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Benefits of Space Exploration - MyTexasACE


									  Texas Afterschool Centers on Education

Lesson: Benefits of Space Exploration
  1) Description

Summary Describe in a sentence the objective for this lesson. This will show up in the
Lesson at a Glance in the Activity/Unit Plan.

   This lesson focuses the role of space exploration on humankind on Earth.

   *This lesson was adapted from the "Why We Explore Space" lesson plan by Matthew Dicks
   located at:

Lesson Description: Give a description about the lesson. What is the big picture and
purpose? What are the lesson goals and objectives?

   Students will:

              examine the vital role of effective communication, teamwork and problem solving in
               space exploration;
              understand the benefits space exploration has made for the world; and
              share and discuss ideas using effective communication and collaboration among their

Lesson Duration (Hours/Sessions):
   2 hours

Instructor: (Select who is delivering this activity by right-clicking on the appropriate box
below and selecting Properties and select Checked)

             Certified Teacher

             College Student



Focused Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS):
Focused TEKS:

  Science (Grade 6-8)

  Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student, for at least 40% of instructional time,
  conducts laboratory and field investigations following safety procedures and environmentally
  appropriate and ethical practices.

          demonstrate safe practices during laboratory and field investigations as outlined in
           the Texas Safety Standards
          plan and implement comparative and descriptive investigations by making
           observations, asking well-defined
          questions, and using appropriate equipment and technology;
          design and implement experimental investigations by making observations, asking
           well-defined questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and using appropriate
           equipment and technology;
          collect and record data using the International System of Units (SI) and qualitative
           means such as labeled drawings, writing, and graphic organizers;
          construct tables and graphs, using repeated trials and means, to organize data and
           identify patterns;
          use preventative safety equipment, including chemical splash goggles, aprons, and
           gloves, and be prepared to use emergency safety equipment, including an eye/face
           wash, a fire blanket, and a fire extinguisher

  Math (Grade 6-8)

  Number, operation, and quantitative reasoning.

          represent multiplication and division situations involving fractions and decimals with
           models, including concrete objects, pictures, words, and numbers;
          determine the reasonableness of a solution to a problem

  Patterns, relationships, and algebraic thinking

          estimate and find solutions to application problems involving proportional
           relationships such as similarity, scaling, unit costs, and related measurement units

      estimate measurements and solve application problems involving length (including
       perimeter and circumference) and area of polygons and other shapes;

Reading (Grade 6-8)

Reading comprehension

      represent multiplication and division situations involving fractions and decimals with
       models, including concrete objects, pictures, words, and numbers;
      identify the importance of using appropriate nonverbal communication
       identify the kinds of listening and analyze skills related to each type

ELA/Reading (Grades 6-8):


      Read grade level-text with fluency & comprehension
      Analyze, make inferences, and draw conclusions from informational text
      Interpret messages in various forms of media
      Evaluate various ways media influences and informs audiences


      Use elements of the writing process to compose text
      Write about their own experiences, focusing on communicating the importance of or
       reasons for actions and/or consequences
      Write persuasive texts to influence the attitudes or actions of a specific audience on
       specific issues

Oral & Written Conventions:

      Understand the function of and use the conventions of academic language when
       speaking and writing


      Use open-ended research questions and develop a plan for answering them
      Determine, locate, and explore the full range of relevant sources
      Evaluate and synthesize collected information
      Organize and present ideas and information according to the purpose and their

Listening & Speaking
            Use comprehension skills to listen attentively to others
            Speak clearly and to the point
            Work productively with others in teams

   Technology as a tool: 1A, 2A, 7H, 6B, 8A, 8B

   Note: The TEKS are woven into the thematic unit of space exploration. Students apply these
   skills in order to complete the activity.


ELPS (English Language Proficiency Standards): Follow the link for an
ELPS guide - (If applicable)

           ELL Learning Strategies:





Technology: If applicable; use short descriptive statements.

   covers a number of TEKS in the simulation

Information Acquisition:

Solving Problems:
   uses interactive virtual environments and online collaboration

Key Vocabulary Terms/Academic Language What are key words and terms that
students should use as part of their discussions, written work, and in showing understanding
in this lesson?

