Unit 2 Culminating Project

Essential Question: What forces keep the parts of our solar system together and how can we use this knowledge to plot a telescope route through space?

Challenge

NASA has developed a new telescope, which they hope to launch into the solar system next year. What things will need to be considered to complete this mission efficiently and safely? Throughout the unit, your group will contribute to a class-wide solar system model. Your group is also responsible for making an informed decision on the route you think the new telescope should take and how you will protect it as it moves through space. Once all groups have shown their routes within the class model, you will individually create a presentation that pitches your route, justifying why your route is the best route. The format of this presentation is up to you (Slides, Prezi, Powerpoint with a script, video, videotaped poster presentation, etc.)


Background on the New Telescope

NASA’s new telescope will carry different science instruments to take pictures of and collect information about the physical characteristics and compositions of astronomical objects. One of the things it will look for is water and other clues about the potential habitability (ability to live) in another planetary system.

Instead of orbiting the Earth, as the current space telescope does, this telescope will orbit the sun! This gives it a spectacular view of objects in the solar system. With this view, it will be able to observe the water cycle on Mars, look at weather patterns on Saturn’s moon Titan, hunt for new rings around the giant planets, and track different comets.

As you consider your route, consider that the telescope needs to get to the outside edge of the solar system, past all of the planets. Take a look at the image below: This shows the desired location of the new telescope, but keep in mind that this drawing is not to scale, and in reality, planets are not organized in a straight line. Once in place, the telescope will orbit the sun as quickly as Earth does. This keeps the telescope in line with the Earth, offering it a unique vantage point, and allowing the Earth to protect the telescope from most of the light and heat from the sun.

If we want the telescope to function for a long time, we need to protect the telescope from solar wind in space. Solar wind is a constant stream of electrically charged particles that flow from the sun and carry its magnetic field out into the solar system. When you plan your telescope route, you will also need to come up with a way to protect the telescope from solar wind.


Group Project Criteria for Success

Your group’s route presentation within the class model should:

  • Show and describe your contribution to the class-wide model of the solar system. Include information about the following:
    • The name of your planet
    • The actual size and the scaled size of your planet
    • The actual distance and the scaled distance from the sun
    • The mass of your planet
  • Show and describe a potential route for the telescope within the class-wide model.
    • Explain what information in the tasks led your group to choose this route
  • Recommend the best way to create a protective magnetic field around the telescope.
    • Show and explain how passing by different planets in your route might affect the telescope.

Individual Project Criteria for Success

First, choose a type of presentation:

  • Google Slides
  • Video
  • Prezi (requires account)
  • Poster
  • Brochure
  • Google Site
  • Podcast

Second, include the following:

 

  1. Introduction
  2. Proposed Telescope Route (Rubric 1)
    • Show/describe your group’s route
    • Explain why this is the best route
    • Use evidence from Task 3 (GRAVITY)
  3. Invisible Fields (Rubric 2)
    • Convince non-scientific audiences that magnetic fields are real even though invisible.
    • Cite Data from Task 4 (Magnetism)
  4. Telescope Protection (Rubric 3)
    • Describe the best ways to strengthen the magnetic field around the telescope
    • List the questions asked in Task 4 (Magnetism)
  5. Passing Planets (Rubric 4)
    • Select a planet with a large magnetic field
    • Draw a model to show/explain how passing by this planet affects the telescope
  6. Conclusion

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, make sure your presentation is a PITCH and…

  • DEMONSTRATES YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF ESS1-2, PS2-3, AND PS2-5
  • Convinces me that your group’s route is BEST
  • Uses visual aids as necessary
  • Is organized logically
  • Is interesting!
  • Practices good oral presentation skills, if applicable

Individual Project Rubrics

Rubric A: Show and describe your group’s proposed route for the telescope.

Emergent – 1 Progressing – 2 Proficient – 3 Exceptional – 4
Student inaccurately argues why the telescope needs to stay farther away from some planets but not others. Student accurately argues why the telescope needs to stay farther away from some planets but not others, supporting with no evidence from Task 3. Student accurately argues why the telescope needs to stay farther away from some planets but not others, supporting with one piece of evidence from Task 3. Student accurately argues why the telescope needs to stay farther away from some planets but not others, supporting with multiple sources of evidence from Task 3.

Rubric 2: Predict that any magnetic field they create will be present even though we cannot see them. Cite data from Task 4 to support this claim

Emergent – 1 Progressing – 2 Proficient – 3 Exceptional – 4
Student predicts that any magnetic fields they create will be present even though we cannot see them, but uses no data to back up this claim. Student predicts that any magnetic field they create will be present even though we cannot see them, using general trends in data to back up this claim. Student predicts that any magnetic field they create will be present even though we cannot see them, using general trends and one specific source of data to back up this claim. Student predicts that any magnetic field they create will be present even though we cannot see them, using accurate and specific data from multiple sources to back up this claim.

Rubric 3: Describe the best ways to strengthen the magnetic field around the telescope. Identify identifies relevant questions that were investigated to gather this information

Emergent – 1 Progressing – 2 Proficient – 3 Exceptional – 4
Student inaccurately describes way(s) to strengthen the magnetic field around the telescope and does not identify relevant questions that were investigated to gather this information. Student accurately describes way(s) to strengthen the magnetic field around the telescope but does not identify relevant questions that were investigated to gather this information. Student accurately describes a way to strengthen the magnetic field around the telescope and identifies a relevant question that was investigated to gather this information. Student accurately describes multiple ways to strengthen the magnetic field around the telescope and identifies relevant questions that were investigated to gather this information.

Rubric 4: Draw a model to show and explain how passing planets with different magnetic fields will affect the telescope

Emergent – 1 Progressing – 2 Proficient – 3 Exceptional – 4
Student draws an inaccurate model to show and explain how passing by planets with different magnetic fields will affect the telescope. Student draws an accurate model to generally show how passing by planets with different magnetic fields will affect the telescope.  OR

Student accurately explains how passing by planets with different magnetic fields will affect the telescope.

Student draws an accurate model to generally show and explain how passing by planets with different magnetic fields will affect the telescope. Student draws an accurate model to accurately show and explain how passing by planets with different magnetic fields will affect the telescope.