Properties of Objects and Materials

Problem 294: Star Cluster math A simple counting exercise involving star classes lets students work with percentages and ratios. [Grade: 4-6 | Topics: Counting; percentage; scaling]

Problem 278: Spitzer Studies the Distant Planet Osiris Students learn about the density of the planet HD209458b, also called Osiris, and compare it to that of Jupiter. [Grade: 8-10 | Topics: Spherical volumes; density; Scientific Notation;]

Problem 236: LRO Sees Apollo-11 on the Moon! Students use the latest image from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter of the Apollo-11 landing site to explore lunar features at 1-meter resolution, and determine the solar elevation angle. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: scale; ratios; angle measure; right triangles]

Problem 234: The Hand of Chandra Students use an image from the Chandra Observatory to measure a pulsar ejecting a cloud of gas. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: Scientific Notation; proportions; angle measure]

Problem 262: LRO Explore Lunar Surface Cratering Students count the number of craters in various size ranges from a high-resolution image of the lunar surface. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: scale, proportion, ratio, area, density]

Problem 261: LRO - Searching for Lunar boulders Students use a recent image of the APollo-11 landing area to search for large lunar boulders. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: scale, ratio, proportion]

Problem 267: Identifying Materials by their Reflectitity The reflectivity of a material can be used to identify it. This is important when surveying the lunar surface for minerals, and also in creating 'green' living environments on Earth. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: percentage, interpreting tabular data, area ]

Problem 230: Galaxy Distances and Mixed Fractions- Students use the relative distances to nearby galaxies expressed in mixed numbers to determine distances between selected galaxies. [Grade: 3-5 | Topics: Basic fraction math.]

Problem 229: Atomic Numbers and Multiplying Fractions- Students use a piece of the Periodic Table of the Elements to figure out the identities of atoms based on numerical clues expressed as mixed numbers. [Grade: 3-5 | Topics: Basic fraction math; mixed numbers.]

Problem 228: Nuclear Arithmetic- Students use the equation N = A - Z to solve for A, Z or N given values for the other two variables. [Grade: 4-6 | Topics: Evaluating a simple equation.]

Problem 222: Kelvin Temperatures and Very Cold Things- Students convert from Centigrade to Fahrenheit and to Kelvin using three linear equations. [Grade: 5-8 | Topics: Evaluating simple linear equations for given values..]

Problem 221: Pulsars and Simple Equations- Students work with linear equations describing the rotation period of a pulsar, and evaluate the equations for various conditions. Students use the equations to pblackict intersection points in time. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: Evaluating simple one-variable equations]

Problem 203: Light Travel Times- Students determine the time it takes light to reach various objects in space. [Grade: 6-8| Topics: Scientific Notation; Multiplication; time = distance/speed.]

Problem 200: The Moon's Density - What's Inside?- Students develop a simple mathematical model of the moon's interior using two nested spheres with different densities. [Grade: 9-12| Topics: Volume of a sphere; mass = density x volume.]

Problem 112 How fast does the sun spin? Students will use two x-ray images of the sun taken by the Hinode satellite to determine how fast the sun rotates. [Grade: 5-9 | Topics:calculating map scales; time calculations; unit conversion]

Problem 103 The Mysterious Solar Micro-Flares! Students will analyze an image taken by the Hinode solar satellite to determine the scale of the image in kilometers per millimeter, then use this to determine the sizes of solar micro-flares. From the number of micro-flares that they count in the image, the area of the image in square kilometers, and the surface area of a spherical sun, they will calculate the total number of micro-flares on the solar surface. [Grade: 6-9 | Topics:image scales; area calculation; unit conversions]

Position and Motion of Objects

Problem 301: Planetary Alignments Students combine a geometric model with number series to calculate when planets will 'line up' in a simple solar system. [Grade: 4-8 | Topics: Number series; geometry; Least Common Multiple]

Problem 295: Details from an Exploding Star Students work with an image from the Hubble Space Telescope of the Crab Nebula to calculate scales and sizes of various features. [Grade: 6-9 | Topics: Scale; measurement; metric units]

Problem 315: The Mysterious Hexagon on Saturn A curious hexagon formed by the Saturn polar jet stream, and photographed by the Cassini spacecraft, is used to determine wind speed and acceleration. [Grade: 6-9 | Topics: Measuring; Metric Units; speed=distance/time]

Problem 314: Chandra Studies an Expanding Supernova Shell Using a millimeter ruler and a sequence of images of a gaseous shell between 2000 and 2007, students calculate the speed of the material ejected by Supernova 1987A. [Grade: 6-9 | Topics: Measuring; Metric Units; speed=distance/time]

Problem 237: The Martian Dust Devils Students determine the speed and acceleration of a martian dust devil from time laps images and information about the scale of the image. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: scales; Determining speed from sequential images; V = D/T

Problem 232: Star Circles- Students use a photograph of star trails around the North Star Polaris to determine the duration of the timed exposure based on star arc lengths. [Grade: 8-9 | Topics: Lengths of arcs of circles; angular measure.]

