Live from the Hubble Space Telescope
UPDATE # 3B
PART 1: Ordering print materials
PART 2: Overview of Actvitities 1A-1C
PART 3: Activity 1A: Planet Tours, Inc.
PART 4: Activity 1B: Painting planets
PART 5: Activity 1C: The great student solar system model
STEP TWO: Print Curriculum Materials
The Teacher's Kit will be ready for distribution by February 15th. If you have not yet ordered your copy, send a check, money order, or purchase order for $10.00 per kit, made payable to Passport to Knowledge and send to:
Passport to Knowledge
Indicate your full name, mailing address, school and grade level, number of students participating, and any other key information you would like to share.
The Teacher's Kit includes: 48 page teacher's guide, plus co-packaged materials NASA Space Based Astronomy, HST lithos, HST poster, 3 color filters, 1 diffraction grating, heat-sensitive paper, and UV sensitive beads.
Please note that only the first three OPENING Activities are included in this message.
Be sure to review Program 101, "The Great Debate" which aired November 9, 1995 which served as an introduction to the entire project and announces the on-line discussion which led to a December 1995 consensus about which planets to observe. The four astronomers who served as "Planet Advocates" (Reta Beebe for Jupiter, Marc Buie for Pluto, Heidi Hammel for Neptune, and Carolyn Porco for Uranus) each presented reasons for using HST orbits for "their" planet, and summarized key scientific goals which could be achieved. Presenter Bill Gutsch reviewed the history of the Hubble Space Telescope and provided a project timeline.
The first three activities in the Teacher's Guide are OPENING ACTIVITIES 1A-1C. These three activities will help create the "anticipatory set" and address the following EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES:
**Students will be able to describe the scale and structure of our solar system, in terms of distances between the planets, and compare and contrast their relative sizes, distinctive appearance and characteristics, and differentiate between "terrestrial" and gaseous bodies.
**Students will develop collaborative learning and research skills to create multimedia reports illustrating the complexity and diversity of our solar system.
Objective: Working in collaborative teams, students will demonstrate the ability to use appropriate research, writing and graphic presentation skills to create a travel brochure or travel poster for a specific location in our solar system.
Interdisciplinary Connections: Science, English, Computers, Art (design), Social Studies (Marketing)
Have student teams discuss what factors make some posters and brochures more compelling than others. What roles do the words and the pictures play, and how do they complement each other? How is the writing they find in a travel brochure different from that which they find in a book, or on the front page of a newspaper, or in a magazine? Have students develop a list of "rules" for a successful travel poster or brochure
Turn students' attention skyward. Help students research the necessary factual information about our neighboring worlds and to obtain the pictures they need from books, magazines, CD-ROMs or the Internet . Challenge them to find the most exciting sites and sights offered by their chosen planet or its moons -- from Vallis Marineris, a Grand Canyon on Mars that would stretch across the entire United States, to sheer cliffs of ice on Uranus' satellite, Miranda, 8 miles high. What resort attractions might 21st century technology bring? A golf course on the moon? Snow machines creating a long downhill ski run from a mighty Martian volcano?
Have students make rough pencil sketches of their posters or brochures. Through team discussion, encourage them to edit and refine. Then, have them compose the finished product before making an oral presentation to the entire class and come prepared to respond to charges of false advertising or bad science!
Give students an overall advertising budget for "Planet Tours, Inc." for a one month advertising campaign, and challenge students to develop a marketing plan. If a student has a relative who's a travel or advertising professional, they might be invited to give a talk before the class.
Have them make their presentations to another class (perhaps a lower grade, who can then also ask questions, turning your students into teachers) who will vote on their favorite planetary vacation destination. Have the class ask factual questions, and probe for purple prose.
end of Activity 1-A
Objective: Working cooperatively, students will demonstrate the ability to research, plan and build accurately scaled models of the planets, reflecting the known physical characteristics of each.
Interdisciplinary Connection: Science, Math, Art
TABLE 1-B-1 SIZE OF PLANETS Planet Diameter Diameter If earth was 1 inch (cm) in Miles in Kilometers ____________________________________________________ Mercury 3,032 4,878 0.38 (a little more than 1/3) Venus 7,523 12,104 0.95 (about like earth) Earth 7,928 12,756 1.00 Mars 4,218 6,787 0.53 (about 1/2 earth) Jupiter 88,863 142,980 11.2 Saturn 74,916 120,540 9.5 Uranus 31,771 51,120 4.0 Neptune 30,783 49,530 3.9 (about like Uranus) Pluto 1,430 2,300 0.18 (about 1/2 Mercury) TABLE 1-B-2 SIZE OF RINGS Planet Diameter of Rings If Earth is 1 inch (cm) Inner Edge Outer Edge Jupiter 9.6 10.1 Saturn 11.6 21.4 Uranus 6.6 8.1 Neptune 8.9 11.0
Have students research the appearance of each of the planets using appropriate books, magazines, CD-ROMs, Internet pages or other sources (see MultiMedia Resources for suggestions.) Challenge students to identify the most important surface or atmospheric characteristics of each planet, and to think about ways in which these features can be represented on their models.
As they research their planet, have them list its special characteristics, as an Artist's Think Pad, recording its color or colors, surface or atmospheric features, whether it has rings and, if so, are they light or dark? Have students use this as a guide to decide what coloring or painting techniques they'll need to use to create their model. How will they construct and assemble the giant planets' ring systems? (Remember Neptune's strange ring arcs: for more, see LHST program 101.)
