Space Exploration Classroom Activity

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1 Space Explratin Classrm Activity The Classrm Activity intrduces students t the cntext f a perfrmance task, s they are nt disadvantaged in demnstrating the skills the task intends t assess. Cntextual elements include: an understanding f the setting r situatin in which the task is placed, ptentially unfamiliar cncepts that are assciated with the scenari, and key terms r vcabulary students will need t understand in rder t meaningfully engage with and cmplete the perfrmance task. The Classrm Activity is als intended t generate student interest in further explratin f the key idea(s). The Classrm Activity shuld be easy t implement with clear instructins. Please read thrugh the entire Classrm Activity befre beginning the activity with students t ensure any classrm preparatin can be cmpleted in advance. Thrughut the activity it is permissible t pause and ask students if they have any questins. Resurces Needed: Chart paper, prjectr, whitebard, r a chalkbard Markers r chalk One piece f paper and pencil fr ne student in each grup. Students wh need an accmmdatin may use their preferred tl fr writing. Sme methd f displaying images and/r ancillary materials 1 Resurces Prvided (see end f dcument): Ancillary Material Image 1: Earth Image 2: Milky Way Galaxy Image 3: Astrnaut n the Mn Learning Gal: Students will understand the cntext f the key cncepts related t the tpic: Earth is relatively small in the cntext f space Scientists explre space fr many different reasns Internatinal scientists have achieved majr accmplishments in learning hw t live and wrk in space Space Explratin Classrm Activity [Purpse: The facilitatr s gal is t intrduce students t the reasns scientists explre space, t the cncept that the universe is made up f many galaxies, and t the cncept that scientists have accmplished much with regard t living and wrking in space.] Facilitatr says: There have been many accmplishments in space explratin since the 1950s. In preparatin fr yur perfrmance task, yu will first wrk in a small grup* t gain an understanding f hw small Earth is when cmpared t space as a whle. [*Nte: The fllwing sectin can be mdified t accmmdate varius types f teacher-student interactins such as a teacher-led discussin with the entire class, teacher-student discussin with a single student, r small grups in remte lcatins.] 1 Facilitatrs can decide whether they want t display ancillary materials using an verhead prjectr r cmputer/smartbard, r whether they want t prduce them as a handut fr students. 1

2 [Divide the students int small grups f 3 4 students. Assign ne student t be the recrder fr the grup. Give this student a pencil and a sheet f blank paper. Then display Image 1: Earth. (Nte: Fr students wh are visually impaired, read the picture descriptin beneath each image.)] Facilitatr says: In yur grup, tell each ther what yu see in this picture, as well as what yu already knw, s that yu can write dwn as many wrds as yu can that describe Earth. Yu have 15 secnds. Pssible class discussin answers (unscripted): Green Blue Mstly cean Rund 3rd planet frm the Sun Climate change Envirnmentalism Beautiful Diverse [After abut 15 secnds, have students share sme f their wrds with the class.] Facilitatr says: Nw that yu have shared sme f yur wrds that describe Earth, hw many f yu wuld describe Earth as small? [Allw a few secnds fr students t raise their hands, and then display Image 2: Milky Way Galaxy. (Nte: Fr students wh are visually impaired, read the picture descriptin beneath each image.)] Facilitatr says: Althugh Earth can seem large, when we think abut it, it really depends n what yu are cmparing it t. Examine this image f the Milky Way Galaxy. As yu can bserve, the Sun is nly ne star ut f many in ur galaxy. What ther bjects might be fund in this galaxy? In the next 30 secnds, discuss with yur grup and make a list f what else culd be in this image. [After abut 30 secnds, have students share items frm their lists. If the answers in the list belw are nt mentined by the students, the facilitatr shuld mentin them during the class discussin.] Pssible class discussin answers (unscripted): Stars Other planets Planets with mns Asterids Cmets 2

3 Facilitatr says: Earth is nly ne planet that rbits r mves arund ur Sun. The Sun is ne star ut f 300 billin stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, and many f thse stars are als nw knwn t have planets. The universe is made up f billins mre galaxies. When thinking f Earth in the cntext f the whle universe, it is very small. [Remve Images 1 and 2 frm display.] Facilitatr says: Outer space, r space, is the term used t describe the vid r area between planets, including Earth. Why d yu think scientists explre space? Discuss this with yur grup and have the recrder write dwn the grup s respnses. [After abut ne minute, ask the students t share their respnses t the questin. This discussin shuld last abut three minutes. Write the student respnses n the bard r chart paper. If the answers in the list belw are nt mentined by the students, they shuld be added t the list.] Pssible class discussin answers (unscripted): Scientists explre space because they are curius abut what is ut there. Scientists explre space t try t understand Earth s place in relatin t its slar system, its galaxy, and the universe as a whle. Scientists explre space t learn hw t live and wrk in uter space. [Display Image 3: Astrnaut n the Mn.(Nte: Fr students wh are visually impaired, read the picture descriptin beneath each image.)] Facilitatr says: Scientists have explred space fr several decades, and they have accmplished a lt during that time. In yur grup, write dwn as many accmplishments in space explratin as yu can in the next minute. [After abut ne minute, ask the students t share their respnses t the questin. This discussin shuld last abut three minutes. Write the student respnses n the bard r chart paper. If the answers in the list belw are nt mentined by the students, they shuld be added t the list.] Pssible class discussin answers (unscripted): Develping rckets t g int space Develping special suits t help peple survive in space Landing a persn n the mn Peple living in space (Russian Mir Space Statin and the Internatinal Space Statin) Sending satellites and telescpes t explre space Sending rbts t explre the surface f Mars Facilitatr says: Cnsidering all the advancements in space explratin ver the past 60 years, what d yu think the future f space explratin might lk like? [Ask students t share their respnses t the questin. This discussin shuld last abut three minutes.] Pssible class discussin answers (unscripted): Peple visiting Mars and ther planets Astrnauts capturing and studying an asterid Scientists discvering life n ther planets Average peple taking trips int space Facilitatr says: In yur perfrmance task, yu will learn mre abut space. Remember that scientists explre space fr many reasns, that Earth is nly ne planet in an extremely large universe, and that scientists have accmplished much with regard t living in and explring uter space. Yu are nw ready t cmplete yur perfrmance task. Please leave yur recrded ntes and pencils behind t be cllected. 3

4 Ancillary Materials Image 1 Earth Picture Descriptin: This is an image frm NASA f Earth. Earth is rund with swirls f cluds ver its surface. Image by NASA. In the public dmain. 4

5 Ancillary Materials Image 2 Milky Way Galaxy Picture Descriptin: This image frm NASA shws the Milky Way Galaxy which is als ur planet hunting neighbrhd. There is an arrw pinting t the Sun, which is nly ne f many stars in the phtgraph f the Milky Way Galaxy. The Sun is in the center f a small circle and the fllwing is written next t the Sun: Our Planet Hunting Neighbrhd Mst f the planets fund t date lie within abut 300 light-years frm ur Sun. Image by NASA. In the public dmain. 5

6 Ancillary Materials Image 3 Astrnaut n the Mn Picture Descriptin: This phtgraph frm NASA shws an astrnaut standing n the Mn. He is standing next t an American flag. Behind him there is a space craft with a sign that displays an American flag and the wrds United States. There is als a vehicle with wheels next t the space craft. Phtgraph by NASA. In the public dmain. 6

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