Problem 101 Super-Fast Solar Flares!! - Students will analyze consecutive images taken of an erupting solar flare, and use the information provided to calculate the speed of the flare. [Grade level: 6-9 | Topics:image scales; time calculations; speed calculations]

Problem 43 An Interplanetary Shock Wave On November 8, 2000 the sun released a coronal mass ejection that traveled to Earth, and its effects were detected on Jupiter and Saturn several weeks later. In this problem, students will use data from this storm to track its speed and acceleration as it traveled across the solar system. [Grade level: 6-10 | Topics: Time calculations; distance = speed x time ]

Problem 6 Observing the Sun's rotation Students use a Sunspotter to track sunspots during the week of November 7, 2004, and calculate the rotation period of the sun. [Grade: 6 - 8 | Topics: Lab exercise using a 'Sunspotter' to measure sun's rotation]

Properties of Matter

Problem 297: Atoms - How Sweet They Are! A simple counting activity is based on atoms in a sugar molecule. Students calculate ratios and percantages of various atomic types in the molecule. [Grade: 4-8 | Topics: Counting; Ratios; percentage]

Problem 278: Spitzer Studies the Distant Planet Osiris Students learn about the density of the planet HD209458b, also called Osiris, and compare it to that of Jupiter. [Grade: 8-10 | Topics: Spherical volumes; density; Scientific Notation;]

Problem 233: The Milky Way: A mere cloud in the cosmos- Students compare the average density of the Milky Way with the density of the universe. [Grade: 8-10 | Topics: Volume of disk, density, scientific notation]

Problem 229: Atomic Numbers and Multiplying Fractions- Students use a piece of the Periodic Table of the Elements to figure out the identities of atoms based on numerical clues expressed as mixed numbers. [Grade: 3-5 | Topics: Basic fraction math; mixed numbers.]

Problem 228: Nuclear Arithmetic- Students use the equation N = A - Z to solve for A, Z or N given values for the other two variables. [Grade: 4-6 | Topics: Evaluating a simple equation.]

Motions and Forces

Problem 201: Fly Me To the Moon!- Students learn some basic principles and terminology about how spacecraft change their orbits to get to the moon. [Grade: 6-8| Topics: speed = distance/time; Pythagorean Theorem]

Problem 185: The International Space Station: Follow that graph!- Students use a plot of the orbit altitude of the ISS to pblackict its re-entry year after the peak of the next solar activity cycle. [Grade: 6-8| Topics: extrapolating a simple graph; estimation; forecasting]

Problem 152: The Hubble Law - Students plot the speed and distance to 7 galaxies and by deriving the slop of the linear model for the data points, obtain an estimate for the expansion rate of the universe known as Hubble's Constant. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: Plotting data; determining the slope of the data;]

Problem 116 The Comet Encke Tail Disruption Event On April 20, 2007 NASA's STEREO satellite captured a rare impact between a comet and the fast-moving gas in a solar coronal mass ejection. In this problem, students analyze a STEREO satellite image to determine the speed of the tail disruption event. [Grade: 8-10 | Topics:time calculation; finding image scale; calculating speed from distance and time]

Problem 108 A Problem in Satellite Synchrony The THEMIS program uses five satellites in five different orbits to study Earth's magnetic field and its changes during a storm. This problem asks students to use the periods of the five satellites to figure out when all 5 satellites will be lined-up as seen from Earth. They will do this by finding the Greatest Common Multiple of the five orbit periods, first for the case of 2 or 3 satellites, which can be easily diagrammed with concentric circles, then the case for all five satellites together. [Grade: 5-9 | Topics:multiplication; Greatest Common Multiple]

Problem 36 The Space Station Orbit Decay and Space Weather Students will learn about the continued decay of the orbit of the International Space Station by studying a graph of the Station's altitude versus time. They will calculate the orbit decay rates, and investigate why this might be happening. [Grade: 5 - 8 | Topics: Interpreting graphical data; decimal math]

Structure of Atoms

Problem 297: Atoms - How Sweet They Are! A simple counting activity is based on atoms in a sugar molecule. Students calculate ratios and percantages of various atomic types in the molecule. [Grade: 4-8 | Topics: Counting; Ratios; percentage]

Problem 229: Atomic Numbers and Multiplying Fractions- Students use a piece of the Periodic Table of the Elements to figure out the identities of atoms based on numerical clues expressed as mixed numbers. [Grade: 3-5 | Topics: Basic fraction math; mixed numbers.]

