A 2-D map is a great guide here on Earth—and virtually worthless for finding your way around in outer space. Take a 3-D look at mapping our solar system and universe. This Moveable Museum article, available as a printable PDF file, looks at how astronomers use data to create 3-D models of the universe. Explore these concepts further using the recommended resources mentioned in this reading selection.
The AirData website provides access to air pollution data for the entire United States. Users have the ability to produce reports and maps of air pollution data based on criteria that they specify.
This reference list has more than 20 recommended astronomy books for older students and adults. For each title, the publisher and publication date is included, along with author name. The list is divided into three subcategories: General Astronomy and Astrophysics, Light and Telescopes, and Digital Imaging and the 3-D Universe.
This fun Web site is part of OLogy, where kids can collect virtual trading cards and create projects with them. Here, they learn about cladograms and the vast variety of dinosaurs that once roamed Earth. The activity opens by telling kids that there are more than 400 known species of extinct dinosaurs and by explaining how cladograms show their relationships to one another. Students then go to an interactive cladogram that has 19 dinosaur species. Each of the 19 dinosaurs includes a trading card with details about the species and its discovery, photographs, and interactive multiple-choice and "Fact or Fiction?" quizzes.
The purpose of this resource is to quantitatively evaluate the accuracy of a classification system. Students sort birds into three possible classes based on each bird's beak: carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. Students compare their answers with a given set of validation data.
This is an activity about the moon. Learners will create their own models of lunar orbiters out of edible or non-edible materials. They determine what tools would be necessary to help us better understand the Moon and plan for a future lunar outpost. Then they incorporate these elements into their models. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is used as an example of a spacecraft armed with "eyes," "ears," and other tools for exploration. This activity is part of Explore! To the Moon and Beyond! - a resource developed specifically for use in libraries.
This booklet contains information on the Swift Gamma-ray Burst Explorer mission, its scientific objectives and its detectors and other hardware. The booklet includes multiple pages of printed parts and instructions for assembling them into a paper model.
In this scenario-based, problem-based learning (PBL) activity, students investigate cloud formation, cloud classification, and the role of clouds in heating and cooling the Earth; how to interpret TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) images and data; and the role clouds play in the Earth’s radiant budget and climate. Students assume the role of weather interns in a state climatology office and assist a frustrated student in a homework assignment. Learning is supported by a cloud in a bottle and an ice-albedo demonstration, a three-day cloud monitoring outdoor activity, and student journal assignments. The hands-on activities require two 2-liter soda bottles, an infrared heat lamp, and two thermometers. The resource includes a teacher's guide, questions and answer key, assessment rubric, glossary, and an appendix with information supporting PBL in the classroom.
This professional development article identifies resources that show young learners (K-grade 5) how scientists study Earth's climate and make predictions. The online lessons either allow students to collect and analyze data or learn about tools and technologies that make data collection possible. The lessons are aligned with national content standards for science education. The article appears in the free, online magazine Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle, which examines the recognized essential principles of climate literacy and the climate sciences for elementary teachers and their students.
This interactive, online activity allows students to examine the Hubble Deep Field image and simulate the process astronomers have gone through to classify the objects in it. Students classify select objects in the image based on observable properties such as color and shape. Students then compare their classifications to those made by astronomers. Upon completion of this activity, students will have classified objects in the Hubble Deep Field, described their characteristics, and used a table to display their data. Students can work through the activity independently or in groups. Teachers also may choose to have students prepare oral reports based on what they learned after performing the activity. Detailed teacher pages, identified as Teaching Tips on the title page of the activity, provide science background information, lesson plan ideas, related resources, and alignment with national education standards. This activity is part of the online exploration "The Hubble Deep Field Academy" that is available on the Amazing Space website.
This online article is from the Museum's Science Explorations, a collaboration between AMNH and Scholastic designed to promote science literacy. Written for students in grades 6-10, this article from Science World magazine has an interview with AMNH astrophysicist Mike Shara, in which he explains what space objects are and what happens when they collide. There are Web links that offer further opportunities for learning about space objects and their collisions.
This data sheet allows teachers a consistent and organized way to analyze student work by providing room for them to document noticings, wonderings, patterns, and next steps for instruction. There's also a space for teachers to record criteria for success to guide their lens for analysis.
This data sheet allows teachers a consistent and organized way to analyze student work by providing room for them to document noticings, wonderings, patterns, and next steps for instruction. There's also a space for teachers to record criteria for success to guide their lens for analysis. There is an example template provided to help guide you in your implementation of the document.
This lesson incorporates sea surface data collected by NASA satellites. Data for three surface characteristics- height, temperature and speed- are used for several activities. Students examine the differences in speed of currents relative to distance from the Equator. Sea surface data anomalies are charted and further analyzed. In addition, surface current data is presented to examine patterns related to El Niño. Note that this is lesson three of five on the Ocean Motion website. Each lesson investigates ocean surface circulation using satellite and model data and can be done independently. See Related URL's for links to the Ocean Motion Website that provide science background information, data resources, teacher material, student guides and a lesson matrix.
For most of human history, recording a star meant describing it with words or drawing a picture. The 19th-century invention of photography changed that—only to be revolutionized by digital imaging. This Moveable Museum article, available as a six-page printable PDF file, takes a look at the technology of digital imaging. It discusses how digital images are pictures stored as numbers and explains how computer manipulation can enhance images and reduce distortion. Some suggested resources are provided for further research.
In this interactive, online activity, students estimate the distances of objects in the Hubble Deep Field from Earth using the relationship between size, brightness, and distance. Students can complete this activity independently or in small groups. Detailed teacher pages, identified as Teaching Tips on the activity title page, provide science background information, lesson plan ideas, related resources, and alignment with national education standards. This activity is part of the online exploration "The Hubble Deep Field Academy" that is available on the Amazing Space website.
In this chapter, students will explore relationships between air quality and population density using the image visualization tool, Google Earth. You will learn how to download NO2 data and analyze them to develop a conceptual understanding of how population and topography can influence the air quality of a region. Once you have learned the techniques, you are encouraged to explore seasonal changes in nitrogen dioxide concentrations at other locations. This chapter is part of the Earth Exploration Toolbook (EET). Each EET chapter provides teachers and/or students with direct practice for using scientific tools to analyze Earth science data. Students should begin on the Case Study page.
This online article, from the museum's Musings newsletter for educators, provides an introduction to environmental stewardship. It discusses Earth's rarity as a planet that supports life and the mounting evidence that indicates human activity is, indeed, altering global climate.
In this activity, students examine the first line of evidence, galactic motion, for the notion of an expanding universe. By examining the spectrum of light from a galaxy, students can determine whether a galaxy is moving toward or away from us, and how fast. Students will look at optical images of four galaxies, compare the emission spectra from these same four galaxies, and measure the wavelength of the red hydrogen line for each galaxy. This activity is part of the "Cosmic Questions" educator's guide developed to support the Cosmic Questions exhibit. This activity can be used in conjunction with, or independently of, the exhibit.
Student teams explore atmospheric aerosols, dust, and fires and their impact on the Earth's albedo using NASA Earth Observations (NEO) website. This is an extension activity in the student learning activity guide accompanying the GLOBE Earth System Poster, Exploring Connections in Year 2007. A series of six learning activities and associated assessment activities are included.
In this activity, student teams explore connections between parts of the Earth system, by examining a time series of environmental data maps. By examining scientific visualizations of a data pair in two time slices, they will see that the environment is the result of the interplay among many processes that take place on varying time and spatial scales. This is one of six interrelated learning activities associated with the GLOBE Earth System Poster, Exploring Connections in Year 2007, which also includes a series of assessment and extension activities. GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) is a worldwide, hands-on, K-12 school-based science education program.
In this activity, student teams explore the connections between parts of the Earth system by examining a time series of environmental data maps. Each student teams examines images for two variables and determines if there is a direct or inversely proportional relationship exhibited between them throughout the year. The variable pairs that student groups are observing include: insolation and surface temperature; cloud fraction and precipitation; aerosols and biosphere. This is one of six interrelated learning activities associated with the GLOBE Earth System Poster, "Exploring Connections in Year 2007," and includes a series of assessment and extension activities. GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) is a worldwide, hands-on, K-12 school-based science education program.
