Science is a new way to teach middle school science. It is an
award-winning, standards-based program in which newsworthy events
establish the relevance of science topics; authentic tasks create the
need-to-know more about those topics; and lively interviews,
photographs, Web pages, and inquiry-based science activities create a
desire to know more about those topics.
Asteroid! is an Event-Based Science
module that is primarily about astronomy, with a minor emphasis on
paleontology. It uses an asteroid impact with Earth about 65 million
years ago to establish the context for exploring concepts related to
solar-system astronomy. The task in Asteroid! makes students
a public relations firm hired by the United Nations to warn the people
of Earth about a new asteroid. This one will impact with us in about
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As with all Event-Based Science modules, much of the information that
students need is provided in the pages of Asteroid!. However,
more information is needed. Hubble space telescope images of our
neighboring planets and their moons will be useful with the Solar
System Business Guide science activity or its new replacement activity
It May Be Our Only Escape. Information about extinction events will
help with Time After Time.
Science Project has posted an alternate Asteroid! science
activity on our Web site. It May Be Our Only Escape is an
activity that can be used as a replacement activity for Solar
System Business Guide. Although both activities provide students
with a reason to investigate similarities and differences among the
planets and their moons, It May Be Our Only Escape provides a
reason that is more clearly tied to the TASK.
Launch - NASA
is a problem with the answer key to Math: Asteroids and Acceleration.
On page 22 of the Teacher's Guide the estimated arrival time for the
asteroid is incorrect. The correct estimate from the table is 91.0
to Al Levendosky of Farquhar Middle School, Olney, MD for catching this
error and providing the correct answers.
Another problem is
found on page 43 of some early printings of the Student Edition. The
right-hand column of the data table should read as follows:
Distance Around Orbit Loop
Distance Between Sun Pin and
Thanks to the fifth
grade at Holton Arms School, Bethesda, MD, for catching this error and
providing correct answers. (Paul Cummins is their teacher.)
Below are some World-Wide Web
sites where information is available. Click on the highlighted words
and be linked with sites where helpful information can be found.
to Asteroid! related WEB Sites
(Links are checked monthly. They were working on the date of the last
Near-Earth Object ProgramNear-Earth Objects (NEOs)
are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational
attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the
Earth's neighborhood. This site from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab gives
each NEO its own home page and a Java applet showing its orbit.
Secret Worlds: The Universe WithinView the Milky Way at 10 million light
years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in
successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just
outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in
Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of
a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell
nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of
electrons and protons.
ImpactNASA's Deep Impact probe produced the bright flash
shown in the picture below. Click here to learn more about this
successful NASA mission to Comet Tempel 1.
Picture of the Day Each day a different image or photograph of
our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation
written by a professional astronomer.
Discovery mission called Dawn is on a voyage to
investigate the asteroids Ceres and Vesta as well as the conditions and
processes of the early solar system. Dawn is now orbiting Vesta and
sending back images of its surface. Dawn is schedule to leave Vesta in
July 2012 and arrive at Ceres in February 2015.
Near Earth Object Fact Sheet This list shows
selected near Earth objects (NEO's) with close approaches to Earth in
the past and to the year 2100. The probability of any of these objects
hitting the Earth on these approaches is essentially zero. There are no
known NEO's on a collision course with the Earth. There is a
possibility that an as yet undiscovered large NEO may hit the Earth,
but the probability of this happening over the next 100 years is
Solar System Collisions This interactive site at the University of Maryland
Astronomy Department allows you to send an asteroid or comet hurtling
toward your favorite planet! You select the size, speed and target. The
site tells you what happens.
If you're interested in satellites or astronomy, this is the right
place! This site provides all the information needed to observe;
satellites, Mir and the International Space Station, the Space Shuttle
the dazzlingly bright flares from Iridium satellites as well as a
wealth of other spaceflight and astronomical information.
NASA's Mission to the Iturralde Structure A
crater-like structure was discovered in 1985 by Landsat Thematic Mapper
imagery in northwest Bolivia. The area with the possible crater is at
the southern limit of the tropical forest where the forest abruptly
gives way to pampas. This NASA Web site lets students conduct
"Pre-Mission Activities" on Remote Sensing, Soil Testing, Impact
Craters, & Biodiversity, and then participate in a real expedition.
The Chicxulub Impact
from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
NewsThe scientific dispute
over what caused the extinction of 70 percent of all species worldwide
65 million years ago is closer to a resolution, with new research by
scientists from UCLA and the University of Washington. The research was
funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Central has the latest news on the interesting, addictive, and
profitable past-time of collecting these beautiful pieces of space!
Terrestrial Impact CratersThis site
contains everything you ever wanted to know about impact craters on
Earth. It contains photographs of many of the craters mentioned
Teacher Page: Impact CratersThis
site contains a cratering activity similar to Crater Creator in
Asteroid!. It also shows the characteristics of a lunar impact crater
on a labeled photograph of the Lunar Crater Aristarchus, located West
of Mare Imbrium.
ArchiveThis chart shows the annual average of daily
sunspot readings beginning in 1700. The numbers are compiled from
measurements made by a worldwide network of cooperating observatories.
Open this data file with Microsoft Excel.