Problem 228: Nuclear Arithmetic- Students use the equation N = A - Z to solve for A, Z or N given values for the other two variables. [Grade: 4-6 | Topics: Evaluating a simple equation.]

Problem 216: Atomic Fractions- Students study the energy ladders of an atom and work out, using differences between mixed numbers, the energy gained or lost by an electron as it moves up and down the ladder. [Grade: 3-6 | Topics: Basic fraction math]

Problem 215: More Atomic Fractions- Students study the energy ladders of an atom and work out, using differences between mixed numbers, the energy gained or lost by an electron as it moves up and down the ladder. [Grade: 3-6 | Topics: Basic fraction math.]

Problem 214: Atomic Fractions III- Students study the energy ladders of an atom and work out, using differences between mixed numbers, the energy gained or lost by an electron as it moves up and down the ladder. [Grade: 3-6 | Topics: Basic fraction math.]

Chemical Reactions

Problem 217: Fractions and Chemistry- Students study simple chemical equations by using simple proportions and mixed numbers. [Grade: 3-6 | Topics: Basic fraction math; ratios.]

Transfer of Energy

Problem 251: Energy at Home Students explore watts and kilowatt-hours as measures of energy and energy consumption. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: unit conversions; use of kilo and mega]

Problem 220: The Many Faces of Energy- Students convert between several different energy units. [Grade: 8-10 | Topics: Scientific notation; unit conversions.]

Problem 216: Atomic Fractions- Students study the energy ladders of an atom and work out, using differences between mixed numbers, the energy gained or lost by an electron as it moves up and down the ladder. [Grade: 3-6 | Topics: Basic fraction math]

Problem 215: More Atomic Fractions- Students study the energy ladders of an atom and work out, using differences between mixed numbers, the energy gained or lost by an electron as it moves up and down the ladder. [Grade: 3-6 | Topics: Basic fraction math.]

Problem 214: Atomic Fractions III- Students study the energy ladders of an atom and work out, using differences between mixed numbers, the energy gained or lost by an electron as it moves up and down the ladder. [Grade: 3-6 | Topics: Basic fraction math.]

Problem 116 The Comet Encke Tail Disruption Event On April 20, 2007 NASA's STEREO satellite captured a rare impact between a comet and the fast-moving gas in a solar coronal mass ejection. In this problem, students analyze a STEREO satellite image to determine the speed of the tail disruption event. [Grade: 8-10 | Topics:time calculation; finding image scale; calculating speed from distance and time]

Light

Problem 211: Where Did All the Stars Go?- Students learn why NASA photos often don't show stars because of the way that cameras take pictures of bright and faint objects. [Grade: 6-8| Topics: multiplication; division; decimal numbers.]

Problem 209: How to make faint things stand out in a bright world!- Students learn that adding images together often enhances faint things not seen in only one image; the power of averaging data. [Grade: 6-8| Topics: multiplication; division; decimal numbers.]

Problem 207: The STEREO Mission: getting the message across- Students learn about how the transmission of data is affected by how far away a satellite is for the two satellites in the STEREO constellation. [Grade: 6-8| Topics: multiplication; division; decimal numbers.]

Problem 206: Can You Hear me now? - Students learn about how the transmission of data is affected by how far away a satellite is, for a variety of spacecraft in the solar system [Grade: 6-8| Topics: multiplication; division; decimal numbers.]

Problem 203: Light Travel Times- Students determine the time it takes light to reach various objects in space. [Grade: 6-8| Topics: Scientific Notation; Multiplication; time = distance/speed.]

Heat

Problem 222: Kelvin Temperatures and Very Cold Things- Students convert from Centigrade to Fahrenheit and to Kelvin using three linear equations. [Grade: 5-8 | Topics: Evaluating simple linear equations for given values..]

