


Mathematics Skill or Topic Area: Words into Mathematics 

Next Gen Science Standards PS3: Energy; ETS 2: Links among engineering, technology, science, and society Common Core ELA for Science: RST.68.2. Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions. RST.68.8. Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text. RST.68.9. Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic. Common Core Math Standard: CC.7.EE.3 Solve multistep reallife problems posed with positive and negative rational numbers in any form (whole numbers, fractions or decimals) using tools strategically. 

Video Engagement: Keeping the ISS in Orbit This video shows the actions being taken by NASA to counteract atmospheric drag on the International Space Station to prevent orbit decay and premature reentry (6 minutes).View Program 


Explore math connections with SpaceMath@NASA 

Problem I  ISS Altitude Changes  Students read an essay describing the increases and decreases in the International Space Station orbit, and calculate the final orbit altitude after all the changes are applied. Topics include adding positive and negative numbers. [Open PDF] Problem II  ISS Altitude Graph  Students use a plot of the altitude of the ISS to predict its atmospheric entry year after the peak of the next solar activity cycle. Topics include extrapolating a simple graph, estimation, and forecasting. [Open PDF] Explain your thinking: Write your own problem  Using information found in the Math Connection problems, the press release or the video program, create your own math problem that involves ISS altitude changes and solve it. Explain why you set the problem up this way, and how you might find its answer. Evaluate your understanding: Challenge Problem  The altitude of the ISS on February 22, 2012 was 400 kilometers, and it was decreasing by about 30 kilometers per year. Suppose that there were no reboosts of its orbit. By what year and month would the ISS reach an altitude of 250 kilometers where burnup is likely? Explain how you arrived at this answer. Answer: The ISS would need to lose 400 km  250 km = 150 km of altitude. At a rate of 30 km/yr, the time it would take is about 150 km/(30 km/y) = 5 years, so the burnup date would be about February, 2017.


NASA / JPL 3D Solar System 

Extend your new knowledge  Use the online, NASA/JPL 3D solar system simulator to measure the altitude of the International Space Station and show its changes over time. [ Open PDF ] For a realtime view of the ISS altitude you can also visit the NASA Space Flight website. 
