


Mathematics Skill or Topic Area: Scientific Notation 

Next Gen Science Standards ESS1: Earth’s Place in the Universe; PS4: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer; ETS2: 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.8.EE.4: Perform operations with numbers expressed in scientific notation, including problems where both decimal and scientific notation are used. Use scientific notation and choose units of appropriate size for measurements of very large or very small quantities (e.g., use millimeters per year for seafloor spreading). Interpret scientific notation that has been generated by technology.


Video Engagement: Spitzer’s Warm Mission After more than five years, Spitzer is completing its original assignment to study the cool universe and is now moving on to a new “warm” career (2 minutes). View Program 


Explore math connections with SpaceMath@NASA 

Problem I  How Much Mass is there in a Single Grain of Dust?  Interplanetary and interstellar space contains gas and dust which form a dilute medium through which planets and stars move. Although there are few of these gas and dust particles in any cubic meter of space, the volume of space is so large that the total mass in gas and dust can be substantial. In this problem, students explore the masses of various types of dust grains in space. [ Open PDF ] Problem II  The Light from a Warm Dust Grain  Dust grains can be detected by the light that they emit in the infrared spectrum. Because they are warm, they emit infrared 'heat' radiation, which sensitive telescopes can detect across great distances. In this problem, students compare the 'wattage' of a dust grain with the wattage from a 60watt reading light in their home. [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. Explain why you set the problem up this way, and how you might find its answer. Evaluate your understanding: Challenge Problem: The Volume of Saturn's New Dust Ring  Students use the equation for the volume of a torus (a donut shape) along with the dimensions of the new dust ring of Saturn determined by the Spitzer Space Telescope, to calculate the volume of the dust ring and compare it to the volume of Earth. [Open PDF ] More problems using Scientific Notation:
Scientific Notation I: Conversions from Decimals [Open PDF] Scientific Notation II: Addition [Open PDF] Scientific Notation III: Division and Multiplication [Open PDF] Scientific Notation IV: Word Problems [Open PDF] 

NASA / JPL 3D Solar System 

Extend your new knowledge  Visit Saturn and learn about the scale of Saturn's satellite system by measuring distances and working with scientific notation. [ Open PDF ] 
