Classroom Activity

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Key Topic: Correlation coefficients, weighted averages, lease squares

When astronauts perform spacewalks, it is important to understand how long the life support system in the spacesuit will function properly. Life support variables such as the amount of oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide produced by an astronaut are dependent on his/her metabolic rate. In this activity, students will analyze the data collected from a NASA experiment performed to develop a model that predicts metabolic rates of astronauts. Students will use different approaches to estimate the metabolic rates and compare their estimates to NASA’s estimates.

Students will
  • visually estimate correlation;
  • adjust weights in a weighted average to visually determine a curve of best fit for estimating metabolic rates;
  • find the sum of the squares of the differences between student estimates and NASA estimates of metabolic rates; and
  • use the sums of squares to determine which students’ estimates are closest to NASA’s estimates.

Note: This particular activity requires the use of TI-Nspire™ technology to be used successfully.

Files for use with the TI-Nspire
› Predicting Metabolic Rates of Astronauts Educator Edition (PDF 1025 KB)
› Predicting Metabolic Rates of Astronauts Student Edition (PDF 171 KB)
Note: The following files are software specific files for Texas Instrument Nspire calculators.
› Predicting Metabolic Rates of Astronauts TI-Nspire Document (TNS 147 KB)
› Predicting Metabolic Rates of Astronauts TI-Nspire Document w/ Solutions (TNS 155 KB)

Related Resources
› VIDEO: The Future of Human Space Exploration