ALEX Lesson Plan

     

Using Heavy Lifting to Demonstrate How Conventional Thinking has Changed Over Time

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Virginia Hall
System: Mobile County
School: Mary G Montgomery High School
And
Author:Karla McInnis
System: Mobile County
School: Mobile County Board Of Education
The event this resource created for:NASA
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 34411

Title:

Using Heavy Lifting to Demonstrate How Conventional Thinking has Changed Over Time

Overview/Annotation:

In this lesson, students construct balloon-powered rockets to launch the greatest payload possible to the classroom ceiling. Student teams receive identical parts to build rockets. Then the teams compete to launch the greatest number of paper clips to space (the ceiling).

By utilizing this lesson, the students begin to understand that the scientific progress achieved is not a static process but a fluid one that has developed and changed overtime.  They also begin to realize that scientific advancement has incorporated a variety of scientists throughout history and time periods.

This lesson was created as part of the 2016 NASA STEM Standards of Practice Project, a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 9-12
Earth and Space Science
6 ) Obtain and evaluate information about Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Einstein to communicate how their findings challenged conventional thinking and allowed for academic advancements and space exploration.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Place in the Universe
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Compare and contrast the arguments for the geocentric system of planetary motions (i.e., the Ptolemaic system) and the heliocentric system (Copernican) providing explanations for why each system was widely accepted for many centuries.
  • Graphically organize the claims and declarations of Copernicus, Galielo, Kepler and Newton, showing the correlation and development of the varioul Laws and principles that resulted in modern understanding of the motion of all objects.
  • Gather, read and evaluate scientific information from other disciplines (e.g., chemistry or biology) showing how initial non-traditional ideas were developed and extended by a progression of scientists into a modern view.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Copernicus
  • Galileo
  • Kepler
  • Newton
  • Einstein
  • heliocentric
  • orbit
  • gravity
  • relativity
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Copernicus contributed the heliocentric or sun-centered conception of the universe.
  • Kepler contributed the three laws of planetary motion Galileo contributed through telescopic observations that materials in universe were more earth like rather than ethereal.
  • Newton contributed the laws of motion and universal gravitation.
  • Einstein contributed the theories of relativity.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Identify relevant evidence found in case studies from the history of science on Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Einstein.
  • Evaluate the validity, reliability of evidence along with its ability to support reasonable arguments.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Science knowledge is a result of human endeavor, imagination, and creativity.
  • Individuals and teams from many nations and cultures have contributed to science and to advances in engineering.
  • Technological advances have influenced the progress of science and science has influenced advances in technology.

Local/National Standards:

During this activity, the students will be demonstrating the following Scientific and Engineering Practices:

  • Asking questions and defining problems.

  • Developing and using models.

  • Planning and carrying out investigations

  • Analyzing and interpreting data

  • Engaging in argument from evidence

  • Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information.

During this activity, the students will be demonstrating the following Crosscutting Concepts:

  • Systems and system models

  • Structure and function

  • Stability and change

During this activity, the student will be demonstrating knowledge at the following Blooms Levels:

  • 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (depending on what part of the activity you are in)

During this activity, the students will be demonstrating knowledge at the following DOK Levels:

  • 1, 3, 3, 4, 4 (depending on what part of the activity you are in) 

During this activity, its pre-reading, and its extension, students will utilize the following Reading Standard:

  • Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text.

During this activity, its pre-reading, and its extension, students will utilize the following Writing Standard(s):

  • Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/experiments, or technical processes.

  • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation provided (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic). 

Primary Learning Objective(s):

The students will be able to evaluate the information obtained on Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton and Einstein and communicate how their findings (breakthroughs in their time) are incorporated into rocketry (space exploration).

