Adobe Reader is available free for downloading from the Adobe web site. Most of the activities can be adapted for grades Some may also be of interest to grades Activities for the Classroom. Activities for the Classroom Make a Pinhole Camera In this rather intense hands-on activity, students make their own pinhole cameras from a pattern given in the activity article.
They cut the pieces from a cardboard cereal box.
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All materials are easily available, except perhaps for the film canisters, which should obtainable with a small effort. Students will learn the principles of photography and enjoy a level of creativity not found with digital photography. Disciplines: Physics optics , engineering design, astronomy Activity: Hands-on project, working individually or in small groups of two or three. Evil-doer or Do-gooder: Getting the Goods on Ozone Explains the different roles ozone plays in Earth's atmosphere depending on its altitude. At some altitudes, it works to benefit living things, and at other altitudes it is harmful.
Introduces the concept of spectroscopy and how a NASA instrument can measure ozone at different altitudes. Students are invited to build a spectroscope themselves, from poster board, construction paper, and using a CD or DVD as the diffraction grating. Disciplines: Earth science, physics optics , chemistry, engineering design. Activity: Discussion and hands-on project.
Can be done in small groups or indiviually. Designing for the Barely Imaginable How do space scientists and engineers know what kinds of science instruments cameras, spectrometers, etc. How do they decide what they will want to measure once they get to, say, Saturn's moon Titan or Jupiter's moon Europa?
This article explains these planetary science instruments as extensions of our five senses, with each type of instrument analogous to eyes, ears, noses, etc. The activity invites students to imagine and describe an alien world, then design a pretend mission to explore that world, and give the results! Disciplines: Engineering design, physics, Earth science, language arts Activity: Discussion, design, and cooperation in small groups The Abracadabra of Engineering: Strong Structures from Flimsy Materials Introduces the concept of solar sailing.
Presents the problem of how to design a solar sail the size of a football field that can still be launched and deployed in space. Students build a strong, simple truss model using nothing but plain paper and string. This design is the basis of a real mast design to support solar sails. Students then test the strength of their model. The article explains how this lightweight structure of flimsy materials can be so strong.
Disciplines: Engineering design, physics Activity: Model building in small groups Designing Nature's Way Describes the process of artificial evolution in which a supercomputer or many microcomputers networked together "evolve" and test millions of generations of designs to finally come up with the best one possible to meet a given set of requirements. In this case, artificial evolution was used to create a perfect, tiny antenna for some tiny satellites.
A Includes a clever game students can play to "evolve" the best computer "emoticon" face to express a given emotion. Illustrates the concepts of both natural and artificial evolution. Disciplines: Biology, engineering design, logic Activity: Group exercise and discussion. Pluto or Bust! Describes the New Horizons mission to Pluto-Charon and the extreme challenges presented to the scientists and engineers designing the mission.
Read about the very strange Pluto-Charon system, and use the questions at the end for class discussion or as a writing assignment. Disciplines: Logic, engineering design, astronomy Activity: Individual or group exercise and discussion. Teaching Machines to Think Fuzzy Explains in a clear and entertaining way the difference--or at least one of them--between how humans think and how machines think.
Humans understand complex problems with seemingly unquantifiable parameters, then manipulate the input parameters to come up with a probable solution. If that doesn't work, they take the less-than-perfect result as a new input and tweak the answer some more until satisfied with the result. This article and activity show how you could teach a computer--or a robot--to solve problems that way. Disciplines: Math, logic, physics force, motion Activity: Individual or group exercise and discussion. Dampen That Drift! In very simple terms, this activity introduces vectors, and their addition and subtraction, without need for geometry, algebra, or trigonometry.
To shed light on some of the greatest mysteries of the universe, space scientists and engineers are working to perfect a technology called space interferometry.
Several spacecraft carrying telescopes or other types of instruments are flown in formation. They work together as if part of one giant, rigid instrument.
This activity article explains a system for eliminating almost all the tiny disturbances in this virtual structure caused by random forces in space. Disciplines: Math introduces vectors , physics force, motion Activity: Group activity game and discussion.
Reinventing Time Summarizes the history of timekeeping technology and secondary inventions people used to reconcile our mechanical timekeeping with our master timekeeper, the Sun. Explains the analemma curve and how to use it to calculate the exact time of high noon in any location.
