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In this activity, learners draw a circle with a single focus, an ellipse with two foci close together, and an ellipse with two foci far apart, and compare the shapes. Learners then measure the Sun in four images each taken in a different season,... (View More) comparing the apparent size of the Sun in each image to determine when Earth is closest to the Sun. This is the second activity in the SDO Secondary Learning Unit. The activity is reprinted with permission from the Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS). (View Less)

One particular type of domino game, sometimes called the All Fives Domino game, uses multiples of five in order to score points. It can be the basis for a number of games designed to develop conceptual understanding of multiples of numbers through... (View More) twelve and provide opportunities to reinforce learning objectives in a fun and competitive manner. This resource is from PUMAS - Practical Uses of Math and Science - a collection of brief examples created by scientists and engineers showing how math and science topics taught in K-12 classes have real world applications. (View Less)

In this activity, learners write space weather reports using current data about the Sun and create a broadcast script to present the researched information to an audience. This activity is part of the Space Weather Action Center Educator's... (View More) Instructional Guide, which follows the 5E learning cycle. (View Less)

It is common in the real world to see mathematical examples where the cents sign was used when the dollar sign was supposed to be used. Converting and comparing decimals and fractions can help clear up this misconception. Two real coupons clipped... (View More) from a Sunday paper coupon section are included in this activity. This resource is from PUMAS - Practical Uses of Math and Science - a collection of brief examples created by scientists and engineers showing how math and science topics taught in K-12 classes have real world applications. (View Less)

In this activity, students engage in long-term systematic observation to learn about the apparent annual motion of the Sun caused by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Students put a dot on a window where sunlight enters the classroom (or any room... (View More) into which sunlight enters each day) and mark the position of the shadow cast by the dot day by day and throughout the school year. To make a personal connection to the activity, spots marked on a student’s birthday can be labeled with the student’s name. This activity can be done as a whole class or individual project. Part 1 of this activity involves establishing location, and casual observation over the course of a day. Part 2, involves “daily” (Monday, Wednesday, Friday is fine) marking of Sun-track at a specific time of day over the course of at least a month. This activity should be run for at least a month, but is best as a school-year-long project. The lesson includes a math extension activity to calculate the average daily motion at which the sunbeam shadow moves, as well as background information about the analemma. This activity is the fourth lesson in the Ancient Eyes Look to the Skies curriculum guide. (View Less)

In this activity, students learn about the motion of the Sun in relation to the Earth, and how geographic directions are defined. Students use a tetherball pole (or an alternative) as a gnomon and the shadow the Sun casts to determine the exact... (View More) directions of north, south, east and west. The best tetherball pole to use is one that is in full sunlight for most of the day, one that is vertical and unbent, and one that is built on asphalt or concrete. This activity can be done as a whole class or individual project. Part 1 of this activity involves the initial marking of the tetherball pole shadow using chalk (about 10 minutes) and subsequent markings by one or two students (less than 5 minutes) every half hour over a four-hour period. Students keep a record of the gnomon’s shadow by recording a sketch in their logs. Part 2 of this activity involves using a piece of string to connect the dots after the final observation, then bisecting this arc to determine north and south. The lesson includes discussion questions, background information about gnomons, and a math extension activity making and graphing the tetherball's shadow length at different times. This activity is the fifth lesson in the Ancient Eyes Look to the Skies curriculum guide. (View Less)

In this activity, students learn the basics of the horizon, direction and the rising and settings of the Sun and stars by making a schoolyard "medicine wheel" with sidewalk chalk on playground asphalt. Medicine wheels are stone rings constructed by... (View More) the Plains people of North America which may have been used as a calendar system based on observations of objects in the sky. This activity requires a flat area at least 6 meters across – preferably asphalt or concrete – that has a good view of the sky. It can be done as a whole class activity. Part 1 of this activity involves constructing the medicine wheel (about 10-15 minutes). Part 2 of this activity involves making ongoing observations throughout the year at noon (about 10-15 minutes for each observation). Part 3 involves making observations from the wheel during after-school hours to observe the rising or setting points of stars, the Sun and Moon. Discussion questions, background information and a math extension activity are included. This activity is the second lesson in the Ancient Eyes Look to the Skies curriculum guide. (View Less)

This example explains how contour mapping teaches both estimation and spatial visualization skills. To have experience visualizing 3-dimensional fields from a 2-dimensional map helps students throughout their mathematical career. This resource is... (View More) from PUMAS - Practical Uses of Math and Science - a collection of brief examples created by scientists and engineers showing how math and science topics taught in K-12 classes have real world applications. (View Less)