Magnetism

Problem 3 Magnetic Storms II Students learn about the Kp index using a bar graph. They use the graph to answer simple questions about maxima and time. [Grade: 6 - 8 | Topics: Interpreting bar graphs; time calculations]

Problem 1 Magnetic Storms I Students learn about magnetic storms using real data in the form of a line graph. They answer simple questions about data range, maximum, and minimum. [Grade: 7 - 9 | Topics: Interpreting a graph; time calculations]

Objects in the Sky

Problem 299: Changing Perspectives on the Sun's Diameter Students compare two images of the sun taken by the SHOH satellite to measure the apparent diameter change from different earth obit locations in the winter and summer. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: measurement; parallax; metric units; percentage change]

Problem 295: Details from an Exploding Star Students work with an image from the Hubble Space Telescope of the Crab Nebula to calculate scales and sizes of various features. [Grade: 6-9 | Topics: Scale; measurement; metric units]

Problem 315: The Mysterious Hexagon on Saturn A curious hexagon formed by the Saturn polar jet stream, and photographed by the Cassini spacecraft, is used to determine wind speed and acceleration. [Grade: 6-9 | Topics: Measuring; Metric Units; speed=distance/time]

Problem 314: Chandra Studies an Expanding Supernova Shell Using a millimeter ruler and a sequence of images of a gaseous shell between 2000 and 2007, students calculate the speed of the material ejected by Supernova 1987A. [Grade: 6-9 | Topics: Measuring; Metric Units; speed=distance/time]

Problem 275: Water on the Moon! Students estimate the amount of water on the moon using data from Deep Impact/EPOXI and NASA's Moon Minerology Mapper experiment on the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. [Grade: 8-10 | Topics: Geometry, Spherical volumes and surface areas, Scientific notation]

Problem 258: LRO's First Image of Mare Nubium Students examine the first image of this lunar region using the high-resolution camera image provided by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: scale, ratio, proportion]

Problem 257: LRO and the APollo-11 Landing Site Students examine a map of the Apollo-11 landing area and determine how well various features will be visible to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter high-resolution camera. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: scale, proportion, ratios]

Problem 256: A High-resolution Satellite Photo Students examine a satelite photo of the Tennessee Court House from the GEO-1 satellite and determine the sizes of familiar features in the image. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: scale, ratios, proportions' angle measure, triangle geometry]

Problem 255: Temple-1 - Closeup of a Comet Students examine an image of the Comet Temple-1 taken by the Dawn spacecraft to determine feature sizes and other details. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: scales, proportions ]

Problem 233: The Milky Way: A mere cloud in the cosmos- Students compare the average density of the Milky Way with the density of the universe. [Grade: 8-10 | Topics: Volume of disk, density, scientific notation]

Problem 232: Star Circles- Students use a photograph of star trails around the North Star Polaris to determine the duration of the timed exposure based on star arc lengths. [Grade: 8-9 | Topics: Lengths of arcs of circles; angular measure.]

Problem 231: Star Magnitudes and Decimals- Students work with the stellar magnitude scale to determine the brightness differences between stars. [Grade: 5-8 | Topics: Multiplying decimals.]

Problem 224: Perimeters; Which constellation is the longest?- Students use tabulated data for the angular distances between stars in the Big Dipper and Orion to determine which constellation has the longest perimeter, and the average star separations. [Grade: 3-5 | Topics: perimeter of a curve; basic fractions; mixed numbers.]

Problem 221: Pulsars and Simple Equations- Students work with linear equations describing the rotation period of a pulsar, and evaluate the equations for various conditions. Students use the equations to pblackict intersection points in time. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: Evaluating simple one-variable equations]

Problem 218: Craters are a Blast! - Students measure crater diameters in a photo of the moon, and determine the energy requiblack to create them using a simple quadratic equation. [Grade: 8-10 | Topics: Scientific notation; evaluating simple power equations.]

Problem 213: Kepler: The hunt for Earth-like planets- Students compare the area of a star with the area of a planet to determine how the star's light is dimmed when the planet passes across the star as viewed from Earth. This is the basis for the 'transit' method used by NASA's Kepler satellite to detect new planets. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: Area of circle; ratios; percents.]

Problem 211: Where Did All the Stars Go?- Students learn why NASA photos often don't show stars because of the way that cameras take pictures of bright and faint objects. [Grade: 6-8| Topics: multiplication; division; decimal numbers.]

Problem 206: Can You Hear me now? - Students learn about how the transmission of data is affected by how far away a satellite is, for a variety of spacecraft in the solar system [Grade: 6-8| Topics: multiplication; division; decimal numbers.]

Problem 203: Light Travel Times- Students determine the time it takes light to reach various objects in space. [Grade: 6-8| Topics: Scientific Notation; Multiplication; time = distance/speed.]

