OUR EXPANDING INTERGALACTIC ROADMAP: Humankind's Relationship with Space from Mythology to Mars Rovers

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Essential Questions: 
  • How have humans viewed the stars and our place in space from ancient times to the present?
  • How big is the universe and how is it arranged?
  • How do computer programs, robotics, and technology allow us to explore new frontiers of space?
  • What is the future of space travel and interplanetary colonization?
  • Is there life out there somewhere?
Content: 
  • The scale, the arrangement and the formation of our solar system and the space beyond
  • Comparative views and models of the cosmos throughout time and across cultures
  • The mass and movement of the Earth and the moon and its effects on our days, years, seasons, lunar cycles, eclipses and gravity
  • Computer programming, robotics, and mars rovers
  • Probing the past and predicting the future of our space program
  • Examining evidence of extraterrestrial life
Skills and Processes: 
  • Building models to demonstrate the scale of the solar system and the relative sizes of the eight planets
  • Examining past and present ideas of how the cosmos are organized
  • Manipulating models to explore the movement of Earth, the moon, and our celestial neighbors
  • Programming Lego robotics mars rovers to complete a sequence of tasks remotely
  • Analyzing evidence and discussing the likelihood of mars colonization and extraterrestrial life
Assessment: 
  • Solar system scale models
  • Humankind's shifting views of space timeline
  • Mars Rover Lego Robotics programming challenge
  • 'Reasons for the Seasons' kinesthetic performance
  • Class discussions
  • Unit Test
Resources: 
  • FOSS Planetary Science Curricula
  • Stellarium planetary software
  • Celestia 3D space simulation
  • NSTA Project Earth Science: Astronomy Curricula
Multicultural Dimension: 
  • Analyzing diverse cultural perspectives on the space above and the stories of the stars
  • The importance of international competition and cooperation for the development and continuation of space exploration
Integrated Learning: 
  • The use of ratios to produce scale models of the solar system
  •  The historical under-pinnings of the space race
  •  Technology and computer programming as it relates to space science