Additional Learning Objective(s):

The student will be able to obtain information from the Heavy Lifting Activity, evaluate the information, and communicate how the information they obtained could be modified and used to enhance future designs.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Materials for the Heavy Lifting Activity

  • Large binder clips (one per launch pad)
  • Fishing line or smooth string
  • Long balloons (see note on next page about sources)
  • Bathroom size (3 oz) paper cup
  • 2 straight drinking straws
  • 50 small paper clips
  • Sandwich size plastic bag
  • Masking tape
  • Balloon hand pumps (optional)
  • Wooden spring-type clothespins (optional)
  • duct tape (optional)
  • dumbbell - one per launch pad (optional)

Heavy Lifting Activity

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer technology is necessary for this lesson.

  • Computer/device with internet capabilities (either one computer/device per student or one computer/device per group)
  • Internet connection

Background/Preparation:

The teacher reviews the material below and creates a prior lesson on the contributions of Aristotle, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Einstein on the forces that need to be understood (and sometimes overcome) to launch a rocket.  

The YouTube video link 4.1 Aristotle, Copernicus, Galileo on Motion will explain motion. (The teacher can also review Galileo Galilei vs Isaac Newton as an additional resource.)

The YouTube video link What is Gravity? - Newton vs. Einstein will explain gravity.

The YouTube video link History of the Universe in a nutshell: Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler  will give a short introduction to four explanatory models of the universe. The video Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion will provide a more in-depth look at orbital motion.

Background Information

Heavy Lifting Activity Background Information

NOTE: to attach the string to the floor you can use (1) duct tape/masking tape if it is a tile floor or (2) tie off to a dumbbell if it is a carpet floor (this would allow the fishing line to be wound on the dumbbell and stored for use next time.)

Copernicus Historical Information

Galileo Historical Information

Kepler Historical Information

Newton Historical Information

Newton's Laws of Motion

Einstein Historical Information

Einstein's Equation 

  Procedures/Activities: 

Day 1 Procedures:

  1. (Engage) The teacher shows video 4.1 Aristotle, Copernicus, Galileo on Motion, and discusses with the students the importance of motion and these scientists' contributions to rocketry.) The teacher can also show Galileo Galilei vs Isaac Newton as an additional reinforcement of Galileo and his impact on Newton.)
  2. The teacher shows the video History of the Universe in a nutshell: Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler and discusses with the students the importance of an accurate model of the universe and its impact on rocketry. For a more in-depth look at planetary motion from Kepler, the video Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion can be shown.
  3. The teacher shows the video What is Gravity? - Newton vs. Einstein, and discusses with the students the importance of gravity and these scientists contributions on rocketry.
  4. (Explore) The students should complete a journal entry on the scientists while the video and discussions occur. Then have the students pair off with another student to discuss what they thought was the most important discovery, by whom, and why? (NOTE: document this discussion as a journal entry.)
  5. (Evaluate) Have the students create a timeline of the scientists, including their discoveries and how they affected rocketry. (Multimedia presentation tools could also be utilized with this activity.)

Day 2 Procedures:

  1. (Explain) Divide your students into teams of three. Explain the project to them: "NASA is looking for creative ideas for launching heavy payloads into orbit. Payloads include parts and supplies for the International Space Station and spacecraft that will carry humans to the Moon and Mars. NASA is also interested in rockets that can transport large fuel tanks that will be used to power deep space rockets. You are challenged to build the most efficient heavy-lift rocket from the same set of materials. The team that is able to lift the greatest payload into space (the ceiling) is the winner."
  2. Provide each team with an identical kit of materials. Tell them that any or all of these materials can be used for their rockets.
  3. Review the launching procedure. Explain how the straw guides the rocket up the fishing line or string and that the line must be held snug to the floor for the launch. [NOTE: to attach the string to the floor you can use (1) duct tape/masking tape if it is a tile floor or (2) tie off to a dumbbell if it is a carpet floor (this would allow the fishing line to be wound on the dumbbell and stored for use next time.)] Remind the teams that they only get three balloons. They can launch as many times as they want to (in the time allotted) but should try to improve how many paper clips they can successfully lift.
  4. Draw a chart on the board for teams to record their results (i.e., the number of paper clips that reach the ceiling). (NOTE: Smart Boards/digital boards can be utilized to create a chart for recording of data.  This way, data can be saved for the entire group and revisited if needed.)
  5. Have students record their data on the student data sheet.

