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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.

Reimagining plastics recycling

Students will evaluate experimental methods for recycling plastics, gather data about the types of plastics they use at home, research plastics recycling in their community and write a letter to local officials that advocates for improving plastics recycling.
satellite image of Santorini

Sea Level Dips Spur Volcanic Eruptions

In this guide, students will learn about how scientists used a computer simulation to show that sea level might influence volcanic eruptions. Then, students will discuss computer simulations and brainstorm a simulation that they could use to investigate a real-world issue.

The significance of simulations

Students will discuss the purpose, benefits and challenges of using computer simulations in scientific research. Then, students will brainstorm a real-world issue that could be investigated with a computer simulation and think about how the simulation would work.

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.

Mission to Mars

Students will develop a design for an exploratory Mars mission to gather and study data about one aspect of Mars. The ultimate goal of the mission will be to gather data to help plan for a future human-crewed mission to Mars.
coated thermal material

Coating Provides Infrared Camouflage

This guide, based on the Science News article “Coating provides infrared camouflage,” asks students to explore the physics and potential technological applications of a material, discuss the various types of electromagnetic radiation, analyze infrared images and research how infrared imaging is used across a range of fields.

Seeing in infrared

In this activity, students will analyze infrared images and then explore how infrared imaging is used across a range of fields of work. Skills include researching, evaluating, synthesizing and presenting information.

Exploring electromagnetic radiation

Students will watch a NASA video about the electromagnetic spectrum to learn about properties of the various types of radiation. Then, students will explore and discuss technologies that use specific types of electromagnetic radiation.

Hiding heat radiation

Students will answer questions about the Science News article “Coating provides infrared camouflage,” which explores the physics and potential technological applications of a material.