Classroom Activities


Exploring Magnetism
Exploring Magnetism Guide: Cover

This series of educator guides contains engaging, hands-on activities that teach fundamental concepts of magnetism and electromagnetism and their importance in astrophysical settings. These guides have all been selected as an exemplary materials by NASA panel reviews.

Exploring Magnetism - This guide for grades 6-9 serves as the basis for the series. It contains two sessions: the first deals with the basics of magnetism, and the second shows how electricity and magnetism are connected.

Exploring Magnetism in Solar Flares - This guide for grades 8-12 builds on the activities in Exploring Magnetism and deals with magnetism and energy conservation in solar flares. It contains one session with four activities. In activity #3, students use RHESSI image data to make measurements of the energy of a solar flare and the strength of the magnetic field in the region.

X-ray Candles:
Solar Flares on Your Birthday

Solar X-Ray Flares

In this activity for middle school, students "discover" the solar cycle through an investigation of solar x-ray flares. Using X-ray data from the GOES satellite they record the total number of flares in their birth month over 11 years. Students then compute the percentage of high class flares which occur for each year and graph their findings to help identify the long term pattern of flare activity on the Sun. 

This activity is featured in NASA Connect's Having a Solar Blast program for educators. The associated activity guide will be helpful in completing the lesson.

How Does HESSI Take a Picture?
Visual demonstration of how HESSI takes pictures

In this middle school activity, students learn about the special method the RHESSI spacecraft uses to make images of high energy X-rays and gamma rays from the Sun.

Format: PDF (372 KB) - from the Goddard Space Flight Center RHESSI E/PO team.

Build a Model of the HESSI Satellite
A computer generated graphic of the HESSI satellite.

In this middle school activity, students learn about the Sun and Solar flares. They also build a paper model of the RHESSI spacecraft launched by NASA to study the Sun in X-rays and gamma rays.

Format: PDF (992 KB)

Who Else is Studying the Sun From Space? A web-based activity for middle school students to learn about many of the NASA satellite missions studying the Sun.
Student Observation Network (S.O.N.) Activities for middle and high school students to study the Sun-Earth connection and track Solar Storms from Solar Flares to Auroras. Students can conduct their own research and compare their work with others accross the country as well as NASA satellites. RHESSI observations are used as part of the Radio Waves activities.

RHESSI Lithographs

The RHESSI satellite observes a gamma-ray burst. Serendipity: RHESSI Spies a Gamma-Ray Burst
This lithograph discusses the observation of a Gamma-Ray Burst by RHESSI. RHESSI's unique instrumentation allowed scientists to solve one of the great puzzles about the source of these amazing phenomena.

RHESSI:Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopeic Imager

Discover the Solar Cycle
This lithograph discusses Solar Flares and how they are classified by their strength in X-rays. An activity is also included that allows students to discover the Solar Cycle.

Additional Resources

The links below highlight some of the science topics related to the RHESSI mission. By following each link you will find a collection of pages which contain student activities or additional background information.

Sun Science
Electromagnetic Radiation
Using Electromagnetic Radiation to Understand the Sun
How the Sun Works

Satellites and Science
Satellite Orbits, Launches, and Tracking
Our Eyes in Outer Space

Last updated 01/29/2010 © UC Regents