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Space Exploration

Extending Talented Students in the Regular Classroom

Space Exploration
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This fully revised blackline master series (Pacemaker Pack) was initially devised as a means of providing extension for students within the regular classroom, whilst catering for the needs of the teacher and providing materials that were designed along educationally sound lines. Space Exploration follows the historical path from yesterday's stargazers to the modern technology taking photos from Mars. Students propose their own thoughts and ideas on the first moon landing, micro-gravity and future space travel, as well as expressing their opinions on science fiction and astrology. This book encourages students to take "small steps" or "giant leaps" with original designs and personal viewpoints related to the amazing discoveries within our solar system. Although the content and layout for the Pacemaker Pack series has been completely updated, the principles behind the series remain the same, using CONTENT LEVELS as a basis for categorizing activities. The key to this approach, which we term the appropriate curriculum model, is that students are presented with activities appropriate to their levels of understanding of the content together with their mastery of the requisite higher-order thinking processes. The levels are an adaptation of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, still a widely accepted and valued model of education. Below are the Content Levels and Indicators used in this book:

Content Level 1 FINDING OUT: Recalling data, showing understanding through restating or extending ideas. Answers factual questions, interprets information, describes or illustrates events.

Content Level 2 USING INFORMATION: Using information in a new situation through extending or breaking down concepts being studied. Problem solving based on knowledge gained. Making assumptions.

Content Level 3 CREATING / EVALUATING: Putting together ideas to develop new products, making judgements based on new information. Puts forward theories or original ideas and designs, forms and states opinions on theories.

Moving Through the Content Levels It is important that higher-order activities such as those at Content Level 3 are underpinned with a solid base of knowledge — the tasks and activities aligned with Levels 1 and 2 are designed to establish and expand this. It should never be assumed that students have the requisite content knowledge, but be prepared to advance students quickly to higher-level activities if they demonstrate a sound understanding of the facts and concepts presented in Levels 1 and 2.

Ready-Ed Publications; June 2001
39 pages; ISBN 9781863975803
Read online, or download in secure PDF format
Excerpt

Would You Like to Have a Bar of Mars?

One of the most easily accessible planets for exploration is our closest neighbor, Mars.

Mars was first explored by vessels flying by and taking pictures in passing, like the Mariner spacecraft of the 1960’s and 70’s. Small, robotic craft took pictures of the surface of Mars that could be compared to Earth’s own.

Next, came orbital spacecraft that could travel around Mars for longer periods of time, giving more detailed information. This orbital exploration is continuing into today as more sophisticated instruments are able to measure the atmosphere and analyze the surface of Mars.

In 1976, the first craft successfully landed on Mars, and in 1997 another craft called Pathfinder proved a very successful mission, landing on the surface of Mars and providing a huge amount of data on the rocks, soil, winds and weather. One of the main points of interest is a sign that Mars has had water in its liquid form in the past, indicated by images of flood and erosion. The presence of water on a planet also suggests the increased likelihood of life at some stage of its history.

By 2014, NASA hopes to launch internationally supported missions in which the first samples of Martian soil and rock can be returned to Earth for some "hands-on" investigation. With technology advancing all the time, who knows what will be possible?

Do some further research on Mars exploration (start at http://kids.msfc.nasa.gov/) and create a timeline of Mars exploration, starting from the 1960’s. Add future exploration up to 2020 or further if you wish.

Activity: You are an environmentalist who is AGAINST plans to settle on Mars one day to Mars for two reasons:

1. You think it gives humans more of an excuse to destroy Earth.

2. You think is it wrong for us to explore a planet that is not "ours".

Write a letter to NASA explaining your point of view, with some real facts on environmental destruction to back up your opinion.

Draft a plan for your letter here: