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In this activity, students survey other people to find out their thoughts about life beyond Earth and compare their ideas with visitors to the Cosmic Questions exhibit. Students can also analyze their survey data to see whether there is any... (View More) variation or patterns in answers from men and women or people of different ages. To do this, students will need to design their own method for tracking demographic data. This activity is part of the "Cosmic Questions Educator's Guide" that was developed to support the Cosmic Questions exhibit. Activities in the guide can be used in conjunction with or independently of the exhibit. (View Less)

This lesson is comprised of three parts grouped to enable student understanding of classifying organisms. In part one of the lesson, students classify imaginary organisms represented by a mix of breakfast cereals, candies, nuts, raisins, etc.... (View More) according to similar characteristics. Students use a flow chart to show the characteristics by which they divided the imaginary organisms into groups. In part two, students classify a series of single-celled organisms using a dichotomous key. In part 3, students apply skills acquired from the previous activities to create a dichotomous key for their specimens from the first activity. These activities are part of an astrobiology guide called the "Fingerprints of Life" which contains background information for the student, worksheets, extension activities, suggested assessments, and alignment to standards. (View Less)

This lesson is comprised of four parts grouped to enable student appreciation of the importance of making accurate scientific observations, descriptions, and drawings. In part one (The Truth is Out There), students describe an object given to them... (View More) by their instructor. In part two (Who Knows?), students attempt to draw and identify a creature based on another student’s description. In part three (Tell It Like It Is!), students make new descriptions, using accurate observations and measurements of what they see. In part four (Truth Revealed), students assess the completeness of the more detailed descriptions. These activities are part of an astrobiology guide called the "Fingerprints of Life" which contains background information for students, worksheets, extension activities, suggested assessments, and alignment to standards. (View Less)

In these activities, students investigate how gamma ray bursts emit energy in beams (as opposed to emitting light in all directions) and investigate the implications of this on the total number of gamma ray bursts seen in the universe. This activity... (View More) is part of a unit designed to use gamma-ray bursts - unimaginably huge explosions that signal the births of black holes - as an engagement tool to teach selected topics in physical science and mathematics. The guide is based on the 5E instructional sequence and features background information, assessments, student worksheets, extension and transfer activities. (View Less)

In this activity, students determine the direction to a gamma ray burst using the times it is detected by three different spacecraft located somewhere in the solar system. We assume that all the spacecraft are in the plane of the Earth's orbit... (View More) around the Sun; that is, there is no third dimension and that we are only concerned with two dimensions, x and y. We also assume the burst is billions of light years away, so the incoming gamma rays are traveling along parallel lines. This activity is part of a unit that is designed to use gamma-ray bursts - unimaginably huge explosions that signal the births of black holes - as an engagement tool to teach selected topics in physical science and mathematics. The guide is based on the 5E instructional sequence and features background information, assessments, student worksheets, extension and transfer activities. (View Less)

In this activity, students look at the distribution of aluminum foil balls arranged in a circle on the floor, and compare them to the distribution of gamma-ray bursts on the sky. This activity is part of a unit designed to use gamma-ray bursts -... (View More) unimaginably huge explosions that signal the births of black holes - as an engagement tool to teach selected topics in physical science and mathematics. The guide is based on the 5E instructional sequence and features background information, assessments, student worksheets, extension and transfer activities. (View Less)

In this activity, students solve exponential equations where the unknown is contained in the exponent. Students learn that taking base-10 or base-2 logs pulls down the exponent, allowing the unknown to be isolated and solved. This activity is... (View More) activity C3 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure, compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)

In this activity students convert antilogs to logs, and logs to antilogs using scientific notation as an intermediate step. They will thereby develop a look-up table for solving math problems by using logarithms. This is activity D2 in the "Far Out... (View More) Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure,compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)

In this activity, students construct base-two slide rules that add and subtract base-2 exponents (log distances), in order to multiply and divide corresponding powers of two. Students use these slide rules to generate both log and antilog equations,... (View More) learning to translate one in terms of the other. This is activity C1 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure,compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, GLAST was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)

In this activity students use log tapes and base-two slide rules as references to graph exponential functions and log functions in base-10 and base-2. Students discover that exponential and log functions are inverse, reflecting across the y = x axis... (View More) as mirror images. This is activity E2 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons in the guide include activities in which students measure, compare quantities as orders of magnitude, become familiar with scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, the GLAST mission was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi. (View Less)