Problem 197: Hubble Sees a Distant Planet- Students study an image of the dust disk around the star Fomalhaut and determine the orbit period and distance of a newly-discoveblack planet orbiting this young star. [Grade: 6-10| Topics: Calculating image scales; Circle circumferences; Unit conversions; distance-speed-time]

Problem 158: The Solar Neighborhod within 17 Light Years - Students create a scale model of the local solar neighborhood and determine the shortest travel distances to several stars. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: Plotting polar coordinates using a ruler and compass; decimal math]

Problem 182: Our Neighborhood in the Milky Way- Students create a scale model of the local Milky Way and estimate distances and travel times for a series of voyages. [Grade: 6-8| Topics: scale models; speed-distance-time]

Problem 52 Measuring the size of a Star Cluster - Astronomers often use a photograph to determine the size of astronomical objects. The Pleiades is a famous cluster of hundreds of bright stars. In this activity, students will determine the photographic scale, and use this to estimate the projected (2-D) distances between the stars in this cluster. They will also use internet and library resources to learn more about this cluster. [Grade level: 4-6 | Topics: Online research; Finding the scale of an image; metric measurement; decimal math]

Problem 51 Sunspots Close-up and Personal - Students will analyze a picture of a sunspot to learn more about its size, and examine the sizes of various other features on the surface of the sun that astronomers study. [Grade level: 6-8 | Topics: Finding the scale of an image; metric measurement; decimal math]

Problem 49 A Spiral Galaxy Up Close. - Astronomers can learn a lot from studying photographs of galaxies. In this activity, students will compute the image scale (light years per millimeter) in a photograph of a nearby spiral galaxy, and explore the sizes of the features found in the image. They will also use the internet or other resources to fill-in the missing background information about this galaxy. [Grade level: 6-8 | Topics: Online research; Finding the scale of an image; metric measurement; decimal math]

Problem 47 Discovering the Milky Way by Counting Stars. - It is common to say that there are about 8,000 stars visible to the naked eye in both hemispheres of the sky, although from a typical urban setting, fewer than 500 stars are actually visible. Students will use data from a deep-integration image of a region of the sky in Hercules, observed by the 2MASS sky survey project to estimate the number of stars in the sky. This number is a lower-limit to the roughly 250 to 500 billion stars that may actually exist in the Milky Way. [Grade level: 4-6 | Topics: Tallying data; decimal math]

Problem 46 A Matter of Perspective. - Why can't we see aurora at lower latitudes on Earth? This problem will have students examine the geometry of perspective, and how the altitude of an aurora or other object, determines how far away you will be able to see it before it is below the local horizon. [Grade level: 9-11 | Topics: Geometric proofs]

Problem 42 Solar Storms in the News - Students will use a newspaper archive to explore how reporters have described the causes of aurora since the 1850's. They will see how some explanations were popular for a time, then faded into oblivion, as better scientific explanations were created. [Grade level: 6-10 | Topics: Online research; tallying data]

Problem 35 Exploring the Plasmasphere Students use an image of the plasmasphere obtained by the IMAGE satellite to calculate how fast it orbits the Earth. They will use this to determine whether gravity or Earth's magnetic field provides the forces responsible for its movement through space. [Grade: 7 - 9 | Topics: Geometry; ratios; decimal math; time arithmetic]

Problem 30 Exploring Earth's Magnetosphere [DOC] Students will examine a NASA website that discusses Earth's magnetosphere, and identify the definitions for key phenomena and parts to this physical system. They will write a short essay that describes, in their own words, how aurora are produced based on what they have read at the NASA site. [Grade: 6 - 8 | Topics: non-mathematical; reading to be informed; online research]

Problem 21 Exploring the Plasmasphere Students learn that the Pythagorean Theorem is more than a geometric concept. Scientists use a photograph taklen by the IMAGE satellite to measure the size of Earth's plasmasphere region using a ruler and protractor. [Grade: 7 - 9 | Topics: Finding the scale of an image; decimal math; measurement]

Problem 20 A Space Science Crossword Puzzle Students work with positive and negative numbers to solve a crossword puzzle. The theme is 'Scientists use math to explore Nature'. Good exercise for pre-algebra review of adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers. [Grade: 4 - 6 | Topics: Integer arithmetic; associative and distributive laws]

Problem 12 The Ring Current Students use the formula for a disk to calculate the mass of the ring current surrounding Earth. [Grade: 7 - 9 | Topics: Volume of a disk; scientific notation; mass = density x volume]

Problem 11 How high is an aurora Students use the properties of a triangle to determine how high up aurora are. They also learn about the parallax method for finding distances to remote objects. [Grade: 5 - 8 | Topics: Geometery; angle measure]

Problem 10 The Life Cycle of an Aurora Students examine two eye-witness descriptions of an aurora and identify the common elements so that they can extract a common pattern of changes. [Grade: 4 - 6 | Topics: Creating a timeline from narrative; ordering events by date and time]

Changes in the Earth and Sky

Problem 253: NASA 'Sees' Carbon Dioxide A satellite image of atmospheric carbon dioxide is used to estimate the geographic differences and identify human activity. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: interpreting a data image, unit conversion, gigatons ]

Problem 252: Carbon Dioxide Increases Students study the Keeling Curve to determine the rates of increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: graph analysis, slope, rates, unit conversion, parts-per-million, gigatons]

Problem 42 Solar Storms in the News - Students will use a newspaper archive to explore how reporters have described the causes of aurora since the 1850's. They will see how some explanations were popular for a time, then faded into oblivion, as better scientific explanations were created. [Grade level: 6-10 | Topics: Online research; tallying data]

Problem 39 Solar Storm Timeline How long does a solar storm last? How fast does it travel? Students will examine an event timeline for a space weather event and use time addition and subtraction skills to calculate storm durations and speeds. [Grade level: 7-9 | Topics: time math; decimal math; speed = distance/time]

Problem 29 The Wandering Magnetic North Pole Mapmakers have known for centuries that Earth's magnetic North Pole does not stay put. This activity will have students read a map and calculate the speed of the 'polar wander' from 300 AD to 2000 AD. They will use the map scale and a string to measure the distance traveled by the pole in a set period of time and calculate the wander speed in km/year. They will answer questions about this changing speed. [Grade: 6 - 8 | Topics: Interpreting graphical data; speed = distance/time]

Problem 26 Super-sized Sunspots and the Solar Cycle. Students compare the dates of the largest sunspots since 1900 with the year of the peak sunspot cycle. They check to see if superspots are more common after sunspot maximum or before. They also compare superspot sizes with the area of earth. [Grade: 6 - 8 | Topics: Interpreting tabular data; decimal math]

Problem 23 Solar Flares and Sunspot Sizes Students compare sunspot sizes to the frequency of solar flares and discover that there is no hard and fast rule that relates sunspot size to its ability to produce very large flares. [Grade: 6 - 8 | Topics: Interpreting tabular data; percentages; decimal math ]

Problem 7 Solar Flares, CME's and Aurora Some articles about the Northern Lights imply that solar flares cause them. Students will use data to construct a simple Venn Diagram, and answer an important question about whether solar flares cause CME's and Aurora. [Grade: 5 - 7 | Topics: Venn Diagramming]

Natural Hazards

Problem 316: Counting Craters on the Hubble Space Telescope Students count craters on a piece of the Wide Field Planetary Camera recovered from the Hubble Space Telescope in 2009. They determine the cratering rate and use this to predict how many impacts the solar panels on the International Space Station experiences each day. [Grade: 6-9 | Topics: Counting; Area; density]

Problem 179: Is There a Lunar Meteorite Impact Hazard? - Students work with areas, probability and impact rates to estimate whether lunar colonists are in danger of meteorite hazards. [Grade: 5-7| Topics: Area; unit conversions; rates]

Problem 185: The Space Station: Follow that graph!- Students use a plot of the orbit altitude of the ISS to pblackict its re-entry year after the peak of the next solar activity cycle. [Grade: 6-8| Topics: extrapolating a simple graph; estimation; forecasting]

Problem 179: Is There a Lunar Meteorite Impact Hazard? - Students work with areas, probability and impact rates to estimate whether lunar colonists are in danger of meteorite hazards. [Grade: 5-7| Topics: Area; unit conversions; rates]

Problem 100 The Sunspot Cycle - endings and beginnings - Students will examine a plot of the sunspot cycle and extract information from the plotted data about the previous sunspot cycle, and make predictions about the next one about to start in 2007. [Grade level: 6-9 | Topics:graph reading; extrapolation; time calculations]

Problem 95 A Study on Astronaut Radiation Dosages in SPace - Students will examine a graph of the astronaut radiation dosages for Space Shuttle flights, and estimate the total dosages for astronauts working on the International Space Station. [Grade level: 9-11 | Topics:Graph analysis, interpolation, unit conversion]

