Institute of Meteoritics Education and Public Outreach

This page lists Education and Public Outreach programs currently underway in the IOM. Following those descriptions are sections with activities and information that can be used for classroom exercises, independent study, or home study (Jump there from here). The student activities are a hands-on introduction to many of the principles of Earth and Space Science, and encourage critical thinking and observation skills. The activities are designed to be useful to as wide a range of audience as possible, and encompass not just Earth and Planetary Science, but also Physical Science, Chemistry, Math, and Writing. Many of the activities also have worksheets and links that can be used by students, and all activities include the National and New Mexico Science Standards appropriate for the activity. We hope you will find these activities and information useful and enjoyable.

Stars on Earth: Space Science Research Experience and College Preparation for Underrepresented Secondary Students

Funded by NASA-OSS, OEOP, Minority University Education and Research Partnership Initiative in Space Science 2000

This program, in collaboration with the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI), is designed to support high school students in preparing for math, science, engineering and technology programs in college through research experiences in space science and technology-based academic preparation. The Stars on Earth program includes a research experience component that will impact both the SIPI faculty and students involved in the outreach program through special training at the Institute of Meteoritics on meteorite identification, and in studying the largest impact crater basins on Mars using geographic information systems technology.

A Broker/Facilitator Partnership to Serve the South Central, and Southwest Region

Funded by NASA-OSS, Broker Facilitator Program

Dr. Newsom is participating in this effort in collaboration with the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, Texas, to spread the information derived from NASA's space science programs in the following ways. Facilitating partnerships: As part of this program, we are creating links with the local Native American schools and colleges, such as SIPI in Albuquerque, and Diné College in Ship Rock, to allow students and faculty to utilize our scientific infrastructure, such as electron microscopes, and to interact with our scientific staff and students. We will also further develop our partnership with New Mexico MESA for programs involving both teachers and students. Distribute information about E/PO materials: Dr. Newsom will continue to distribute NASA E/PO materials and provide training to pre-service and in-service teachers during workshops at UNM and other areas. This will involve coordination with the "Natural Science Program" for pre-service teachers located in the UNM Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Educational activities in support of the DAWN mission to asteroids Ceres and Vesta

Funded by NASA-Discovery mission DAWN

The DAWN Mission is a spacecraft to orbit and study Ceres and Vesta, the two largest asteroids (minor planets) in our solar system. This is the first time that a spacecraft will orbit two planetary bodies on the same mission. The Dawn mission is currently set to launch in September 2007. It will study Vesta beginning in July 2010, and Ceres beginning in August 2014. By observing both minor planets with the same set of instruments, Dawn will provide new answers to questions about the formation and evolution of the early solar system. At the University of New Mexico our work for this long term project involves providing the following support for the educational activities of the DAWN mission: 1) Assist in developing projects, including web pages that serve to connect the mission goals of the DAWN project with the knowledge of meteorites found on the Earth. 2) Consult with the educational part of the mission on ways to overcome the barriers that students have that lead to a lack of interest in science or in pursuing careers in science and engineering. 3) Provide expertise to the educational part of the mission on the science aspects of meteorite studies that are relevant to the creation of the DAWN mission outreach and educational materials.

Bridging the Gap: Linking SW Native American Culture with the teaching of astronomy and space science

NASA Space Telescope Science Institute IDEAS program

This project, in collaboration with the Gallup branch of UNM, has three major components. The first is a teacher training section to develop science content skills and teaching materials, the second involves development of appropriate units and lessons to integrate the workshop material and the third would be follow-up activities and a workshop that would ensure further extensions and applications for participants. The third section will be a follow-up workshop that extends the initial workshop into a larger instructional leadership role.

Educational Outreach Activities

The following activities were developed at the Institute of Meteoritics, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico. We welcome any questions or comments you have regarding our exercises. Please e-mail us at

Creating a Comet

Download this pdf for guidelines to this activity. Adapted by Justin Hagerty, Horton Newsom, and Sherie Pennebaker.

Edible Rock Activity

Download this pdf for guidelines to this activity. Adapted by Justin Hagerty, Horton Newsom, and Sherie Pennebaker.

Creating an Impact Crater

Download this pdf for guidelines to this activity. Also download this data table pdf to use in the activity. Adapted by Justin Hagerty, Horton Newsom, and Sherie Pennebaker.

Mystery Rock Activity

Download this pdf for guidelines to this activity. Also download this pdf for a class handout. Finally, two scanning electron photomicrographs of pumice can be downloaded here and here. Adapted by Justin Hagerty, Horton Newsom, Mike Spilde, and Sherie Pennebaker.

Solar System Scale activity

Download this pdf for guidelines to this activity. There is also a version to be used outdoors. Adapted by Justin Hagerty, Horton Newsom, Joan Newsom, and Sherie Pennebaker.

Planning a Field Trip to the Meteorite Museum and Geology Museum

Use this guide to help plan school trips to our museums.