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Learning Exercise

Material: ASPIRE: Astrophysics Science Project Integrating Research and Education
Submitted by: Janet Hubner on Jun 30, 2006
Date Last Modified: Jun 30, 2006
Title: Opening Questions
Description: These questions came up during our planetary geology class and can be used as class openers during a space science unit.
Type of Task: Supplemental activity
Time Required varies
Topics: State of California Science Standards:
Earth Science
Course: Earth Science - grade 9
Audience: High School, Middle School
Learning Objectives: Earth's Place in the Universe
Technical Notes: Make sure students illustrate their answers. I used this web site and various others to share illustration ideas with the class.
Text of Learning Exercise: Three a day questions for earth systems science - encourage the use of
illustrations and various mental models.

a. light years and astronomical units
b. Mass and weight
c. luminosity and albedo

• How would earth’s albedo change if we cut down all the forests?
• What would it be like to lift rocks on the moon?
• What would it be like to run into rocks on the moon?

• Compare solar systems and galaxies.
• Compare kinds of galaxies.
• Explain what might cause galaxies to differ.

• What is the currently accepted explanation for the formation of the universe?
• What evidence is used to support this theory?
• Compare the formation of the Universe with the formation of the solar system.

• Compare the sun to other stars.
• Compare the sun to a planet.
• Compare the sun to a moon.

• Draw a picture of the sun and explain what you see:
– Color
– Sunspots
– Chromosphere as visible during an eclipse

• Draw a picture of the sun and explain what you see:
• Prominences
• Solar flares
• Solar energy

• Compare how energy moves through the sun and from the sun to the earth.
• What would happen if solar energy output was variable?
• How variable are the living things on planet Earth?

• Ho w variable are the planets in the solar system?
• Evaluate the possibility of life on other planets.
• What evidence is there that solar energy does vary over time?

• What are pictures? How are they made?
• What are photographs? How are they made?
• Are all photographs the same? Explain.

• Compare the kinds of images we get when using different parts of the
electromagnetic spectrum.
• Explain why different stars produce different wavelengths.
• What have we not seen in space?

• Compare specific features you can see on the Earth and on other solar system
• Compare days on earth, moon, and any other solar system planet.
• Compare years on earth, moon, and any other solar system planet.

• Compare the density of the interior and exterior planets.
• What does this density difference suggest about the composition of the two
different groups of planets?
• What would density differences between the rocky planets suggest?

• Compare the light produced by the sun and a fluorescent light bulb.
• Compare the light produced by the sun and a led.
• Explain the differences you are able to observe.

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