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Ice On Venus??

Is there "ice" on Venus? If so, what KIND of "ice" is it? In this activity, students find the answers to these questions. Ice on Venus?? was inspired by a short news article in Sky and Telescope magazine about a rather unusual theory about "ice" on Venus.

Key Questions
1. Could there be ice on Venus, and how would a scientist determine this?

2. If there is ice on Venus? What is it likely to be made of?

Learning Objectives
1. Students will be able to find information on Venus using the internet.

2. Students will use this information to help answer questions about conditions on Venus.

3. Students will be able to use a map of Venus to locate positions on the map using coordinates.

4. Students will realize that not all planetary images are visible light images, but may be constructed of other kinds of data, and may need careful interpretation.

5. Students will be able to intelligently discuss the question, “Is there ice on Venus?” by supporting their opinions with facts and reasoning.

General Subject Areas
Space Science, Physics

Author: Alan Gould


Student Activities
Students use several links to web pages about Venus, including those with radar surface images, to try and form arguments for or against the probability that white areas in the images are a kind of ice. The site has 3 parts; 1) fact finding at sites with general Venus information, 2) study of radar surface images and their interpretation, and 3) reading some researchers' ideas on the subject, formulating their arguments, and discussion with their colleagues (other students).

Student Prerequisites
Browser skills, familiarity with the concept of states of matter, phase changes, and the physical parameters that affect them.

Check the students written lists of areas on the Earth where there is ice. Check the students written lists of places on Venus where there appears to be ice. Have students demonstrate their conclusions by interpreting the radar images.

Extended Learning
Available on lesson plan pages- includes lessons that encourage students to find ice on other planets and discover basic planetary information on planets in our solar system.

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Time Requirements
Approximately 1/2 hour preparation time and 2 hours class time.

Materials Required
-Internet connected computers
-Pencils and paper
-Map of Venus (supplied)
-Supplemental information on equations of state and the temperatures and pressures at which water freezes would also be helpful

Required Plugins

Additional Resources
Teacher Pages

Best For Grades
high school

National Science Education Standards (NSES)
grades 5-8
grades 9-12

State Science Standards
Grade 7 Life Science
Grade 8 Physical Science
Grades 9-12 Earth Sciences

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