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origami satellite james webb

The Origami Satellite

In this guide, students will learn about NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and discuss how scientific advances have shaped the telescope’s mission.

Unlocking universal questions

Students will discuss the mission of the James Webb Space Telescope and explore how scientific discoveries over the last few decades have shaped the telescope’s to-do list.

Getting ready for lift-off

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “When James Webb launches, it will have a bigger to-do list than 1980s researchers suspected,” which details the long journey of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to make it into space to explore other galaxies. A version of the story, “The origami satellite,” appears in the October 9, 2021 & October 23, 2021 issue of Science News.

The hunt for other worlds

Students will research exoplanets and their properties and detection methods. Then students will use fictitious data to create a light curve of a transiting exoplanet and to calculate the exoplanet’s motion through its solar system.
star TYC 8998-760-1 with exoplanets

A Weird Solar System Cousin Makes Its Photographic Debut

In this guide, students will examine a photograph of a distant solar system, learn how astronomers captured the image and learn about the system’s inhabitants. Students will then discuss units of measure and create a scaled drawing of the distant solar system.

Capturing an exoplanet family portrait

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “This is the first picture of a sunlike star with multiple exoplanets,” which describes a young solar system 300 light-years from our own. A version of the story, “A weird solar system cousin makes its photographic debut,” can be found in the August 29, 2020 issue of Science News.

Why use units

To determine the purpose of units in science, students will identify and compare the units used for common outer space measurements with units typically used for Earth measurements. Then, students will think about the importance of using standard units versus relative values when describing data before creating a scaled drawing of exoplanet distances.

Rover Peers Beneath Moon’s Farside

In this guide, students will explore the moon’s geology and learn how to display and interpret data through diagrams. In an activity, students will use their knowledge of Earth’s rock cycle to analyze data on rock samples.

Seeing into the moon

Students will answer questions about the Science News article “Rover peers beneath moon’s farside,” which details new geologic evidence that could help scientists understand why the lunar nearside and farside look so different.

Geologist for a day

Rocks found across the world offer clues to geological processes, as well as the history of Earth and the rest of the solar system. In this activity, students will review types of rocks and the rock cycle and will apply that knowledge to interpret data on two rock samples.

Lunar orbit

Students will practice analyzing and graphing data about the moon’s orbit. The activity will help students understand the Earth-moon system and the nature of elliptical orbits.
neutron star merger

Strontium Found in Neutron Star Crash

This guide, based on the Science News article “Strontium found in neutron star crash,” asks students to explore how elements are created. An activity from the Digital Library will help students understand the life cycle of stars and how stars produce various elements.