Disciplines: Earth's coordinate system, astronomy, technology and society, math Activity: Group activity and discussion. Team Up on the Weather Explains how weather satellites, teamed with scientists, pilots, computers programmers, and super computers work together to save lives and property by predicting where large storms will hit and giving people time to get out of the way. Includes a fun weather trivia game with lots of background information. Disciplines: Earth science Activity: Group activity and discussion.
Singin' the Black and Blues Gives simple, yet authoritative answers to the questions "Why is the sky blue? Activity: Reading and discussion, singing if desired , writing poem or essay. Listening for Rings from Space This activity introduces gravitational waves and the NASA technology being developed to detect them in space. The activity involves building a metaphorical interferometer that demonstrates how the mission and all interferometry works.
Lower elementary students can understand the food link between two organisms. Current scientific knowledge and understanding guide scientific investigations. The sun provides the light and heat necessary to maintain the temperature of the earth. Test grades should also be recorded in the lesson plan where indicated. Select a plan All plans include a free trial and enjoy the same features. Choose an account to Log In Google accounts.
Disciplines: Physics light, lasers, interferometry , math proportion Activity: Small group hands-on activity and class discussion. Rising Above the Problem Explains how remote imaging of Earth by satellite instrumentation can be used for everything from managing forest fires to deciding where to build a shopping center. Students think about how very high-resolution images of Earth from space might be used, and about the political and economic aspects of studies using this type of data.
Disciplines: Earth science and technology, technology and society Activity: Group activity, discussion. Sizing Up the Clouds The teacher sets up three simulated "clouds" representing three different cloud types. Students use different methods to estimate "precipitation" contents of each cloud type.
Each method is roughly analogous to methods actually used in weather forecasting. Finally, the "precipitation" from each cloud will be released, and the students will compare their estimates to what is actually experienced on the "ground. Match pictures of the following weather instruments with the weather condition they measure:. Thermometers of various types, including liquid-expansion thermometers, metal-expansion thermometers and digital-electronic thermometers—used to measure temperature. Barometers of various types, including aneroid and mercury types—used to measure air pressure.
Wind gauges of various sorts—instruments to measure windspeed or velocity. A student might mistakenly say that the thermometer measures heat or might not understand the concepts of air pressure or humidity. Students at this age cannot be expected to develop sophisticated understanding of the concepts of air pressure, humidity, heat, temperature, speed, or velocity. Over the course of grades K-4, student investigations and design problems should incorporate more than one material and several contexts in science and technology. A suitable collection of tasks might include making a device to shade eyes from the sun, making yogurt and discussing how it is made, comparing two types of string to see which is best for lifting different objects, exploring how small potted plants can be made to grow as quickly as possible, designing a simple system to hold two objects together, testing the strength of different materials, using simple tools, testing different designs, and constructing a simple structure.
It is important also to include design problems that require application of ideas, use of communications, and implementation of procedures—for instance, improving hall traffic at lunch and cleaning the classroom after scientific investigations. Experiences should be complemented by study of familiar and simple objects through which students can develop observation and analysis skills. By comparing one or two obvious properties, such as cost and strength of two types of adhesive tape, for example, students can develop the abilities to judge a product's worth against its ability to solve a problem.
During the K-4 years, an appropriate balance of products could come from the categories of clothing, food, and common domestic and school hardware. A sequence of five stages—stating the problem, designing an approach, implementing a solution, evaluating the solution, and communicating the problem, design, and solution—provides a framework for planning and for specifying learning outcomes.
However, not every activity will involve all of those stages, nor must any particular sequence of stages be followed. For example, some activities might begin by identifying a need and progressing through the stages; other activities might involve only evaluating existing products. In problem identification, children should develop the ability to explain a problem in their own words and identify a specific task and solution related to the problem. Students should make proposals to build something or get something to work better; they should be able to describe and communicate their ideas.
Students should recognize that designing a solution might have constraints, such as cost, materials, time, space, or safety. Children should develop abilities to work individually and collaboratively and to use suitable tools, techniques, and quantitative measurements when appropriate. Students should demonstrate the ability to balance simple constraints in problem solving. Students should evaluate their own results or solutions to problems, as well as those of.
When possible, students should use measurements and include constraints and other criteria in their evaluations. They should modify designs based on the results of evaluations.
Student abilities should include oral, written, and pictorial communication of the design process and product.