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Our Place in Space Classroom Guide
Upon making a reservation to attend Our Place in Space at the Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium, you will receive a hard copy of the Cosmic Classroom Guide. In addition to the activities and vocabulary that you see here, the hard copy has sections that cover getting ready to do the activity, resources and materials that you will need, steps to follow from beginning to end, questions for class discussion and some continuations and extensions that you may want to add to the activity. Below is a listing of the activities that you will find in the Our Place in Space Cosmic Classroom Guide accompanied by a description of the State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators and the State of Maine Learning Results Guiding Principles that will be addressed when you do that activity in your own classroom. In addition to these activities please make use of our resources and bibliography.

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Activities

Seeing Stars

Your Universal Address

Classifying Galaxies

Numbering the Stars

Seeing Stars

Objectives and State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators: Learners will be able to demonstrate how the Hubble Space Telescope "sees" stars. Learners will be able to describe how telescopes are one of the ways that scientists explore space and gather data about the universe (5-8. Science and Technology. G. #4) (Sec. Grades. Science and Technology. G. #1) Learners will be able to explain how the Hubble Space Telescope has helped scientists learn more about stars (5-8. Science and Technology. G. Grades #1.)

The General Idea: The reconfigured Hubble Space Telescope has been producing incredible high-resolution pictures of celestial objects that are superior to any produced by a land-based telescope. The Hubble will remain in space for years, capturing light from distant objects and radioing images to NASA scientists on Earth. The images are transmitted byte by byte in numerical form (binary code) to waiting computers that store the data and interpret the numbers used to reassemble the images into high resolution photographs. There's no way you're going to duplicate the imaging process in a classroom, of course. What you can do, though, is demonstrate in simple terms just how the process works.

Your Universal Address

Objectives and State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators: Learners will be able to describe our position in the universe, compared to the Sun, moon, stars, Milky Way, and other galaxies. (3-4. Science and Technology. G. #1.) Learners will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the shape and position of our galaxy, the Milky Way. (5-8. Science and Technology. G. #2.) Learners will be able to visualize their location in school, city, state, country, world, solar system, and galaxy. (5-8. Social Studies. Geography. A. #1.)(this activity is best used in a post planetarium field trip lesson)

The General Idea: Usually you think of your address as only three or four lines long: your name, street, city, and state. But what if you were to address a letter to a friend in a distant galaxy? You would have to specify where you are to a much greater scale. How might you go beyond your town and state in order to complete your address? This activity helps students understand where we are in relation to the other planets, stars, and galaxies.

Classifying Galaxies

Objectives and State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators: Learners will be able to describe the different types of galaxies (5-8. Science and Technology. G. #2.) Learners will be able to use scale drawings to appropriately represent galaxies (5-8. Science and Technology. L. #4.) Learners will be able to place galaxies in their appropriate place on the tuning fork diagram (Sec. Grades. Science and Technology. J. #2.)

The General Idea: Through this lesson students will become familiar with the Hubble Tuning Fork Diagram, a system of classification, still in use today, for galaxies invented in the 1920's by the noted astronomer Edwin Hubble. Students will practice the technique, useful in science, of engaging a scheme or plan to classify objects in a group. In this lesson you will be able to look at images of different kinds of galaxies, taken by the world's best telescopes. In most high school astronomy texts and in some Earth science texts, the Hubble Tuning Fork Diagram is presented as a way to classify, or put into groups, the various types of galaxies observed in space. This lesson also reinforces the idea that there are many "right" answers in science.

Numbering the Stars

Objectives and State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators: Learners will be able to demonstrate the size of our galaxy (5-8. Science and Technology. G. #2.) Learners will be able to compare sizes and distances of scale stars to those of real stars (5-8. Science and Technology. G. #3.) Learners will be able to conduct scientific investigations in order to comprehend the number of stars in our galaxy. (5-8. Science and Technology. J. #1., J. #2.) Learners will be able to understand that using sand to represent stars is a practical use of a scale model. (5-8. Science and Technology. L. #4.) Learners will be able to use note taking effectively while gathering data, and separate that data appropriate. (5-8. English Language Arts. H. #1., H. #2.) Learners will be able to use the appropriate unit of measure for the experiment they are conducting. (5-8. Science and Technology. J. #1.) Learners will be able to form generalizations about other galaxies and make predictions about the number of stars in those galaxies (Sec. Grades. Science and Technology. K. #3., J. #2.) Learners will be able to use measurement tools and units appropriately and recognize limitations in the precision of the measurement tools. (Sec. Grades. Mathematics. F. #1.)

The General Idea: Comprehending the enormousness of 200 billion of anything is difficult for most people. Take the number itself for instance. How long do you think it would take to count to 200 billion? At one number a second, would you believe almost 6,400 years! Or consider height, a stack of 200 billion pennies would stretch 286,000 km, or three-fourths of the distance from the Earth to the Moon. Astronomers often use 200 billion as the approximate number of stars in our galaxy, but most of us really cannot appreciate a number that large. This activity will help students develop a sense of number scale, understand the concept of volume, and develop scientific estimation, measurement and data analysis skills.

