|Lesson Plan ID:
In this lesson, students will use hands on inquiry in cooperative learning groups to understand, develop and analyze common measurements used by astronomers. Students will use common objects such as straws, twizzlers, or toothpicks to measure the distance from a fixed object or central location to other objects. The students will then use this information to develop a unit of measurement like the astronomical unit. The students will measure the speed of an object such as a remote control car and use this to develop a unit similar to the lightyear.
This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.
|SC(9-12) Earth and Space Elective||8. Explain the terms astronomical unit and light year. |
|MA2010(9-12) Algebra||4. Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multistep problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays. [N-Q1] |
|MA2010(9-12) Algebra||5. Define appropriate quantities for the purpose of descriptive modeling. [N-Q2] |
|MA2010(9-12) Algebra||6. Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities. [N-Q3] |
|MA2010(9-12) Algebra||12. Create equations and inequalities in one variable, and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions. [A-CED1] |
|MA2010(9-12) Algebra||15. Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. [A-CED4] |
|MA2010(9-12) Algebra||34. Write a function that describes a relationship between two quantities.* [F-BF1] |
|MA2010(9-12) Algebraic Connections||1. Create algebraic models for application-based problems by developing and solving equations and inequalities, including those involving direct, inverse, and joint variation. (Alabama) |
|MA2010(9-12) Algebraic Connections||10. Critique measurements in terms of precision, accuracy, and approximate error. (Alabama) |
NS9-12.1 Science as Inquiry As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop an understanding of • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry • Understandings about scientific inquiry NS9-12.4 Earth and Space Science As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop an understanding of • Energy in the earth system • Geochemical cycles • Origin and evolution of the earth system • Origin and evolution of the universe NS9-12.5 Science and Technology As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop • Abilities of technological design • Understandings about science and technology (provided by the National Academy of Science)
|Primary Learning Objective(s):
The students will use common objects to develop a measurement unit. They will then apply this to the astronomy units (lightyear and astronomical unit.)The student will use the scientific method to design and name their unit.
|Additional Learning Objective(s):
The students will use critical thinking as well as all the scientific process and application skills (e.g.observing, communication, classifying, measuring, predicting, inferring, analyzing data, etc.) Students will use basic math and measurement skills.
|Approximate Duration of the Lesson:
|| 91 to 120 Minutes|
|Materials and Equipment:
Each cooperative learning group will need common objects such as straws, twizzlers, toothpicks, etc. You should provide different objects so that the groups can design their own unit of measurement. Remote control car or other device that travels at a constant speed.
|Technology Resources Needed:
Digital camera or video camera, computer, and projector to make a powerpoint of the students discovery process. This is not necessary, but the students love to see themselves in action.
The teacher should allow the students to develop a unit of measurement on their own. The students should understand the scientific method. Their unit should be developed making sure all outside variables are considered. After the students have completed the two activities, then the concept of astronomical unit and lightyear should be presented.
1.)Bell ringer- Ask students to devise away to determine how many popcorn kernels or dried beans are in a bag. They can not open the bag and count.
(Discovery Light Year
)Resource for bell ring or after the project pictures.
2.)Lab - Cosmic Measurements - The lab, with teacher notes, is attached. This is an inquiry lab. You can give as many or as few guidelines and directions as appropriate for your class. Basically the students are going to develop two units of measurement. The first is going to be with a common object (twizzler, relate to astronomical unit). The second is going to be with something that moves (RC car, relate to lightyear)
3.)Optional Lab - Indirect Measurement Lab - Lab and teacher notes are attached. This lab allows students to measure objects that can not easily be measured. Relate to how astronomers measure distances and masses in space.
)Nasa website. Has astronomy vocabulary and games.
4.)Follow up- When the students have completed both labs, then it is time to discuss astronomical units and lightyear. There are web sites that give explanations and examples. These can be displayed on a projector or individually.
(How Stuff Works
)Great for explaining.
5.)Podcast/video - The students will watch a video or a pod cast of the process that all the groups followed to create their unit. The groups will evaluate how this is similar to the scientific method and the process that scientists use. They will also compare the different methods each group used and evaluate what they could have done to improve their method.
|Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.
||MyRubric indirect Measurement.xls|
Cosmic Measurement lab Sheet.doc
MyRubric Cosmic Measurements.xls
Indirect Measurement Hot Plates TN.doc
Indirect Measurement Hot Plates.doc
Group - cosmic mes.doc
The lab activity/ lab report should be graded with a rubric (attached).
Students can research how astronomers measure distances and masses in space. Use the lab Indirect Measurement to demonstrate this process.
These measurements are basic concepts that are difficult to understand. Pair weaker students with stronger students. The podcasts/videos can be used for remediation.
Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom
for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading
or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at
a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with
short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions;
poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.
|Presentation of Material
||Using Groups and Peers
|Assisting the Reluctant Starter
||Dealing with Inappropriate
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
|Variations Submitted by ALEX Users: