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Lesson Title: The Sky Is Falling
May 11, 2012

Unit: Earth and Space Science - Earth Moon System

Grade Levels: 7-9

Connection To Curriculum: Earth Science, Astronomy and Geology

Teacher Prep Time: 2 hours

Complexity Moderate

Keywords: meteorite, impact, geography, scientific process, measurement, volume, angle, velocity, rays, scatter pattern, meteor, topography


Images of impact craters from Cosmic Secrets
Small rock flakes to be inserted into the balloons filled with water
Materials for Activity A "Follow the Falling Meteorite": blindfold, noisemaker and yarn
Computers with Internet Access

This lesson combines a series of activities to provide students with an understanding of how meteorites can unlock answers to the early history of the solar system and how meteorites and their big brother, asteroids, have played a role in shaping planetary surfaces.

Students will:
• Determine the origin of meteorites, what they are composed of, where they have impacted Earth and their association to early Earth's history.
• Investigate a simulated meteorite debris field.

First page of The Sky Is Falling

Lesson Guide
The Sky Is Falling Lesson
[77KB PDF file]



Professional Development Training Module for This Lesson

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› Searching for Meteorites Training Module  →
Note: Module may take a few minutes to load.
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Lesson Activities and Sequence

  1. Searching for Meteorites
    Small balloons are inserted with an assortment of small fragments of rock chips of different colors and then filled with water. Students drop the water-filled balloons and observe and record the debris field pattern of the impact by observing the scattered rock chips where the balloons broke.
    Keywords: impact, geography, scientific process, measurement, volume, angle, velocity, rays, scatter pattern, meteor

  2. Finding Impact Craters
    Images are provided to students of land formation to determine possible evidence of where impact craters were formed. Students also are provided resources within the website to draw conclusions on what would happen in the event if an asteroid struck Earth.
    Keywords: Earth, topography, atmosphere, satellite technology, scientific process, satellite images, impact craters, extraterrestial objects, meteorite, teamwork, data analysis, velocity, kinetic energy, latitude, longitude, geography

  3. Space Rocks! A Meteorite Game
    Students listen to an online Native American tale followed by a board game activity; the activity reinforces understanding of the origins of meteors, meteoroids and meteorites, as well as their characteristics and importance, while tackling some common misconceptions.
    Keywords: game, meteorite, meteoroid, meteors, origin, atmosphere, asteroid, orbit, composition of meteor, Comet Leonids, Perseids, meteor shower

  4. Follow the Falling Meteorite
    Apply geometric properties and triangulation to determine the location where a meteorite fell.
    Keywords: meteorite, impact, geography, meteorite hunting, geometry, triangulation, directional terms, measurement, protractor, estimation, approximation, calculation of height, tangent angle, speed

  5. Lava Layering
    Simulate repeated volcanic eruptions and how they build a terrain.
    Keywords: maria, basaltic lava, volcano, lava, eruption, geology, stratigraphy, channels, levees, lava layering

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Earth and Space Science
• Earth in the solar system.
• Origin and evolution of the earth system.
• Origin and evolution of the universe.

National Geography Standards, NCGE
The Uses of Geography
• How to apply geography to interpret the past.
• How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future.

ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Technology Operations and Concepts
• Understand and use technology systems.
• Select and use applications effectively and productively.
• Transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies.


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