Problem 77 Some Puzzling Thoughts about Radiation! - Students fill-in the blanks in an essay on radiation risks using a word bank tied to solving quadratic equations to find the right words from a pair of possible 'solutions'. [Grade level: 8-10 | Topics: Finding the roots of a quadratic equation; solving for X ]

Problem 76 Radon Gas in the Basement - This problem introduces students to a common radiation problem in our homes. From a map of the United States provided by the US EPA, students convert radon gas risks into annual dosages. [Grade level: 6-8 | Topics: Unit conversion, arithmetic operations]

Problem 74 A Hot Time on Mars - The NASA Mars Radiation Environment (MARIE) experiment has created a map of the surface of mars, and measu black the ground-level radiation background that astronauts would be exposed to. This math problem lets students examine the total radiation dosage that these explorers would receive on a series of 1000 km journeys across the martian surface. The students will compare this dosage to typical background conditions on earth and in the International Space Station to get a sense of perspective [Grade level: 6-8 | Topics: decimals, unit conversion, graphing and analysis ]

Problem 68 An Introduction to Space Radiation - Read about your natural background radiation dosages, learn about Rems and Rads, and the difference between low-level dosages and high-level dosages. Students use basic math operations to calculate total dosages from dosage rates, and calculating cancer risks. [Grade level: 6-8 | Topics: Reading to be Informed; decimals, fractions, square-roots]

Problem 66 Background Radiation and Lifestyles - Living on Earth, you will be subjected to many different radiation environments. This problem follows one person through four different possible futures, and compares the cumulative lifetime dosages. [Grade level: 6-8 | Topics: fractions, decimals, unit conversions]

Problem 65 A Perspective on Radiation Dosages - Depending on the kind of career you chose, you will experience different lifetime radiation dosages. This problem compares the cumulative dosages for someone living on Earth, an astronaut career involving travel to the Space Station, and the lifetime dosage of someone traveling to Mars and back. [Grade level: 6-8 | Topics: decimals, unit conversions, graphing a timeline, finding areas under curves using rectangles]

Problem 42 Solar Storms in the News - Students will use a newspaper archive to explore how reporters have described the causes of aurora since the 1850's. They will see how some explanations were popular for a time, then faded into oblivion, as better scientific explanations were created. [Grade level: 6-10 | Topics: Online research; tallying data]

Problem 27 Satellite Failures and the Sunspot Cycle There are over 1500 working satellites orbiting Earth, representing an investment of 160 billion dollars. Every year, between 10 and 30 of these re-enter the atmosphere. In this problem, students compare the sunspot cycle with the record of satellites re-entering the atmosphere and determine if there is a correlation. They also investigate how pervasive satellite technology has become in their daily lives. [Grade: 6 - 8 | Topics: Graphing tabular data; decimal math]

Problem 26 Super-sized Sunspots and the Solar Cycle. Students compare the dates of the largest sunspots since 1900 with the year of the peak sunspot cycle. They check to see if superspots are more common after sunspot maximum or before. They also compare superspot sizes with the area of earth. [Grade: 6 - 8 | Topics: Interpreting tabular data; decimal math]

Problem 23 Solar Flares and Sunspot Sizes Students compare sunspot sizes to the frequency of solar flares and discover that there is no hard and fast rule that relates sunspot size to its ability to produce very large flares. [Grade: 6 - 8 | Topics: Interpreting tabular data; percentages; decimal math ]

Problem 7 Solar Flares, CME's and Aurora Some articles about the Northern Lights imply that solar flares cause them. Students will use data to construct a simple Venn Diagram, and answer an important question about whether solar flares cause CME's and Aurora. [Grade: 5 - 7 | Topics: Venn Diagramming]

Problem 3 Magnetic Storms II Students learn about the Kp index using a bar graph. They use the graph to answer simple questions about maxima and time. [Grade: 6 - 8 | Topics: Interpreting bar graphs; time calculations]

Problem 1 Magnetic Storms I Students learn about magnetic storms using real data in the form of a line graph. They answer simple questions about data range, maximum, and minimum. [Grade: 7 - 9 | Topics: Interpreting a graph; time calculations]

Science and Technology in Society

Problem 235: Scientific Data: The gift that keeps on giving! Students learn about gigabytes and terrabytes of data and the rates of data generation by NASA missions and how to store it. [Grade: 6-8 | Topics: metric units; rates; money]

Problem 211: Where Did All the Stars Go?- Students learn why NASA photos often don't show stars because of the way that cameras take pictures of bright and faint objects. [Grade: 6-8| Topics: multiplication; division; decimal numbers.]

