Launch into Science

The Thousand Words Project (Research and Planning), Nancy Flick, Greene Central School, 6th Grade

“Art Speaks Volumnes”:  I think giving students the opportunity to experience art, connect personally with art, and respond to it, is a very creative idea. I would like to bring my students to the new exhibit of “Starstruck” on June 13 to have a tour, respond to their favorite piece of art using poetry, and to create their own piece of “skyart” using watercolors.  In the classroom, my class will be exploring the universe through research, putting together a powerpoint presentation titled “what is happening worldwide with space exploration” which will include photographs and information being sent back to earth from the skylab and Hubble, and satellites, and share it with other classrooms.  Murals will be painted on the walls of planets, stars and other galaxys.  To-scale models will also be made.

Common Core State Standards:
W.CCR 6 Use technology, including the internet, to produce and publish  writing to interact and collaborate with others.

W.6.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.

RST.6-8.2. Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

W.6.7. Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.

Teach It:

8 Starstruck Lesson Ideas

  1. Title:  Space Suit Construction

Goal:  Students will create their own space suit to use during their presentations of their “Space Exploration and Beyond” PowerPoint.

Students visited the NASA site and learned about the Space Suit and the many components.  They were asked to put together a small cardboard backpack; attach a hose from that to the helmet; spray paint the helmet or cover it with tin foil along with a pair of old boots and gloves.  They were given each a tyvex paper suit to decorate with NASA patches, or solar system items.

      2.  Title: PowerPoint Presentation

Goal:  Students were asked to research what was happening world-wide in Space Exploration.  They learned that NASA spends over 17 billion dollars each year on space exploration, experiments in space, sending up satellites to study Earth, and learning about the Space Station and its purpose.  They learned about present and future space exploration goals.

They also were asked to include what the Hubble Telescope has discovered and to include information about black holes and other galaxies. They presented their PowerPoint to other classrooms of students in their space suit.

 Each student will include a picture and text on each slide.  They will include a bibliography for pictures and text information used.

 3.  Title: Distance to the Sun from each Planet
During math time, each student will figure out how many years it would take to get to the
Sun from each planet by: walking at 5 mph;  riding a bike going 15 mph; taking a race car
going 200 mph; taking a rocket ship going 2000 mph. Students will create a wall display to
share this information with others.

4.  Title:  Murals for the Classroom

Goal:  Students in small groups decide what they want to create for a wall mural or instructional bulletin board to decorate the room.  We invite other classrooms in for presentations and the wall murals and informational bulletin boards will add to the learning.

      5. Title: Write a Friendly Letter to an Alien

Goal:  Students were asked to pretend they would send a letter in a “space bottle rocket” to any life out there, inviting an Alien to Earth.   They had to first figure out what their return address would look like.  (How do you explain to an Alien how they can find your little planet Earth in your huge Milky Way Galaxy.)

They were expected to learn the Friendly Letter parts; write a letter inviting  an Alien to Earth, describing what Earth is like, and how they could find us.  The letter had to be typed and displayed.

Dig Deeper: Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

      6.  Title: Learn about the Shapes and Names of other Galaxies

Goal:  Through the NASA site, students will learn the 5 names of common galaxies.  They will
visit the website that allows students practice to select and name them.  They will then decide
on one galaxy they want to produce on a large piece of paper with paints.

Students will be given a very large sheet of black paper.  The teacher will select the colors white, blue, yellow, and red and put them in cups and supply a large selection of brushes.  All students will go outside, put their paper on the ground a distance from each other and dip their brush in a paint and spray or splatter a pattern of paint on their sheets trying to duplicate one of the galaxies they want to make.  These large sheets will be put up on the ceiling in the classroom with a typed label of the galaxy and student’s name on each.

      7.  Title: Poetry Writing

Goal:  After teaching a lesson, I sometimes ask students to create a mini-poster/ poem that shows their learning.  One example is that I taught them about the Moon and how it influences the tides on Earth.  They learned how the craters were formed, when man first stepped on the moon, and about NASA’s new plan to have astronauts live on the moon for 6 months in the future. Within each poem factual information needs to be included.

      8.  Title:  Growing Seeds at Zero Gravity

Goal: Have students grow Lima bean seeds between moist paper towels in small plastic sandwich bags and tape them up on a wall.  Each day moisten them and draw diagrams on how they look.  After about 8 days, they can see that the shoot goes up and the root goes down.  Pose the question about what they think would happen in outer-space as the seed sprouted.  Would the seed roots and sprout go in the same direction?  They are asked to do some research online to try to answer that question. Share their learning.

They learn that gravity tells the seed what direction roots go in and sprouts go in.  One huge misconception is that the sprout will move toward sunlight. Remind students that the seed is underground where it is dark which quickly dispels that thinking. Using the same sprouted seeds, they are asked to turn the sprouted seed upside down and observe what happened, draw and record it.

 After a couple days, turn the baggy ¼ turn a day each day and record what happens.

What are some basic ideas for technology integration in your proposal? This may include instructional technology used to teach the lessons, online resources, and/or programs and applications that students will use on their computers:  I am going to teach students how to create a powerpoint presentation.  They will be doing research on finding the newest information being learned from the space program, look for the newest photos being sent back to earth and present interesting information and pictures in their own presentation which will be shared with other classes.  (Doing research online; contacting NASA’s educational department, taking notes, creating an outline of their information, and organizing it all into a Powerpoint Presentation and using their public speaking skills to present to other children and adults.)