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Module 1
Dividing Multi-Digit Whole Numbers

Aura: Studying the Earth from Space

Objectives: Students will learn about satellites that gather data about Earth systems through reading a NASA press release and viewing a NASA eClips video segment. Then students will practice dividing multi-digit numbers using satellite data related to the Earth’s ozone layer.

Mathematics Skill or Topic Area:

Dividing Multi-Digit Whole Numbers

Next Gen Science Standards: ESS1: Earth’s Place in the Universe; ETS2: Links Among Engineering, Technology, Science, and Society

Common Core ELA for Science: RST.6-8.2. Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions. RST.6-8.8. Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text. RST.6-8.9. 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.6.NS.2: Fluently divide multi-digit numbers using the standard algorithm.

Video Engagement: The A-Train - AURA The A-Train consists of five satellites orbiting Earth that use the latest NASA technology to study the Earth's system. This segment introduces Aura, one of the satellites that studies Earth's ozone layer (4 minutes). View Program

Engage your students with a press release:

NASA Leads Study of Unprecedented Arctic Ozone Loss

A NASA-led study has documented an unprecedented depletion of Earth's protective ozone layer above the Arctic last winter and spring caused by an unusually prolonged period of extremely low temperatures in the stratosphere.

The study finds the amount of ozone destroyed in the Arctic in 2011 was comparable to that seen in some years in the Antarctic, where an ozone "hole" has formed each spring since the mid-1980s. The stratospheric ozone layer, extending from about 10 to 20 miles (15 to 35 kilometers) above the surface, protects life on Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.

The Antarctic ozone hole forms when extremely cold conditions, common in the winter Antarctic stratosphere, trigger reactions that convert atmospheric chlorine from human-produced chemicals into forms that destroy ozone. The same ozone-loss processes occur each winter in the Arctic. However, the generally warmer stratospheric conditions there limit the area affected and the time frame during which the chemical reactions occur, resulting in far less ozone loss in most years in the Arctic than in the Antarctic.

To investigate the 2011 Arctic ozone loss, scientists from 19 institutions in nine countries analyzed daily global observations of trace gases and clouds from NASA's Aura and CALIPSO spacecraft. The scientists found that at some altitudes, the cold period in the Arctic lasted more than 30 days longer in 2011 than in any previously studied Arctic winter, leading to the ozone loss.

"Day-to-day temperatures in the 2010-11 Arctic winter did not reach lower values than in previous cold Arctic winters," said lead author Gloria Manney of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "The difference from previous winters is that temperatures were low enough to produce ozone-destroying forms of chlorine for a much longer time. This implies that if winter Arctic stratospheric temperatures drop just slightly in the future, for example as a result of climate change, then severe Arctic ozone loss may occur more frequently."

The 2011 Arctic ozone loss occurred over an area of about 17 million square kilometers; an area considerably smaller than that of the Antarctic ozone holes. Decreases in overhead ozone lead to increases in surface ultraviolet radiation, which are known to have adverse effects on humans and other life forms.

Press release date line - October 4, 2011

Press release location: [ Click Here ]

Explore math connections with


Problem I - Aura Produces a Lot of Data Every Day! - The Aura satellite is designed to study the composition of Earth's atmosphere, and produces 31,755 DVDs-worth of data every year. How much data does it produce in one day? [Answer: 31755 DVDs/365days = 87 DVDs each day!]

Problem II - The Orbit of Aura Around Earth. - The Aura satellite orbits Earth 360 orbits in 25 days. How many orbits does it complete in one day? [Answer: 360 orbits/25 days = 14.4 orbits each day therefore it completes 14 orbits in one day!]

Problem III - An Ozone Hole in the Arctic Region. - Ozone is a molecule that forms high up in Earth's atmosphere and blocks harmful ultraviolet light from reaching the ground. In 2011, the Aura spacecraft detected 17,052,000 tons of ozone destroyed over the Arctic Region during a 1-week period of time. How much ozone was lost in a single hour during this one week? [Answer: There are 24 hours x 7 days = 168 hours in a week, then 17052000 tons/168 hours= 101,500 tons of ozone were destroyed each hour.]

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 - Since its launch in 2004, the Aura satellite has been returning data to scientists as it orbits Earth about 14 times each day. The data library that has been set aside for AURA can only accommodate 450,000 DVDs-worth of data. In what year will the scientists have to replace the current archive with one that has a higher capacity if the Aura satellite keeps operating?

Answer: Aura produces 31,755 DVDs each year, so the archive can store the data for about 450,000 DVDs/(31755 DVDs per year) = 14 years. Since it was launched in 2004, Aura will reach its capacity limit in the year 2004 + 14 = 2018.



3-D Solar System

Extend your new knowledge - Visit the Aura spacecraft using the EOSS simulator and explore how Aura orbits Earth. [ Open PDF ]