Our Place in Space State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators

In conjunction with the Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium show, Our Place in Space and this guide will help you meet the following State of Maine Learning Results Performance Indicators in your classroom. For the complete State of Maine Learning Results Publication on-line, please visit http://www.state.me.us/education/lres/lres.htm

Grades 3-4
Science and Technology

G. Universe
#1. Illustrate the relative positions of the Sun, moon, and planets.
#2. Trace the sources of Earth's heat and light energy to the Sun.

M. Implications of Science and Technology
#2. Investigate and describe the role of scientists and inventors.

English Language Arts

B. Literature and Culture
#3. Respond to speakers in a variety of ways.

Grades 5-8
Science and Technology

G. Universe
#1. Compare past and present knowledge about characteristics of stars and explain how people have learned about them.
#2. Describe the concept of galaxies, including size and number of stars.
#3. Compare and contrast distances and the time required to travel those distances on Earth, in the solar system, in the galaxy, and between galaxies.
#4. Describe scientists’ exploration of space and the objects they have found.
# 5. Describe the motions of moons, planets, stars, solar systems, and galaxies.

J. Inquiry and Problem Solving
#1. Make accurate observations using appropriate tools and units of measure.
#2. Design and conduct scientific investigations which include controlled experiments and systematic observations. Collect and analyze data, and draw conclusions fairly.

K. Scientific Reasoning
#1. Examine the ways people form generalizations.

L. Communication
#4. Make and use scale drawings, maps, and three dimensional models to represent real objects, find locations, and describe relationships.

Social Studies - Geography

A. Skills and Tools
#1. Visualize the globe and construct maps of the world and its sub-regions to identify patterns of human settlement, major physical features, and political divisions.

English Language Arts

H. Research Related Writing
#1. Collect and synthesize data for research topics from interviews and field work, using note taking and other appropriate strategies.
#2. Separate information collected for research topics into major components based on relevant criteria.

Grades 9-12
Science and Technology

G. Universe
#1. Describe how scientists gather data about the universe.

J. Inquiry and Problem Solving
#1. Make accurate observations using appropriate tools and units of measure.
#2. Verify, evaluate, and use results in a purposeful way. This includes analyzing and interpreting data, making predictions based on observed patterns, testing solutions against the original problem conditions, and formulating additional questions.

K. Scientific Reasoning
#3. Develop generalizations based on observations.

Mathematics

F. Measurement
#1. Use measurement tools and units appropriately and recognize limitations in the precision of the measurement tools.

State of Maine Learning Results Guiding Principles

The lessons in the Cosmic Classroom Guide, in combination with Our Place in Space, will help students to work towards some of the Guiding Principles set forth by the State of Maine Learning Results. By the simple act of visiting the planetarium, students of all ages open an avenue for self-directed lifelong learning. A field trip encourages students to think about learning from all environments including those beyond the school yard. A Jordan Planetarium visit also introduces visitors to the campus of the largest post-secondary school in Maine and encourages them to think of this as a place which holds opportunities for their future education, enjoyment and success.

Other sites on the University campus, including three museums, explore a variety of subjects, and the Visitors Center is always willing to arrange tours of the campus. A field trip can contribute to many different disciplines of the school curriculum and demonstrate that science is not separate from art, from mathematics, from history, etc. The world is not segregated into neat little boxes with labels such as social studies and science. A field trip is an opportunity for learning in an interdisciplinary setting, to bring it all together and to start the process of thinking. For a more complete discussion of field trips, please visit the Jordan Planetarium web site.

If used in its entirety and accompanied by the Planetarium visit this guide will help students to:

Become a clear and effective communicator through
A. oral expression such as class discussions, and written presentations
B. listening to classmates while doing group work, cooperation, and keeping records.

Become a self-directed and life long learner by
A. introducing students to career and educational opportunities at the University of Maine and the Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium.
B. encouraging students to go further into the study of the subject at hand, and explore the question of “what if?”
C. giving students a chance to use a variety of resources for gathering information

Become a creative and practical problem solver by
A. asking students to observe phenomena and problems, and present solutions
B. urging students to ask extending questions and find answers to those questions
C. developing and applying problem solving techniques
D. encouraging alternative outcomes and solutions to presented problems

Become a collaborative and quality worker through
A. an understanding of the teamwork necessary to complete tasks
B. applying that understanding and working effectively in their assigned groups
C. demonstrating a concern for the quality and accuracy needed to complete an activity

Become an integrative and informed thinker by
A. applying concepts learned in one subject area to solve problems and answer questions in another
B. participating in class discussion

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Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium, 5781 Wingate Hall, Orono, ME 04469-5781
Phone: (207) 581-1341