AAAS Science NetLinks, Science NetLinks, AAAS
Activity takes about one to two 45-minute class periods. This activity requires additional materials.Discuss this Resource»
Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing 1c
Other materials addressing 1a
1.2 Thermal energy.
2.2 Sources of energy on Earth.
2.3 Earth's climate driven by the Sun.
Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines
Other materials addressing:
C) Collecting information.
Other materials addressing:
A) Processes that shape the Earth.
Other materials addressing:
Benchmarks for Science Literacy
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Notes From Our Reviewers
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
About the Science
- Activity takes two simple types of measurements and shows how they are important to both Earth's seasons and to the technical challenges for the Messenger mission to Mercury.
- While the experiments themselves are quite simple and well described, the extrapolations to Earth's seasons and the Mercury MESSENGER mission may prove a rewarding challenge to both educators and students.
- Since the Messenger spacecraft began orbiting Mercury in March 2011, this lesson could be related quite nicely to coverage of that event.
About the Pedagogy
- Thorough content piece for educators.
- A group investigation that allows for a differentiation of student roles - Time Keeper, Temperature Monitor, and Recorder.
- Some important mechanical skills are needed to understand and set up the apparatus and consider the design challenges for the Mercury MESSENGER mission.
- This resource engages students in using scientific data.
See other data-rich activities
Technical Details/Ease of Use
- Complete, ready-to-use, clearly presented activity.
- Most of the materials are basic, although not always available in a typical classroom. Assembling the materials and set up for all teams might consume some time.
- Educators have to download a number of materials like worksheets, etc.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
MS-ESS1.B2: This model of the solar system can explain eclipses of the sun and the moon. Earth’s spin axis is fixed in direction over the short-term but tilted relative to its orbit around the sun. The seasons are a result of that tilt and are caused by the differential intensity of sunlight on different areas of Earth across the year.
Science and Engineering Practices
MS-P2.7: Develop and/or use a model to generate data to test ideas about phenomena in natural or designed systems, including those representing inputs and outputs, and those at unobservable scales.
MS-P3.1: Plan an investigation individually and collaboratively, and in the design: identify independent and dependent variables and controls, what tools are needed to do the gathering, how measurements will be recorded, and how many data are needed to support a claim.
MS-P3.2: Conduct an investigation and/or evaluate and/or revise the experimental design to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meet the goals of the investigation
MS-P4.1: Construct, analyze, and/or interpret graphical displays of data and/or large data sets to identify linear and nonlinear relationships.
MS-P4.3: Distinguish between causal and correlational relationships in data.
MS-P6.3: Construct a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from sources (including the students’ own experiments) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
MS-P7.3: Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon or a solution to a problem.
MS-P8.4: Evaluate data, hypotheses, and/or conclusions in scientific and technical texts in light of competing information or accounts.
MS-P1.3: Ask questions to determine relationships between independent and dependent variables and relationships in models.
MS-C4.2: Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy, matter, and information flows within systems.
MS-C5.3: Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of motion).
MS-C1.2: Patterns in rates of change and other numerical relationships can provide information about natural and human designed systems
MS-C2.1: Relationships can be classified as causal or correlational, and correlation does not necessarily imply causation.
MS-C3.1: Time, space, and energy phenomena can be observed at various scales using models to study systems that are too large or too small.
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