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Lesson Title: Space Weather
May 11, 2012

Unit: Physical Science - Properties of Matter

Grade Levels: 4-6

Connection To Curriculum: Science and Mathematics

Teacher Prep Time: 4 hours

Lesson Time Needed: 2–3 days

Complexity Advanced

Keywords: adiation, hidden, exposure, magnetometer, magnetic fields, magnetic storms, solar storms, solar eruptions



This lesson explores the origins, processes and risks associated with solar radiation including how it travels through the solar system, affects the Earth's magnetosphere and poses a threat to astronauts and spacecraft.

Students will:
• Gather information about items that they cannot see using limited senses.
• Explain why protecting people and astronauts from radiation is important.
• Investigate how solar storms occur and predict which ones will affect Earth.
• Describe how solar activity can be used in spaceflight mission planning.
• Construct a multimedia space weather report.

First page of Space Weather

Lesson Guide
Space Weather Lesson
[128KB PDF file]



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Lesson Activities and Sequence

  1. What's Hidden Inside?
    Students are challenged to gather information about items they cannot see.
    Keywords: space, weather, radiation, hidden, exposure

  2. Radiation Exposure on Earth
    Students look at different sources of radiation and calculate their exposure levels.
    Keywords: radiation, space weather, exposure rates, Earth

  3. Build a Magnetometer
    Students build a magnetometer using a soda bottle and a bar magnet to understand how to monitor and study magnetic fields and storms.
    Keywords: magnetometer, space weather, magnetic fields, magnetic storms

  4. Space Weather Action Center
    Students monitor the progress of an entire solar storm from the time it erupts from our sun until it sweeps past our small planet effecting enormous changes in our magnetic field.
    Keywords: solar storms, solar eruptions, magnetic field, multimedia presenting, newcast

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Understanding of scientific concepts.
• An appreciation of "how we know" what we know in science.
• Understanding of the nature of science.
• Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.
• The dispositions to use the skills, abilities and attitudes associated with science.

Physical Science
• Properties of objects and materials.
• Light, heat, electricity and magnetism.

Earth and Space Science
• Objects in the sky.

Science and Technology
• Abilities of technological design.
• Understanding science and technology.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, NCTM
Measurement and data
• Represent and interpret data.


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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator