In this activity, students construct adding slide rules, scaled with linear calibrations like ordinary rulers. Students learn to move these scales relative to each other in ways that add and subtract distances, thus calculating sums and differences. This is Activity A1 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons within the guide include activities in which students measure, compare quantities as orders of magnitude, use scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, the GLAST mission was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi.
This story, featuring a pigeon named Amelia, takes place in New York City. Amelia's owner, a young girl named Maria, receives a gift from her grandfather-a camera specially designed for strapping on to a pigeon along with copies of old photographs taken of New York City landmarks. Suddenly, Amelia's flights around the city take on new relevance; she visits the Bronx Zoo, Central Park and Battery Park to take updated pictures of those same landmarks from her "birds-eye" perspective. Through Amelia's adventures, and with some help from a NASA scientist, Maria learns about the history of aerial images, the use of images to detect changes over time, the significance of color, texture and shape in interpreting those images, and the importance of images taken from today's NASA satellites to our understanding of Earth.
This astronomy program is designed for middle school children in out-of-school-time settings. The program explores basic astronomy concepts (like invisible light, telescopes) and focuses on the universe outside the solar system (stars, galaxies, black holes). The program is structured for use in a variety of settings, including astronomy days, summer camps, or year-long afterschool programs. Although session activities build concepts sequentially, each session activity is designed to be freestanding as not all participants may attend every session. A manual provides background information and descriptions of how to conduct each activity. A companion website provides additional information and resources for the program leader.
This resource provides an explanation of two number/magic puzzles that can be demystified and explained by using algebra. This resource is from PUMAS - Practical Uses of Math and Science - a collection of brief examples created by scientists and engineers showing how math and science topics taught in K-12 classes have real world applications.
Traditionally, spectral images are two dimensional, and related to text. This kinesthetic activity has groups of students position themselves along a printed spectrum to make spectral patterns and model various elements. Includes photos, teachers notes and instructions, related resources (e.g., color pdf of a visible light spectra image that can be projected onto a white board or wall to do the activity), and alternative suggestions.
This is an activity about graph interpretation. Learners will compare, interpret, and discuss four graphs of the speed, temperature, magnetic field strength, and density of a coronal mass ejection as it swept past Earth in 1997. This is the third activity in the Solar Storms and You: Exploring the Wind from the Sun educator guide.
This short video (~2 minutes) explains how a raindrop falls through the atmosphere and why a more accurate look at raindrops can improve estimates of global precipitation. This information is important to scientists working on the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission - understanding the micro world of raindrops provides insight to scientists about the macro world of storms.
This experimental activity is designed to develop basic understanding of the relationship between the angle of light rays and the area over which the light rays are distributed, and the potential to affect changes in the temperature of materials. Resources needed to conduct this activity include a flashlight, cardboard, protractor and ruler. The resource includes background information, a pre-activity inquiry exploration for students, teaching tips and questions to guide student discussion. This is chapter 4 of Meteorology: An Educator's Resource for Inquiry-Based Learning for Grades 5-9. The guide includes a discussion of learning science, the use of inquiry in the classroom, instructions for making simple weather instruments, and more than 20 weather investigations ranging from teacher-centered to guided and open inquiry investigations.
This is an activity about auroras and the scientific terminology used to describe them. Learners will read an article that provides an introduction to specific terms and concepts related to auroras and auroral substorms and examine photographs of a 2003 aurora and descriptions of an 1859 aurora to identify the various phases of auroral substorms. This is activity 11 from Exploring Magnetism: Magnetic Mysteries of the Aurora.
This is a lesson which gives students the opportunity to imagine they are scientists, provides them with a basic understanding of aurora and helps them to use creative methods in their observations. First, students will study the scientific aspect of the aurora. They will also look at images of the aurora (both pictures and illustrations) and describe what they think of when they see them. These descriptions can be stored in the student portfolios as they will be useful in future lessons. Includes teacher notes and instructions, student workshops and an online, animated story, and related teacher resources on aurora. This is lesson three of a collection of five activities that can be used individually or as a sequence; concludes with a KWL (Know/Want-to-know/Learned) assessment activity.
In this lesson, students will demonstrate their understanding of the aurora by writing their own poems. Teachers can decide which form(s) of poetry to use from their worksheets or allow students to create their own. Examples of styles include: Acrostic, List, Haiku, Like and As, and May and Could. To help students get inspired, the class will read a poem on the aurora, and they can also look through their portfolios to help form ideas. Includes teacher notes and instructions, student workshops and an online, animated story, and related teacher resources on aurora. This is lesson five of a collection of five activities that can be used individually or as a sequence; concludes with a KWL (Know/Want-to-know/Learned) assessment activity.
This experimental activity is designed to develop a basic understanding of the interrelationship between temperature and pressure and the structure of a device made to examine this relationship. Resources needed to conduct this activity include two canning jars, two large rubber balloons, a heat lamp or lamp with 150 watt bulb, and access to freezer or water and ice. The resource includes background information, teaching tips and questions to guide student discussion. This is chapter 5 of Meteorology: An Educator's Resource for Inquiry-Based Learning for Grades 5-9. The guide includes a discussion of learning science, the use of inquiry in the classroom, instructions for making simple weather instruments, and more than 20 weather investigations ranging from teacher-centered to guided and open inquiry investigations.
In this activity, students construct base-two slide rules that add and subtract base-2 exponents (log distances), in order to multiply and divide corresponding powers of two. Students use these slide rules to generate both log and antilog equations, learning to translate one in terms of the other. This is activity C1 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure,compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi.
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 lithograph shows the break-off of a large iceberg from the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica. This event occurred between November 4th and 12th, 2001, and provides powerful evidence of rapid changes underway in this area of Antarctica. The images were acquired by the MISR instrument onboard NASA's Terra spacecraft.
This board game challenges players (ages 10+) to build a spaceship and fly to a black hole. The game provides opportunities for understanding phenomena based on current black hole research. During the game, players will experience the dangers and excitement of a real space mission, and learn about the nature of black holes by launching scientific probes. The game can be played competitively or as a team (instructions are also provided for playing in large groups. Black Hole Explorer consists of: Game Board, Game Rules, Spacecraft Data sheets, Science Briefing Room document, Event cards (28), Probe result cards (12), Energy tokens (140). Game components are available as PDF downloads; dice and game pieces must be provided by the user. NOTE: tokens and cards need to be cut to size from letter-size cardstock.
This chapter provides teachers with instructions to install a school weather station, and to build simple instruments to monitor weather conditions. Materials need to create a homemade weathervane include a two-liter soft drink bottle, a shallow metal pie pan, a plastic drinking straw, and a compass. Building an anemometer requires plastic cups, soda straws, a pencil with an unused new eraser on the end, a paper punch, and a thumbtack. Thermometers and a rain gauge must be purchased. A data table is included for estimating windspeed using the anemometer. The chapter includes research ideas that allow students to validate their instruments and test the predictive capability of resources such as the Farmer's Almanac. This resource is chapter 15 of Meteorology: An Educator's Resource for Inquiry-Based Learning for Grades 5-9. The resource includes background information, teaching tips and questions to guide student discussion. This is chapter 15 of Meteorology: An Educator's Resource for Inquiry-Based Learning for Grades 5-9. The guide includes a discussion of learning science, the use of inquiry in the classroom, instructions for making simple weather instruments, and more than 20 weather investigations ranging from teacher-centered to guided and open inquiry investigations.
"Build It Yourself: Satellite!" is an online Flash game hosted on the James Webb Space Telescope website. The goal of the game is to explain the decision-making process of satellite design. The user can choose to build a "small," "medium," or "large" astronomy satellite. The user then selects science goals, wavelength, instruments, and optics. The satellite is then launched on the appropriate rocket (shown via an animation). Finally, the user is shown what their satellite might look like, as well as what kind of data it might collect, via examples from similar real-life satellites. Satellites range from small X-ray missions without optics (like the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer) to large missions with segmented mirrors (like the James Webb Space Telescope).
In this activity, learners consider the requirements for human life beyond Earth's protection: air to breathe, plentiful food, shielding from ultraviolet light, power, etc. They then work in teams to design and construct a model of a space colony out of craft materials that would allow humans to survive the harsh environments of the Moon or Mars. Teams present their modules and colonies to one another and create a display for the library. This activity is part of Explore! To the Moon and Beyond! - developed specifically for use in libraries.
In this activity, learners build a sextant to measure the altitude, or height above the horizon, of an object. The activity was originally designed to accompany a previous NASA-funded educational program, entitled The Sun in Time.