In this activity, student teams explore connections between parts of the Earth system, by examining a time series of environmental data maps. Each team examines a single variable displayed on a global data map, and identify the unit of measure, the range of values, and patterns they observe in the data. Variables include: insolation, surface temperature, precipitation, cloud fraction, aerosols, biopshere. This is one of six interrelated learning activities associated with the GLOBE Earth System Poster, "Exploring Connections in Year 2007," and includes a series of assessment and extension activities. GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) is a worldwide, hands-on, K-12 school-based science education program.
Students will explore time series plots and raw data to understand the role of sea surface temperature increases on arctic ice melt. This is part three of a four-part activity on polar science. The activity builds on the knowledge gained in Using Data and Images to Understand Albedo (part 2). Extension activities examining air and sea surface temperature in relation to changing Earth albedo are included. Information is provided on data access using the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory Web site. This activity is one of several learning activities connected with the 2007 GLOBE Earth system poster.
This project will be focused on designing, constructing and evaluating different containers to determine the optimal design for heat retention. After students have constructed their designs and collected and shared data, students will evaluate the class data to create an optimal design for our culminating event: warming ooey, gooey chocolate chip cookies to perfection! Through this activity, students will learn about energy transfer, engineering design process, data collection, graphing, rate of change, optimization, surface area and proportions. The students will test the effectiveness of their design using Vernier Probes to gather quantitative data and graphing the rate of temperature change. They will then create a poster presentation to share their data to the class. Students will use their mathematical skills to quantitatively analyze the strength and weaknesses of their designs while enjoying some delicious, toasty, warm cookies.
This is a 21 day unit on the topic of floods. Students will plan and prepare for what might happen in the event of a flood in our area. We have had floods in the past that have affected the Walterville School, its campus, and the surrounding areas. Using this as a springboard, students will discuss the effects of flooding, do research and interview family members who have experienced flooding, and then discuss possible ways to prevent significant damage on the buildings and surrounding areas. They will then design a barrier that could protect an area from damage for a period of time. Students will need materials to conduct experiments. We have listed these in the lesson plan. We have also included a trip to the Leaburg Dam so that students can learn about dams and their uses. We plan on teaching this unit in the fall.
About 4.6 billion years ago, a cloud of interstellar dust, ice crystals, and gas collapsed to form a rapidly rotating disk with a young sun at its center: our solar system. This comic strip, a supplement to the Hall of Meteorites Educator's Guide, explains the processes that led to the creation of the planets and the asteroid belt.
The Gamma-ray Burst Skymap website automatically updates for each gamma-ray burst as it occurs, whether detected by Swift or other orbiting satellites. For each burst, the location on the sky, star map, constellation and detecting mission are generated automatically. It is then quickly updated by hand to include a written description of the burst properties and scientific significance, as observations continue. Note: In order to view the content of the website, users need to download and install Silverlight on their computers.
This lesson examines the effects of surface energy transfer and storage on ocean temperatures. Included are activities that introduce the use of scientific models. Students then use an energy flow computer model to track energy changes by manipulating four variables: solar energy, heat transfer, water transparency, and seasons of the year. Note that this is lesson four of five on the Ocean Motion website. Each lesson investigates ocean surface circulation using satellite and model data and can be done independently. See Related URL's for links to the Ocean Motion Website that provide science background information, data resources, teacher material, student guides and a lesson matrix.
This Web article is part of OLogy, where kids can collect virtual trading cards and create projects with them. Here they meet two Museum scientists who go fossil hunting every year in the Gobi, and view the duo's scrapbook. In addition to seeing photos and illustrations from the Gobi scrapbook, students learn about the journey to Mongolia, discover the challenges of fossil hunting, and see what a typical day is like for these scientists.
This is a lesson about planetary atmospheres. Learners will interpret real spectral graphs from missions to determine what some of Earth, Venus, and Mars’ atmosphere is composed of and then mathematically compare the amount of the greenhouse gas, CO2, on the planets Venus, Earth, and Mars in order to determine which has the most. Students brainstorm to figure out what things, along with greenhouse gases, can affect a planet’s temperature. The activity is part of Project Spectra, a science and engineering program for middle-high school students, focusing on how light is used to explore the Solar System.
