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Project Spectra!

The goal of “Project Spectra!” is to advance knowledge of Solar System exploration by providing students with actual spectroscopic data in an accessible format. (Courtesy LASP)

Current Update

“Project Spectra!” is a NASA Approved Product and is being developed with NASA funding. We will offer teacher professional development workshops in 2011; please contact us at epomail@lasp.colorado.edu for more information.

Introduction

“Project Spectra!” is a science and engineering program for 6th – 12th grade students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System. “Project Spectra!” emphasizes hands-on activities, like building a spectrograph, as well as the use of real data to solve scientific questions.

Here, you will find lessons for middle school students that can also be easily adapted for high school students or modified for elementary school students. Each lesson has a front page listing national standards in science and mathematics, prior knowledge students need for the lesson, materials, and time to complete the lesson. We have also provided tables listing national standards the lessons conform to, and a scope and sequence. We have included fun and informational links to explore the nature of light and spectroscopy further.

What is a Data Story?

A data story is an inquiry driven, standards-based lesson using real data from actual spacecraft! Each data story is a cogent, well-bounded story of solar system exploration that is accessible to students.

Activities

Lesson name Teacher’s packet Student handout Other materials
Patterns and Fingerprints PDF (319 KB) PDF (1.3 MB)
Graphing the Rainbow PDF (3.3 MB) PDF (1.4 MB)
Using Spectral Data to Explore Saturn & Titan* PDF (5.1 MB) PDF (2.1 MB) Flash Interactive
Goldilocks and the Three Planets* PDF (2.5 MB) PDF (795 KB) Flash Interactive
Building a Fancy Spectrograph** PDF (401 KB) PDF (479 KB)
Using a Fancy Spectrograph** PDF (3.7 MB) PDF (451 KB)
A Spectral Mystery PDF (3.1 MB) PDF (422 KB)
Designing an Open Spectrograph** PDF (541 KB) PDF (954 KB)
Designing a Spectroscopy Mission** PDF (422 KB) PDF (459 KB)
Marvelous Martian Mineralogy* PDF (2.3 MB) PDF (1.0 MB)
Star Light, Star Bright? Finding Remote Atmospheres PDF (717 KB) PDF (594 KB) Occultations demonstration

Solving a Mixed Up Problem PDF (1.3 MB) PDF (446 KB)
Enceladus, I Barely Knew You PDF (3.0 MB) PDF (1.6 MB)
Planet Designer: What’s Trending Hot? PDF (2.9 MB) PDF (340 KB) Flash interactive
Planet Designer: Kelvin Climb PDF (4.4 MB) PDF (360 KB) Flash interactive
Planet Designer: Martian Makeover PDF (630 KB) PDF (300 KB)
Planet Designer: Retro Planet Red PDF (640 KB) PDF (310 KB)

(* Denotes data story lesson; ** Denotes engineering lesson)

Other Materials

  • Light – A presentation for high school students (434 KB PDF)

Interactive Lessons

This interactive accompanies the Enceladus, I Barely Knew You lesson. This interactive accompanies the Marvelous Martian Mineralogy lesson.
Explore the sun with the Features of the Sun interactive. This interactive accompanies the Goldilocks and the Three Planets lesson.
This interactive accompanies the Explore Saturn and Titan with Spectral Data lesson.  Explore planetary surface temperature with the Planet Designer Kelvin Climb interactive (for high schoolers).
Explore planetary surface temperature with the Planet Designer: What’s Trending Hot? interactive (for middle schoolers). Can you modify Mars to support liquid water? Find out with the Planet Designer: Retro Planet Red interactive (for high schoolers).
Can you modify Mars to support liquid water? Find out with the Planet Designer: Martian Makeover interactive (for middle schoolers).

 

Teacher Workshop Materials

Presentations from past years’ teacher’s workshops.

Fun and Educational Links