0-5: Show the Hubble Space Telescope video available at Revelations (this video can be downloaded and used later)
6-10: Discuss the video with students. Get students to explain what they believe is necessary to capture those images.
11-15: Place students into groups of 3 or 4. Explain that they will be doing research to find out what is needed to develop a quality telescope and how they can be used to research the cosmos. Give each group the Space Telescope Research handout (see attachments).
Take your class to a computer lab at this time.
16-75: Groups should work to answer the questions. Each group must have at least 1 computer per 2 students. Be sure they know that they must provide evidence that proves they found the correct answer.
76-80: Student groups should have all answers. Pass out Reading Passage 1 and Data Table 1 to each group. Explain that this information will now be used to help this research team develop a new telescope.
81-85: Go over readiness questions to be sure students know what they must do. Briefly discuss the "Field of View" category in the data table to be sure all sections are understood.
86-115: Students should now work in groups to develop a ranking system for the telescopes. Groups should be reminded that they must write a response letter that includes their final selection and the full selection process.
Groups that do not complete the response letter should be allowed to finish for homework.
0-10: Discuss previous selections and review the activity. Ask the whole class if they have any questions or concerns. Groups that did not finish their first response should do so now. This is the time to have groups with a successful process to provide insight and assistance to groups that may be struggling.
11-20: Pass out Reading Passage 2 and Data Table 2. Go over the new data with the class to be sure students know what changes have occurred and explain that they must write a new response letter.
21-80: Students work in groups to develop a new process and write their final response letter.
Groups that finish early and correctly should be encouraged to assist struggling groups.
81-90: Discuss results and different group processes.
91-115: On an overhead projector, go to The Scale of the Universe.
This website provides an interactive scale of the universe, from the very small to the very large. Use this time to review the main concepts of distances in space, comparative distances, scientific notation, and to address any questions students may have that are relevant to the lesson's standards.
This website could also be used by individual students to do some research about distance scales and universal objects if desired. My personal teaching format would require the projector, but feel free to do whichever option you feel would be most conducive to learning in your particular class setting.
Groups that have not finished the second letter can use this time to finish their writing. Be sure to tell students that you will collect all materials at the end of class.
Congratulations! You have just completed the Space Telescope MEA!
Important note: This is the shortest version of this lesson that I could put together. Therefore, it briefly covers the standards and leaves a summative assessment up to the teacher. I have provided an additional activity that may be used to delve deeper into the information if desired and may be used as an additional assessment:
See the Cosmic Scales Questions and Cosmic Scales Questions Answer Key in the attachments.
If you have time, I highly recommend watching these videos with your class:
- 400 years of the Telescope (60 min) – Available on Netflix and PBS
- Nova: Hunting the Edge of Space (85 minutes) – Available through PBS
The research questions on Day 1 address the following standards:
- SC.8.E.5.11 (Questions 7, 8, 9, EC-A, EC-B): Identify and compare characteristics of the electromagnetic spectrum such as wavelength, frequency, use, and hazards and recognize its application to an understanding of planetary images and satellite photographs.
- SC.8.E.5.10 (Questions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, EC-B): Assess how technology is essential to science for such purposes as access to outer space and other remote locations, sample collection, measurement, data collection and storage, computation, and communication of information.
- ELA.K12.EE.1.1 (All questions): Cite evidence to explain and justify reasoning.
The activities in Day 2 of the lesson address the following standards:
- SC.8.E.5.1: Recognize that there are enormous distances between objects in space and apply our knowledge of light and space travel to understand this distance.
- SC.8.E.5.3: Distinguish the hierarchical relationships between planets and other astronomical bodies relative to solar system, galaxy, and universe, including distance, size, and composition.