   Galileo, space exploration, astronauts, astronomer, aircraft development, NASA

  2) Supplies & Setup

Lesson Materials:
            1/2 sheets of paper
            Markers
            One large, yellow box with large question mark written on the front
            One Tupperware container of dried fruit
            One computer with the picture of an airplane on the screen (saved as wallpaper
             (background), cardboard facsimile if necessary)
            Television

Lesson Resources: These can include people, web sites, references, etc.
            NASA PlanetQuest Historic Timeline
            The Challenger Learning Center (CLC) of San Antonio
            · Lunar Planetary Institute

Room Preparation/Materials Set-Up: How should the room and materials be

   Place the television, computer, and plastic container with dried fruit in the room where all
   students can see them.

Grouping of Students/Parents/Family: Select those that apply How will you group
students/parents/families for each section of the lesson to structure peer-to-peer interaction?
How will you get them into these groups (e.g., counting off, common )

           Whole Group


        Groups of


Grouping Strategy How will you get them into their groups?

        Counting Off

        Common Interests


        Common Tasks


  3) Lesson Outline

Engage - (written in easy to follow steps): How can you elicit their previous
knowledge? What do they already know about this topic? How does this topic connect to their
world? Service Learning: How will you guide them in identifying a service learning project?
How will you guide them in learning about their selection and assessing needs?

   Step 1) As students walk into the classroom, glance at the yellow box, drawing student
   curiosity. If any students ask what is in the box, kindly reply that you do not know either and
   were told not to open it until later.

   Step 2) When all students are in the class, ask students to brainstorm why space exploration
   is important to human beings on Earth. Students can collect their ideas on 1/2 sheets of paper
   (one idea per sheet, written big with a maximum of 8 words/sheet). Ask groups to select their
   top 3 responses. Ask groups to share them by using a "adding to the conversation" approach
   where each group reports out their top 3 responses; if another group says something similar
   or the same, the groups who have not gone yet will select another response from their
   collection; They do not repeat it but simply "add to the conversation" by chosing another
   idea from their list. This process helps eliminate repeats and gets a wide variety of ideas from
   students. Post ideas/reasons in the front of the room.
   Step 3) Get students into teams and ask them to select a Reporter. Ask students to estimate
   when space exploration began and to name some of these famous explorers. (Students can
   mention Galileo, Greeks, Romans, Sputnik and the Russians, etc.) Students will go to the
   NASA PlanetQuest Historic Timeline ( and
   identify two explorers they think are "cool" and to write down: what they were known for
   discovering and the impact they think is a result these discoveries had on today's world. They
   should also share some of the effects these discoveries had on their the explorers' own lives
   (for example, Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) was burned at the stake for saying that other stars
   and solar systems existed). Ask each Reporter to present their "cool" explorer to the class.

Explore - (written in easy to follow steps): What hands-on/exploration activities
will they do? How will they be working – groups, individually? Service Learning: How will
they explore key components and possibilities around the community issue? What are some
causes behind the issues? What is the academic connection?

   Step 1) Point out to the students that you have put together three items for their observation
   today. As you describe each item, point to it: a plastic container with dried fruit, a television,
   and a computer. Tell students that each of these have been improved becasue of the U.S.
   Space Prorgram.

   Step 2) Ask the Reporter for each team to write down these 3 items on a sheet of paper,
   leaving room between each item for brainstorming. *You can also use a free, interactive
   brainstorming tool such as MindMeister (

   Step 3) Tell students to brainstorm improvements that may have from the study and
   exploration of space. Give students five minutes to examine each item carefully. Use your

   Step 4) Give groups 15 minutes to write down all their guesses (one idea per 1/2 sheet of
   paper), focusing on improvements that have been made as a result of space exploration.

   Step 5) Allow students to tape their top 3 ideas on the wall.

   Step 6) Ask students to do a Gallery Walk where they will move around the room to read
   other team ideas and to mark (either using a star or checkmark) those ideas they found to be
   very creative and/or interesting. If you used MindMeister, ask students to explore other team
   mindmaps (use the same account login for all maps) and to leave a comment for those they
   found creative and interesting.

Explain - (written in easy to follow steps): How will they show understanding,
observations, and hypotheses of the topics/concepts in their own words? Introduce students to
models, laws, theories and ask them to connect knowledge from the Explore phase using the
new terms/vocabulary. How will they explain their thoughts/ideas (to a partner, small group,
whole class)? Service Learning: What is a possible design or model that explains the issue?
   Step 1) Ask the reporter to select a presenter from their team to present their ideas that they
   posted on the wall. Facilitate a Q&A discussion, encouraging students to probe their peers'

   Step 2) Name the improvements that are represented by each object: hardened plastic,
   dehydrated fruit, and satellites. Ask students to use a T-chart (one side for benefits for space
   exploration and another side for their own lives) and to brainstorm how each of these 3 items
   has impacted space exploration and their own lives.