Tip: If you wish to do so, provide one extra balloon to each team as a replacement in case of a mishap (pop!) or as a fourth rocket for their cluster. Make a small coupon for the extra balloon and put it in the parts bag. The coupons will help you keep track of which teams have already requested an extra balloon.

Procedures (page 48 )

Student Data Sheet (page 50)

 6. Have each team present their design to the class.

  • How many balloons did they use?
  • How many paperclips did their rocket carry to the ceiling?
  • How did they attach the paper clips to the balloon?
  • What problems did they encounter? How did they solve those problems?

7. (Evaluate) Have the team write and submit a summary of their launch vehicle (using correct science and technology terms) and choose which scientist they feel had the most impact on their design (and why).

8. (Evaluate) For a more formative assessment, have the students complete an exit slip listing the five scientists: Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Einstein and then list their contribution to science. (Note: a table like the one below can be used to assist the students in their organizational skills.)

 

Scientist Name (from lesson)

Contribution to Science

1

 

 

2

 

 

3

 

 

4

 

 

5

 

 



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  Assessment  

Assessment Strategies

Assessment

Day 1:

(Evaluate) Utilizing their journal entries, have the students create a timeline of the scientists, including their discoveries and how they affected rocketry. (Multimedia presentation tools could also be utilized with this activity.)

Day 2:

1. (Evaluate) Have each team present their design to the class.

  • How many balloons did they use?
  • How many paperclips did their rocket carry to the ceiling?
  • How did they attach the paper clips to the balloon?
  • What problems did they encounter? How did they solve those problems?

2. (Evaluate) Have the team write and submit a summary of their launch vehicle (using correct science and technology terms) and choose which scientist they feel had the most impact on their design (and why).

3. (Evaluate) For a more formative assessment, have the students complete an exit slip listing the five scientists: Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Einstein and then list their contribution to science. (Note: a table like the one below can be used to assist the students in their organizational skills.)

 

Scientist Name (from lesson)

Contribution to Science

1

 

 

2

 

 

3

 

 

4

 

 

5

 

 

 

Acceleration:

Extensions

Day 1 Discussion Questions:

  • Why is NASA supportive of commercial space companies?

NASA’s space efforts are aimed at expanding our horizons in space. Although their space rockets are easily capable of launching communications, weather, and Earth resources satellites, NASA continually looks beyond. NASA explores, and when it pioneers a new technology, it seeks to turn over continued development to U.S. commercial interests. That way, NASA can focus on and advance to the next new horizon. NASA’s current new horizons include the first permanent bases on the Moon and the first human expeditions to Mars. These are demanding challenges. When they are met, commercial space companies will follow, permitting NASA to move on to even greater challenges. 

  • Why is it important to construct efficient heavy-lift vehicles?

Traveling into space is a very difficult and expensive endeavor. Huge rockets and tremendous amounts of propellants are required to accomplish the job. With some rockets, launch costs were approximately $20,000 per kilogram of payload delivered into Earth orbit. If that cost were to continue, imagine staying at a space hotel where it would cost about $10,000 for a half-liter bottle of drinking water! Improving heavy-lift rockets (lighter rocket structures, more propellant efficient engines, etc.) will enable us to accomplish much more in space at far more reasonable costs!

Day 2:

  1. (Elaborate) Challenge students to design a two-stage rocket. The lower balloon "fires" before the upper balloon. The upper balloon carries the payload to the ceiling.
  2. Have the team of students defend their choice of most influential scientist on their design.

Intervention:

Here are some suggestions for students who need extra assistance

  • Introduce the assignment in sequential steps
  • Check for student understanding of instructions
  • Check on progress often in the first few minutes of work
  • Provide time suggestions for each task
  • Provide a checklist for long detailed tasks
  • Assign a peer helper to check understanding of directions
  • Assign a peer helper to read important directions and essential information
  • Assign a peer tutor to record material dictated by the student 
  • Allow small group work

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.