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Spacecraft Teacher Resources
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Learners engage in science, math, and language activities as they do research on the components of the solar system. The class begins with some anticipatory activities and discussions before it is divided into small groups to conduct research on one specific space object such as a planet, the moon or comets. This resource provides a list of possible research prompts and activities for groups to complete. After the research is complete, each group prepares and presents a display on their objec
Students study forces by examining the force of gravitational attraction. They observe how objects fall and measure the force of gravitational attraction upon objects. Students discover that, since gravitational constants are different for places other than Earth, engineers must especially take gravity and weight into consideration when they design spacecraft, and moon or planetary vehicles.
Students complete a series of experiments to simulate the effect of solar winds on space stations. The first one, "Sticky Situation" requires students to simulate solar wind. Next they determine the composition of "space particles" by using UV sensitive beads, and lastly they simulate collecting space particles by removing safety pins from a bowl of beads while blindfolded.
In this craters worksheet, students solve 3 problems including converting units of Joules into a number equivalent to a one-megaton nuclear bomb, finding the diameters of craters in a given picture and determining the energy needed to create the craters found in the given picture.
In this discovering new planets worksheet, students read about how the Kepler spacecraft detects new planets by observing the dimming of light emitted by stars as the planets pass in front of them. Students solve 2 problems using a sequence of figures showing the transit of a planet and they construct a 'light curve'. They also explain how they would use the data to determine the width of the planet.
In this STEREO satellites worksheet, students are given a chart with the intensity of the signals from the satellites received on Earth and the distances of the satellite from Earth. Students convert the intensity at each distance to power and solve 5 problems comparing the data at different distances.
In this methane lakes learning exercise, students read about the false-color synthetic radar map taken by the Cassini spacecraft indicating methane lakes on Titan. Students solve 4 problems about the surface area of the lakes from the image, and determine cubic kilometers of methane from the image. Finally, they compare the volume of Lake Tahoe to the volume of the methane lakes on Titan.
In this cosmic radiation on Mars instructional activity, learners study a radiation map of Mars taken by the MARIE instrument on the Odyssey spacecraft. Students answer 4 questions using the radiation map and they answer questions about the exposure to radiation if astronauts were to land on Mars.
In this coronal mass ejections worksheet, students observe a time line of events that took place during a solar storm. Students use the time line to answer 3 questions about the solar storm and the time it took to reach Earth. Students determine how fast the storm traveled per hour and how long a trip to Pluto would take as an extra challenge.
In this Pan's highway learning exercise, students read about the Cassini spacecraft that discovered how Pan clears out the ring debris in the outer A-ring system of Saturn. Students use an image taken by the satellite to find the scale of the image, they determine Pan's diameter, they find the width of the Encke Gap and they find the smallest feature in the photograph.
In this water on planetary surfaces worksheet, students read about the Galileo spacecraft and the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. They read about the energy needed to keep the water in a liquid state on Europa. Students solve 4 problems including finding energy of electrical items in Joules and converting to Watts and determining the time it takes to melt a block of ice using a 2,000 watt hair dryer.