


Mathematics Skill or Topic Area: Probability and Predictions 

Next Gen Science Standards: PS4: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer; LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes; ETS 1: Engineering Design 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.G.1 Solve problems involving scale drawings of geometric figures, including computing actual lengths from a scale drawing. 

Video Engagement: Kepler Join NASA on the Kepler Mission as this traveling telescope images the light from faraway stars to locate Earthsized and smaller planets. Using the transit method, the Kepler telescope measures the brightness of a star and uses the data to predict habitable zones (5 minutes). View Program 


Explore math connections with SpaceMath@NASA 

Problem I  Earthlike Planets by the Score!   Students use recent Kepler satellite data to estimate the number of Earthlike planets in the Milky Way galaxy. Topics include calculating percentage and probability, creating a histogram, and rescaling sample sizes. [Open PDF] Problem II  The Goldilocks Planets  Not too Hot or Cold  Students use a table of the planets discovered by the Kepler satellite, and estimate the number of planets in our Milky Way galaxy that are about the same size as Earth and located in their Habitable Zones. They estimate the average temperature of the planets, and study their tabulated properties using histograms. Topics include averaging, probability and creating histograms. [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 determing probabilities from the data. Explain why you set the problem up this way, and how you might find its answer. Evaluate your understanding: Challenge Problem  Suppose that planets are distributed around their stars so that the number of planets is proportional to the surface area of the circular disk centered on the star. If the radius of the disk is 1 billion kilometers, at what radius will 50% of the planets be inside this distance and 50% outside? Explain how you arrived at this answer. Answer: The total area of the disk is just the area of a circle with a radius of 1 billion kilometers. We want to find the radius for which the area is exactly 1/2 the total area. This will occur for a radius of 700 million kilometers.


NASA / JPL 3D Solar System 

Extend your new knowledge  Use the Eyes on the Solar System simulator to study how planets and their moons are distributed in our solar system, as a clue to how planets orbiting other stars might be distributed. [ Open PDF ] 