   Step 3) Ask groups to share.

   Step 4) Share some of the unidentified impacts of these items after all groups have had a
   chance to share.

   They include: plastic containers are made from hardened plastic that was used during the
   Apollo missions to the Moon. NASA improved on the product, making it harder and less
   flexible for storing food. NASA invented dehydrated food that would last longer, be lighter,
   and take up less space than their hydrated equivalent.

   Televisions are made up of plastic components that were also developed by NASA. (Tune
   the television into CNN.) Explain how CNN uses satellites in order to transmit information
   as soon as it happens from anywhere around the world.

   Computers were much larger in the 1950s and 1960s, so big that they took up complete
   rooms. As a result of the U.S. Space Program computers were re-designed to be more
   effecient, powerful, smaller, and resilient. Show the image of the airplane by projecting it on
   a screen. NASA researched fuel, thus resulting in better fuel for airplaines.Also the steel that
   airplanes are made out of is also a result of NASA research and progress. It is stronger and
   weighs less than before.


Elaborate & Create - (written in easy to follow steps): They should be able to
process what they learned and share what they learned in a variety of ways (verbally, visually,
kinesthetically, etc.). How will they extend their learning and transfer their knowledge to new
situations/applications? What will they create? Service Learning: How will they design, plan
and implement the service?

   Step 1) Ask the teams what they think inside the box and what is it about the box that they
   find appealing. List student responses on the board and thank them for their input. Stress the
   fact that it is the curiosity of the unknown and the natural "explorer" that is built within all of
   us. Ask students if they think that the billions of dollars that is spent on space exploration is
   worth it and to justify their thinking. Use the NASA Budget reference as a guide at: Students should also know that Russia, China,
   Japan, Europe, and India also have space exploration budgets.
   Step 2) Divide the teams into two separate groups. Tell the teams that they will build a case
   for or against spending money on space exploration. Allow students to plan their argument
   and to research information on the Internet. Give teams ample time to research and also write
   questions for the opposing side.

   Group # 1 will define humans' seemingly inherent "need to know" about the potential that
   outer space holds for those daring enough to explore it, and why this alone is a good reason
   for exploring outerspace. They can also discuss the advances in technology and the effects on
   their own lives.

   Group #2 will discuss the importance of spending the monies on much needed things here on
   Earth, without spending it on Space Exploration.

   Step 3) Students will present their ideas to the class. Students can choose how they want to
   present their group information. Examples are: picture, song, rap, or oral essay. Give them
   about 30 minutes to work their teams to create a final product.

Evaluate - (written in easy to follow steps): How will they demonstrate their
understanding throughout each of the above phases? How will you assess knowledge at the
end of the lesson? Service Learning: How will they know if the service had an impact on the

   Step 1) As a class, students will discuss their answers to the guiding questions.

   Step 2) Each student pair/team will answer the questions in the Closing Activity/Reflection.

Guiding Questions: Questions you want them to be able to answer and think about,
using the New Bloom's Taxonomy.


       1. When did space exploration begin?
       2. What has space exploration done to benefit human kind?
       3. What relation do these items have with space exploration?


       1. What improvements in our lives have resulted from space exploration?
       2. How have hardened plastic, dehydrated food or satellites aided in space exploration?
          How have the improvements made your own life better?
       3. What kind of material was use in the Apollo missions to the Moon?
       4. How did the food in the space flights keep fresh for a long period of time?
       5. What would you tell your peers and families about space exploration, what ideas have
          you learned through this lesson?

          1. How has the study of science and space exploration helpe improve our lives?


          1. Why is it important to communicate and express our knowledge with our peers?
             What role does effective communication play?
          2. What if we just want to keep all new information to ourselves?
          3. What would happen to science discoveries if there were no cooperation among
             scientists? How have countries benefitted from each other's explorations? How have
             they partnered?


          1. What would you tell a friend about the importance of science and math learning?
          2. How are communication and teamwork important in problem solving?

    4) Closing/Reflection

Closing Activity & Participant Reflection: This should be a focused activity where
students/parents/families reflect on their learning. It can include such strategies as
Accountable Talk, 3-2-1 (3 things you liked, 2 things you learned, and 1 comment or question
you have), or another type of strategy that brings forward their opinions and ideas about what
they learned and how to enhance the lesson.

P   ---      What was the problem posed in this activity?
R   ---      What was the result?
O   ---      To do this over, what could you do differently?
B   ---      What was the best part of this experience?
E   ---      Did you excel during the simulation? Why or why not?

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