This is an activity about the relation between day length and temperature. In one team, learners will create and analyze a graph of hours of sunlight versus month of the year for a number of latitudes. In another team, learners will graph temperature versus month for the same latitudes. The teams then compare data and draw conclusions from their analyses.
We owe our lives to gravity. It holds the atmosphere to Earth and keeps us all from falling off into space. Not to mention that without gravity, the stars and planets—including Earth—wouldn't even exist! This Moveable Museum article, available as a nine-page printable PDF file, introduces the key concepts of gravity, orbits, weight, and weightlessness.
The museum's Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life explores the diverse, complex web of life supported by the ocean and the vital inter-relationships between human and aquatic systems. This insert to the hall guide is designed to help you maximize your trip to the museum.
This is a lesson about representative sampling. When given parts of the Hubble Deep Field image, learners will count the number of galaxies in one sample section of the image. Then, they will calculate how many galaxies there are in each whole image and how many objects the Hubble Space Telescope could see in the entire Universe. This is Activity H-6 of Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0: A Collection of Activities and Resources for Teaching Astronomy DVD-ROM, which is available for purchase.
In this 2-part inquiry-based lesson, students conduct a literature search to determine the characteristics of the atmospheres of different planets (Venus, Mercury, Mars and Earth). After collecting and analyzing data, student teams design and conduct a controlled physical experiment using a lab apparatus to learn about the interaction of becomes CO², air, and temperature. The resource includes student worksheets, a design proposal, and student questions. Connections to contemporary climate change are addressed. This lesson is the first of four in Topic 4, "How do Atmospheres Affect Planetary Temperatures?" within the resource, Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate?
In this kinesthetic activity, the concept of energy budget is strengthened as students conduct three simulations using play money as units of energy, and students serve as parts of a planetary radiation balance model. Students will determine the energy budget of a planet by manipulating gas concentrations, energy inputs and outputs in the system in this lesson that supports the study of climate on Mars, Mercury, Venus and Earth. The lesson supports understanding of the real-world problem of contemporary climate change. The resource includes a teacher's guide and several student worksheets. This is the second of four activities in the lesson, How do Atmospheres affect planetary temperatures?, within Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate? The resource aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales.
In this activity, students simulate the interaction of variables, including carbon dioxide, in a radiation balance exercise using a spreadsheet-based radiation balance model. Through a series of experiments, students attempt to mimic the surface temperatures of Earth, Mercury, Venus and Mars, and account for the influence of greenhouse gases in atmospheric temperatures. The activity supports inquiry into the real-world problem of contemporary climate change. Student-collected data is needed from activity A in the same module, "How do atmospheres interact with solar energy?" to complete this activity. Included in the resource are several student data sheets and a teacher's guide. This activity is part of module 4, "How do Atmospheres Affect Planetary Temperatures?" in Earth Climate Course: What Determines a Planet's Climate? The course aims to help students to develop an understanding of our environment as a system of human and natural processes that result in changes that occur over various space and time scales.
This set of three videos illustrates how math is used in satellite data analysis. The videos feature NASA senior climate scientist Claire Parkinson. Parkinson explains how the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice covers are measured from satellite data and how math is used to determine trends in the data. In the first video, she leads viewers from satellite data collection through obtaining a time series of monthly average sea ice extents for November 1978 – December 2012, for the Arctic and Antarctic. In the second video, she begins with the time series from the first video, removes the seasonal cycle by calculating yearly averages, and proceeds to calculate the slopes of the lines to get trends in the data, revealing decreasing sea ice coverage in the Arctic and increasing sea ice coverage in the Antarctic. In the third video, she uses a more advanced technique to remove the seasonal cycle and shows that the trends are close to the same, whichever method is used. She emphasizes the power of math and that the techniques shown for satellite sea ice data can also be applied to a wide range of data sets.
What happens when asteroids head for Earth? Most don't make it through the atmosphere. This comic strip, a supplement to the Hall of Meteorites Educator's Guide, uses detailed cross-section drawings to show what happens when one does.