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4 It s in the News! Teacher s guide Following the news about the satellite that crashed to earth last month, this issue of It s in the news! focuses on space. On 24th September 2011 between 3 and 5 am, an old US communications satellite crashed in the Pacific Ocean. Another satellite has also just landed in the Bay of Bengal! This one is German. In these slides there are links to geography and science. If you do a topic on space, you might find these slides helpful. If not, why not do it anyway? The slides give opportunities for work on a variety of mathematical concepts such as number and measurement including time. continued on the next slide

5 continued Before you use the slides you might find the following websites useful for information on the satellite and also space in general: The Telegraph This includes a video of a possible sighting of the satellite in the sky. The Telegraph This has several related stories including the one about the German satellite, whose landing was covered by the BBC. NASA Falling NASA Satellite Complete Coverage of UARS Spacecraft's Fiery Demise

7 1 st spread: Space Junk! continued Focus on the times 3:23am and 5:09am. Ask the children how many minutes from one time to the next. Can the children draw or find the time on an analogue clock? You could ask questions such as What if the satellite landed three and a half hours later? Two and a quarter hours earlier? Look at the boy s comment about the satellite being the size of a bus. You could liken it to a double decker bus which is about 11m or 36ft 1in. Ask questions relating to converting from imperial to metric and vice versa. Apparently, the satellite weighed lbs. Ask the children to work out what this is in kilograms. Can they think of anything else that might weigh this much? They could weigh items from around the classroom and work out how many of that particular thing would weight the same as the satellite. NASA reckoned that there was a 1 in chance that someone could get hit by debris from the satellite. You could explore this probability by drawing a probability scale and placing this onto it. What is this probability as a fraction? What other events could be placed on the line? Encourage the children to think of things that are likely, certain, unlikely, less likely than the satellite hitting someone etc. The satellite landed in the Pacific Ocean and didn t hit anyone. You could look at a map of the world and ask the children to identify the Pacific and also the countries that have a coastline that boarders it. You could use this as an opportunity to explore each country and compare rainfall and temperature. These could be displayed as graphs or charts of the children s choosing. Originally, the crash zone was expected to cover points between latitudes 57 degrees north and 57 degrees south. This covers an area as far north as Alberta, Canada and as far south as Cape Horn. Part of every continent was in the UARS satellite crash zone. Ask the children to locate this area on a map and identify the countries where it might have landed. You could use this information to look at compass direction and coordinates. continued on the next slide

9 2 nd spread: Our Solar System You could ask the children to explore a website such as Kids Astronomy and in pairs make up mathematical fact-files about one of the planets in our solar system. Ensure that each of the planets is covered. You could then share the information that they found and display it in a variety of tables, charts and graphs. We once taught about the nine planets in our Solar System, but the astronomers demoted Pluto in 2006 so there are now only eight planets. Pluto is now known as a "dwarf planet". It s still there - and still well known, so give the children the opportunity to find out about it, for example, what it's made of, how it got there, lengths of its days and nights, its mass and diameter. You could look at the sizes of the planets, scale them down and make a model of our Solar System out of papier mache balloons. The children could, for example, round the diameters to the nearest thousand, divide by and change to centimetres. The sun will still be huge but the planets will be manageable sizes! You could use the following diameters as shown on this website The sun: km Mercury 4 878km Venus km Earth km Mars 6 787km Jupiter km Saturn km Uranus km Neptune km Pluto 2 300km. continued on the next slide

10 2 nd spread: Our Solar System continued The children could draw circles to represent the planets. They could use a pair of compasses. Alternatively, they could draw the radius out from a central point several times to help them draw their circles freehand e.g. You could use this as an opportunity to work on ratio for example what are the ratios of each planet to the sun, to Jupiter, to one other planet e.g. Mercury and Earth? What is the ratio of Earth to all the other planets. On the slide one of the boys used a mnemonic to remember the planets and their order from the sun. Can the children make up one of their own for the planets now that Pluto has been downgraded? Ask the children to find out why Pluto has been downgraded to a dwarf planet. Is it the only dwarf planet in our Solar System?

11 3 rd spread: Ten cool facts about space! Look at the cool facts about space. Give the children the opportunity to use the internet to find others, preferably with a mathematical flavour! Focus on Fact 1 that if you put Saturn in water it will float. Discuss what this means. Let the children experiment with objects to see if they float or sink. What are the commonalities between those that float. Let them find the weights of the different objects do their weights tell them whether they will float or sink? Fact 2 tells us that we are travelling in space at a rate of 530km per second. Discuss this speed. How far would we travel in half an hour, an hour, a day? Ask the children to find out how far apart the planets are. They could then find out how long it would take us to get to them if Earth was travelling towards them at this speed. You could ask them to find out how long it would take us to reach the sun. These activities would be good for practising grouping. Focus on Fact 4. Summer on Uranus lasts for 21 years. Why do the children think this is? How many months are there in 21 years good opportunity to rehearse grid method for multiplication or a mental strategy such as multiplying by 10 and adding the double of 21. How does the summer in Uranus compare with the summer in the UK? You could use Fact 5 for work on percentages. How heavy is the rest of the Solar System as a percentage? You could explore other percentages e.g. ask the children to work out what 99.8% is of 200, 300 etc. Encourage them to work this out through their knowledge of 10% of the amounts by, for example, doubling, halving, addition and subtraction.. Focus on Fact 6: you could ask the children to make a time line which is 30cms in length, plot years ago at the beginning and then work out how many years one centimetre would represent. They could then plot on approximately where some of the significant times in history would go. Maybe you could ask them to plot areas of history that they have looked at in school. They could also plot on the year of their birth. continued on the next slide

12 3 rd spread: Ten cool facts about space! continued Fact 7 tells us that it would take more than 150 years to drive to the sun. You could explore this for example work out the number of months, weeks, days etc. in 150 years. If travelling at 50 mph over a 24 hour period how far towards the sun would you travel in a day, month, year? If Jupiter is bigger than all the other planets combined does that mean that its diameter will be longer than the combined diameters of the other planets? Ask the children to find out. You could ask the children to research space travel. They could draw a time line to show the significant events e.g. the launch of the first space ship, the first man in space, the first man to land on the moon. There are numerous links between space and mathematics. We have given a taste of just a few which we hope might get you started the next time you cover this topic!

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