This site provides several activities involving space exploration that fit into the mathematics curriculum. There is a separate page for each of: Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus. For each course there are several topics that are included. For each of these, the site contains a reading on the highlighted NASA project, a student worksheet that contains questions that ask students to apply the mathematics to the NASA project, and an instructor guide complete with teaching suggestions and an answer sheet.
Type of Material:
Assignment (Courses with Class Activities)
This site is based on group class activities work.
Requires the TI_Nspire for some of the courses’ activities.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Apply several topics from basic math courses to NASA projects that can fit into the mathematics curriculum.
Target Student Population:
Students at colleges, universities and high schools who are taking algebra 1, geometry, algebra 2, or precalculus.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basics knowledge of high school mathematical topics including functions, trigonometry and experience with using the TI_Nsprire calculator.
This site several activities that can get students introduced to the NASA based applications of Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, and Pre Calculus. The geometry that is used in the math courses offered by NASA includes the Pythagorean Theorem and Volume, Symmetry, and more. The NASA projects that the student will explore include the ISS, the Mars Rovers, the lunar lander, earth based training stations, and others. Students are asked to read about the space exploration related applications and then answer several questions that require these topics in order to successfully answer them.
Some of the activities in the site rely on the TI_Nspire. Since all of the technology is also available for free online, it would have been better to have an alternate technology option.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site does an excellent job in taking both the instructor and the student through the activities. Having both a teacher page and a student page in each mathematical topic offered by NASA makes for easy preparation. This site contains a list of objectives for each activity and the step-by-step walkthrough that the activities come with are well written and very appropriate for what is covered in college math classes. Students will learn mathematics while investigating the various NASA projects. This will make the experience more memorable and motivate students to further explore both mathematics and science.
Giving alternating options for TI Nspire calculator would give the teacher the flexibility to use the handouts depending on the specific classes.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Students can access the PDF or have a printout. The instructions are laid out in a way that the instructor and the student will have no confusions while they are using this activity. The pictures integrated with the text work well together along with the excitement of NASA explorations to appeal to most students. The activities come with a worksheet for the students to fill out that is laid out in an understandable manner. The site provides a solution key for each class activity which makes it easy to use by both the teacher and student to compare their solutions with the author’s solution. There will be very little work for an instructor to include these activities in math classes.
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