If you're not sure about colors and textures, consult with an art teacher or local art supply store for the appropriate kind of paint to use with the materials chosen to serve as the planets. (Consider whether larger planets should have more artists?) When all the models have been painted, discuss where they can be displayed. Perhaps you'll choose the ceiling of the classroom or a school hallway (check with fire and other safety regulations!), or across the stage in the auditorium for a special assembly for other students, reporting on the entire Live from Hubble project when it's completed. Have students make a sign for each planet listing its name, size and other key information. (See Activity 1-C)
If you want to add the sun to your model of the solar system, how big a ball would you have to find? (The sun is 865,000 miles [1,392,000 kilometers] in diameter, or about 109 times the diameter of earth.) Have students research whether there is a ball, or sphere, around your school that's this large? (Any water spheres in your area that would adequately fill the Sun's shoes?) Where? Could they paint a picture of the sun this large to go with their planets? How big would it be? Where would you place it?
If resources permit, (and the drama department or tech. crew has some stage lighting to loan!) students may wish to light their planet models dramatically -- after all, the Sun is just one big light! -- in a darkened room and video tape "close encounters" with their planet, as if their video camera were a spacecraft like the twin Voyagers, or Galileo, slowly flying past (see LHST 101, "The Great Planet Debate" for JPL's great computer graphics representations of the Voyagers' encounters with Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus. Remember Galileo will be orbiting Jupiter and its moons for the next 2 years.)
As another math expansion, challenge students to calculate how far apart the planets would have to be from each other given the size scale of the planets that they adopted. Use the table of distances provided in Activity 1-C. Whether you use that Activity or not, they'll soon see that our solar system is a very large and empty place!
At the conclusion of Live from the Hubble Space Telescope, have students revisit their models of the planets we'll be studying (Neptune, Pluto and Jupiter) and see what "new" information they now have. As a writing activity, how would they update the textbooks or other sources they consulted? Perhaps you might even submit their reports to your text's publisher as input to their next revision!
Have students keep a journal as they create their model. What did they do, and discover, each day? What were the easiest, most fun parts of the project? What parts were more difficult or challenging? If another class were going to do this same project next year, what pointers would they give them? Consider keeping a photo-journal or video diary of their progress. Taking a picture of their model each day would provide a timelapse record of how it gradually changed into a planet. Paste such pictures into their journal entries for each day: think how in years to come, you'll also be able to paste video into your students' Web pages!
end of Activity 1-B
Objective: Students will demonstrate the ability to convert numerical distances in our solar system and create a playground sized replica using human bodies to represent the planets.
Interdisciplinary Connection: Science, Math
Brainstorm where the class will create its Great Student Solar System. (Hint: Pick a space long enough to be impressive, and fun like a playground or athletic field.) Next, choose a reasonable length for the A.U. in your model. (Hint: Pre-measure the total length of the area likely to be selected for the model and divide this length by 40. This will mean that if the Sun is at one end of the space, Pluto will just neatly fit at the other, with all the other planets spaced out [sic] in between.)
Let students chose to be the different planets and the Sun. If you are preparing this Activity one day and making the model the next, suggest that they wear clothing appropriately-colored for their celestial object. (Mars is a nice, fashionable, rust-color, but Jupiter might require something tie-died, borrowed from Mom or Dad.) Discuss having more than one student be each planet, with the number of students indicating the relative size of the planet (see Activity 1-B) Have students make posters with the names of their celestial object in large letters, with a picture, created by them, or found in a magazine (being sure only to use ones that are ok to cannibalize!)
To construct your model, go to the designated place with students, posters, and the piece of brightly-colored yarn cut to the length of A.U. chosen for your model. Start at the Sun and place that student in position. Select two or three students as Official Solar System Measurers (OSSM's). With A.U. yarn in hand, have then measure off the correct distance to each planet, using the numbers they have calculated. As the OSSMs reach the correct position for each planet, have the student who will represent that planet take their place until the whole solar system is complete. Then, take a few pictures of your Great Human Solar System Model and return to class for discussion. (Live from the Stratosphere, program 105, contains a similar Activity, presented by HST Guide author Bill Gutsch, done live on-camera at NASA Ames in an aircraft hangar: it might help to review that tape if you have it.)
See also Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot for a discussion of how when Voyager left our solar system, beyond the orbit of Neptune, it turned to take a farewell snapshot which emphasized just how small our Earth was against the huge dimensions of our solar system: think about doing something rather the same, looking out from the Sun to distant Pluto, and vice versa.
When the students reassemble, discuss what they discovered about how the planets were spaced. Most will probably be surprised to see how relatively close together the first four planets are, crowded around the sun, but how vastly spread-out are the planets after Mars.
Table 1-C Distances of the Planets from the Sun Planet Miles Kilometers A.U. Mercury 35,985,000 57,900,000 0.39 Venus 67,247,000 108,200,000 0.72 Earth 92,977,000 149,600,000 1.00 Mars 141,641,000 227,900,000 1.52 Jupiter 483,717,000 778,300,000 5.20 Saturn 885,954,000 1,425,500,000 9.53 Uranus 1,788,129,000 2,877,100,000 19.23 Neptune 2,801,802,000 4,508,100,000 30.14 Pluto 3,701,057,000 5,955,000,000 39.81