National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Sun-Earth Day 2010: Ancient Mysteries, Future Discoveries


6th-8th Grade Lesson Plans

Mapping Magnetic Influence- Middle

This is a complete teachers guide on magnetism. It is designed for students to explore magnets and to develop an operational definition of a magnetic "field" and an operational definition for magnetic "pole."

Exploring Magnetism- Grades 7-9

Students will act as scientists discovering magnetic fields and electromagnetism through inquiry and measurement. Included at the beginning of each session is a summary of the session, a list of national education standards that the session covers, and a list of materials required for the session. Each session is broken into several activities, with each activity outlined for the teacher. In the Background Material section, you can find science background for the lessons. A glossary can be found after the background section. At the end we recommend different resources to help you teach and learn more about magnetism.

Ancient Observatories, Timeless Knowledge Activity

Students will make sun shadow plots by marking ends of shadows made by the Sun and a gnomon (a stick used to cast shadows). After students have made their sun shadow plot, they will use it to determine the direction of true north.

Technology Through Time Bulletin Board Activity

This bulletin board activity is designed to focus student attention on the role that sun watching has played in humankind's survival through time. As part of this display you may wish to use your own world map or download one we have created for you.

Ancient Observatories: Timeless Knowledge Activities

These activities are designed to help you make connections between events in your life and the seasons of the year. One major connection relates the concept of the seasons to past observations.

Making a Sun Clock

Let the Exploratorium show you how to build a working Sun Clock.

Sunbeams and Sundials

Enjoy this unit based on the Space and Time gallery at the Liverpool Museum, with both formal and informal activities.

The Maya Astronomy Page

"Learn about these accomplished early astronomers. This site is concise, clearly written, and easy to navigate. It's a great starting point for exploration into the fascinating culture of the Maya." (Selected by the Exploratorium as a Cool Site in Feb. 1998)

Astronomy of the Americas: Volume 11 Planetarium Activities for Student Success (Pass)

There are hundreds of Native American cultures, each with distinctive views of the heavens. In this program, students visit five cultures: the Hupa people of Northern California, Medicine Wheel in Northern Wyoming, Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, the Mayan people and the Incan people.

All About the Sun

From NASA's Quest's Learning Technologies Channel (at NASA Ames) and the Stanford Solar Center, learn more about the sun from this impressive archive of video clips and materials from past webcasts.

Solarscapes: Sunspots and Rotation

You and your middle-school students will open up the Sun and explore phenomena most people have never seen before. Your students will calculate the period of the solar cycle and predict its shapes, and calculate the rotation period of the Sun.

Solar Flip Book

Students will make a flip book that shows the progression of two solar events on reversible sides of the flip book. Event choices include the sunspot cycle, differential rotation of the sun using sunspots, a total solar eclipse, progression of a coronal mass ejection, and a sungrazing comet.


SpaceMath@NASA introduces students to the use of mathematics in todays scientific discoveries. Through press releases and other articles, we explore how many kinds of mathematics skills come together in exploring the universe.


The March 13, 1989 Quebec blackout, the result of a major geomagnetic storm, caused a $6 billion loss to the Canadian economy.