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Space Learning Unit Grades (9 12) Essay

1417 words - 6 pages

Lesson 1: NASA - Space ProgramsObjectives:Learn about NASA's options for its space program;Research which option may be the most viable; andMake a recommendation based on research.Instructional Materials:Paper and pencilsNewsprint and markersComputer with Internet accessDiscover Magazine: The Solar System DVD and videoInstructional Activities:1.)Begin the lesson with a discussion about the space program, which is run by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, also known as NASA. Ask students if they are familiar with any space missions. Ask if they are aware of any discoveries that have been made through the space program. Write the students' ideas on the board or a large sheet of newsprint. Students may suggest the following:The mission to walk on the moonThe study of lunar (moon rock) samplesThe Hubble Space Telescope, which sends back high-resolution images of celestial bodiesThe International Space Station, where astronauts live to conduct experimentsDiscuss the stages that the space program has undergone. Point out that since the space shuttle disasters, the space program has lost its momentum. Officials at NASA are working to set new priorities for the agency.2.)To learn more about space programs under consideration, show students the segment entitled "Up Close and Far Away." Focus on the researchers discussing traveling to Mars and further travel to the moon.3.)Tell students that the video is a starting point for forming their own ideas about what NASA should plan for the space program. Students will research NASA's ideas for space exploration and then develop their own opinions about options.4.)Divide students into groups of three or four. Have each group research the topic and choose the best option for NASA to pursue. Each group will present its ideas, which must be supported by evidence, including pictures.5.)Give student’s time in class to research the topic. The following Web sites have useful information:http://www.startribune.com/stories/1519/4872513.htmlhttp://slate.msn.com/id/2078157/http://www.martiansoil.com/archives/001073.phphttp://www.npr.org/features/feature.php?wfId=1407363http://www.space.com/news/commentary_top10_030912.htmlhttp://www.nasa.gov/pdf/60736main_M2M_report_small.pdfhttp://www.nasa.gov/vision/space/features/jfk_speech.htmlhttp://spaceflight.nasa.gov6.)After the groups have completed their research, have them prepare a statement identifying their lists of priorities for NASA.7.)Have each group present its ideas. Ask one student to take notes, recording each group's ideas.8.)Conclude the lesson by discussing the groups' ideas to arrive at a class consensus of a recommendation for NASA. Does the class suggest travel to the moon or Mars? Do students argue for the use of robot or human for exploration? Summarize the class's ideas on a sheet of newsprint and post it in the room for visitors to see.Factual Information:•MarsDefinition: one of the four inner planets, or those closest to the sun;...

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