Daily Archives: August 19, 2009

New Education Materials Available at NASA.gov

The Educational Materials section of NASA’s Web site offers classroom activities, educator guides, posters and other types of resources that are available for use in the classroom. Materials are listed by type, grade level and subject. The following items are now available for downloading.

Space Thrills Poster — Grades K-4

The Space Thrills poster uses the excitement of a roller coaster traveling through the solar system to capture students’ imaginations. The back of the poster includes five activities, teaching tips, fun facts and short narratives in which the sun and each planet introduce themselves.


NASA Student Launch Initiative 2009-10 Flier — Grades 7-12

NASA, Team America Rocketry Challenge, and Rockets for Schools invite mentors to the NASA Student Launch Initiative Workshop taking place on Aug. 24-28, 2009. The NASA SLI flier contains more information about the educator workshop and the rocket contest for middle and high school students.


X-15 To the Edge of Space Poster — All Grades

Between June 1959 and October 1968, NASA’s X-15 hypersonic research flights rewrote the rulebook of conventional flight. This poster presents facts, history, achievements and a labeled diagram of the experimental airplane that flew higher and faster than any other winged vehicle besides the space shuttle. The poster also contains mini biographies of the 12 X-15 test pilots, including Neil Armstrong.


Comet on a Stick! — Grades 3-5

In this activity, students build a model of a comet to study the way the sun affects it. Students then simulate the sun’s solar wind as it interacts with the comet, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their comet model.

The student pages explain the activity, define “comet,” list facts about comets for students to model, and prompt students to improve their models by asking them questions about their creations.


Black Hole Math — Grades 10-12

Many aspects of black holes can be understood by using simple algebra and pre-algebra skills. Use Black Hole Math as a classroom challenge activity, an assessment tool or an enrichment activity. The problems in this booklet investigate black hole science and mathematics concepts including parts of a simple black hole and calculating gravitational potential energy. Each word problem has background information providing insight into black holes. The one-page assignments are accompanied by one-page answer keys.


Solar Math — Grades 6-11

Hinode is an international mission to study the sun. By studying the sun’s magnetic field, scientists hope to learn if they can identify the magnetic field configurations that lead to explosive energy releases and then to predict when these events may occur. The variety of problems includes proportions, decimals, geometry and scientific notation. The problems call for students to apply mathematics and science concepts to understand the sun and the work of the Hinode satellite. Each word problem has background information providing insight into the sun and Hinode. The one-page assignments are accompanied by one-page answer keys.


Image Scale Math — Grades 6-8

Image Scaling is an important first step that all astronomers perform in understanding image-type data produced by satellites and telescopes. Each activity in this booklet has an image with the physical size of the image given. Students measure the size of the image and divide the physical size by the image size to determine the scale factor. They can then use the scale factor to investigate sizes of objects within the image. Each word problem has background information about the image. The one-page assignments are accompanied by one-page answer keys. The “Extras for Experts” section is a set of problems for students who want a challenge.


Lunar Math — Grades 6-12

Apply mathematics to help understand Earth’s natural satellite and future missions to the moon. Problems in Lunar Math use mathematical applications to explain concepts such as the physical features of the moon; the probability of a meteorite impact on the lunar surface; and how oxygen might be extracted from moon rocks. The problems in this guide include basic mathematics, algebra, geometry and some trigonometric functions. The one-page assignments are accompanied by one-page answer keys.


Radiation Math — Grades 6-12

Radiation can be mysterious. Help students understand that they are surrounded by radiation. Problems in Radiation Math use mathematical applications to explain concepts such as background radiation; radiation effects on humans and technology; radon gas, sun spot cycles; and the Van Allen Belts. The problems in this guide include basic math, geometry, unit conversions, analyzing graphs, and graphical and function integrations. The one-page assignments are accompanied by one-page answer keys.



Registration Open for NASA Lunabotics Mining Competition

NASA is challenging undergraduate and graduate student teams to design and build an excavator that could be used on the moon.

Design teams must include one faculty or industry advisor with a college or university affiliation. Teams must also include two or more undergraduate or graduate students. A group of universities may work in collaboration, and multidisciplinary teams are encouraged.

A university faculty advisor or student team may propose to receive up to $5,000 to support a student team. The team can use these funds to design and build a lunar regolith excavator. They may also use the money for travel expenses to compete in the Lunabotics Mining Competition at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 25-28, 2010.

Approved proposals will be funded on a first come, first served basis. Proposals must be received no later than Feb. 28, 2010.

For more information about the competition, visit http://www.nasa.gov/lunabotics

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