Problem 209: How to make faint things stand out in a bright world!- Students learn that adding images together often enhances faint things not seen in only one image; the power of averaging data. [Grade: 6-8| Topics: multiplication; division; decimal numbers.]

Problem 207: The STEREO Mission: getting the message across- Students learn about how the transmission of data is affected by how far away a satellite is for the two satellites in the STEREO constellation. [Grade: 6-8| Topics: multiplication; division; decimal numbers.]

Problem 206: Can You Hear me now? - Students learn about how the transmission of data is affected by how far away a satellite is, for a variety of spacecraft in the solar system [Grade: 6-8| Topics: multiplication; division; decimal numbers.]

Problem 113 NASA Juggles Four Satellites at Once! Students will learn about NASA's Magnetospheric Multi-Scale (MMS) satellite mission, and how it will use four satellites flying in formation to investigate the mysterious process called Magnetic Reconnection that causes changes in Earth's magnetic field. These changes lead to the production of the Northern and Southern Lights and other phenomena. From the volume formula for a tetrahedron, they will calculate the volume of several satellite configurations and estimate the magnetic energy and travel times for the particles being studied by MMS. [Grade: 8-10 | Topics: Formulas with two variables; scientific notation]

Problem 108 A Problem in Satellite Synchrony The THEMIS program uses five satellites in five different orbits to study Earth's magnetic field and its changes during a storm. This problem asks students to use the periods of the five satellites to figure out when all 5 satellites will be lined-up as seen from Earth. They will do this by finding the Greatest Common Multiple of the five orbit periods, first for the case of 2 or 3 satellites, which can be easily diagrammed with concentric circles, then the case for all five satellites together. [Grade: 5-9 | Topics:multiplication; Greatest Common Multiple]

Problem 100 The Sunspot Cycle - endings and beginnings - Students will examine a plot of the sunspot cycle and extract information from the plotted data about the previous sunspot cycle, and make predictions about the next one about to start in 2007. [Grade level: 6-9 | Topics:graph reading; extrapolation; time calculations]

Problem 96 Hinode Satellite Power - Students will study the design of the Hinode solar satellite and calculate how much power it can generate from its solar panels. [Grade level: 6-8 | Topics:area of rectangle,area of cylinder, unit conversion]

Problem 80 Data Corruption by High Energy Particles - Students will see how solar flares can corrupt satellite data, and create a timeline for a spectacular episode of data loss recorded by the SOHO satellite using images obtained by the satellite. Students will also calculate the speed of the event as particles are ejected from the sun and streak towards earth. [Grade level: 6-8 | Topics: Time and speed calculations; interpreting scientific data ]

Problem 79 Correcting Bad Data Using Partity Bits - Students will see how computer data is protected from damage by radiation 'glitches' using a simple error-detection method involving the parity bit. They will reconstruct an uncorrupted sequence of data by checking the '8th bit' to see if the transmitted data word has been corrupted. By comparing copies of the data sent at different times, they will reconstruct the uncorrupted data. [Grade level: 4-6 | Topics: addition, subtraction, comparing the numbers 1 and 0 ]

Problem 41 Solar Energy in Space Students will calculate the area of a satellite's surface being used for solar cells from an actual photo of the IMAGE satellite. They will calculate the electrical power provided by this one panel. Students will have to calculate the area of an irregular region using nested rectangles. [Grade level: 7-10 | Topics: Area of an irregular polygon; decimal math]

Problem 38 Solar Eclipses and Satellite Power From the ground we see total solar eclipses where the New Moon passes directly between Earth and Sun. Satellites use solar cells to generate electricity, but this is only possible when the Earth is not 'eclipsing' the sun. Students will create a scaled drawing of the orbits of three satellites around Earth, and calculate how long each satellite will be in the shadow of Earth. They will be asked to figure out how to keep the satellites operating even without sunlight to power their solar panels. [Grade: 5 - 8 | Topics: Geometry; decimal math]

Problem 16 Solar Power and Satellite Design Students perform simple surface area calculations to determine how much solar power a satellite can generate, compared to the satellite's needs. [Grade: 6 - 8 | Topics: Area of irregular polygons]

Problem 2 Satellite Surface Area Students calculate the surface area of an octagonal cylinder and calculate the power it would yield from solar cells covering its surface. [Grade: 7 - 9 | Topics: surface areas; hexagone; decimal math]

- NASA Official: Dr. James Thieman
- Author: Dr. Sten Odenwald
- Last Updated: Thursday, 31-Dec-2009 06:58:43 EST