice Zones: Where We Look for Ice
In this 30 minute activity, children, ages 8 to 13, draw conclusions about where on a planetary body scientists might look for ice — and why. They use a clay ball, ice cubes, and a heat lamp to model the permanently-shadowed polar regions of planets and moons that may harbor ice. They learn that our Moon and even Mercury may have areas with ice!
The Scoop on Moon Dirt
In this two-part, 75-minute activity, children ages 8 to 11 compare the different ways in which soil forms on the Earth and the Moon. They examine different soil samples and compare them to lunar "soil" simulant. They use ice rocks, toast, and graham crackers model how water, wind, and impactors help to make soil.
Children ages 10 and up work in teams to assess environmental conditions, resources, and scientific relevance of different locations on the Moon, using data collected from previous lunar missions. Each team selects the site they believe has the best potential for a future lunar outpost. The teams debate their conclusions and work together to determine which single site to recommend to NASA. This 1-1 ½-hour activity can be divided into parts.
Build a Colony!
Children ages 8 to 13 learn about space colonies and work individually or in teams to construct a lunar base out of craft items in this 60 to 120 minute activity.
October 16, 2009