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Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
Students observe natural selection in action and investigate the underlying mechanism, including random mutation and differential fitness based on environmental characteristics. They do this through use of the free AVIDA-ED digital evolution software application.Engineering Connection Computer scientists and engineers work together to create software and hardware to model complex systems and create new technologies. The digital evolution software, Avida, was created by a group of… Read more
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Lesson Plan Grade: 4th-12th
By using a model for how fishing affects marine life populations, students will construct explanations for one of the reasons why fish populations are declining. They will then work to design solutions for ways of making fisheries more sustainable for the animals and the people who depend on them. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
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Lesson Plan Grade: 5th-10th
Why do birds migrate? How do seasonal changes in primary productivity influence the behaviors of higher order consumers like raptors? Visualize and explore the connectedness of organisms within and across ecosystems in this teacher-guided activity. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-LS2-2. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
  • MS-LS2-3. Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
  • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
Building on an introduction to statics, dynamics free-body diagrams, combustion and thermodynamics provided by the associated lesson, students design, construct and test their own rocket engines using sugar and potassium nitrate—an opportunity to apply their knowledge of stoichiometry. This activity helps students understand that the energy required to launch a rocket comes from the chemical energy stored in the rocket fuel. The performance of each engine is tested during a… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • HS-PS3-3. Design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 1st
Human vision is dependent on light. We can only see if the light-sensitive cells on our retina at the back of our eyes get triggered by light entering the eye. As a result, we can only see objects that either are illuminated and reflect light back into our eyes, or objects that emit light. Any object that is in complete darkness is not visible to the human eye. In this lesson plan, students will place different objects inside a box and view them under different light conditions. By doing so,… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 1-PS4-2. Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that objects in darkness can be seen only when illuminated.
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Lesson Plan Grade: 2nd-6th
Do you know the relative sizes of the planets in our solar system? Put yourself to the test with some Play-doh. Size comparisons between planets can be surprisingly tricky. This activity allows students to model, in three dimensions, the relative sizes of the planets. Read more
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Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
Students learn how astronomers use the transit method to detect exoplanets, by measuring how the brightness of a star changes over time. Animations illustrate how light curves vary for systems with single versus multiple planets, and for planets of different sizes. Students interpret and analyze light curve data from actual exoplanet discoveries, and make connections to Kepler's laws of planetary motion. Read more
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Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
A lesson plan to teach students about the transit method of detecting exoplanets. Optionally build a model of a transiting system and take measurements. Read more
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Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
This lesson plan enables students to describe a transit and the conditions when a transit may be seen, describe how a planet’s size and distance from its star affects the behavior of transits, and interpret graphs of brightness vs time to deduce information about planet-star systems. Read more
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