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Spotlight from Space: Taking Earth’s Temperature

Elementary, Middle, Secondary

Description

In this two part lesson plan, the students will explore the use of satellites to record changes in the Earth's temperature, gain an understanding of the changes that have occurred in this temperature over the last 20 years and build their own satellite.

Part 1: After an opening discussion of their knowledge of satellites, the students will be lead through a powerpoint presentation of the use of satellites and watch a video of how satellites work.  A check for understanding will be completed with a word wall activity of filling in a circular chart and then the students will reflect on their learning by answering the question," What did we learn today?"

Part 2: After a recap of their learning from the previous lesson, the students will build their own satellite following instructions provided on a handout or through visuals in a powerpoint.  The students will then visit a NASA website to see the differences in temperatures over the last twenty years.  The students will pick their birthdate and colour in a world map to showcase different temperatures. As an extension activity, the students can then compare the Earth's temperature from three different years and create a bar graph to illustrate the changes. After a discussion of the trends noted, the students will pledge to take a personal action towards halting global temperature increases.

Supporting powerpoint for Spotlight from Space

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource does not explicitly teach skills.  Its goal is to create an awareness and understanding of the concepts of satellites and the changes in the Earth's temperature.

Strengths

  • All resources and materials are provided
  • Interesting topic and activities that will highly engage the students
  • All internet links are up-to-date
  • A rubric is provided for teacher and student assessment

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This lesson plan fits well into a unit on weather leading to a discussion of climate change. The hands-on activity of building a satellite will appeal to most students regardless of age.

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Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

The personal action at the end of the lesson to halt global temperature increases can be considered an informed position of the fight against climate change.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

Through classroom discussions students can address the different dimensions of the issue.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

The questions guiding the students have them reflect why temperature changes over time and how humans impact climate change.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Very Good

The final activity is for the students to take a personal pledge of an action against the increase in global temperatures and reflect on how they can help to take action for Global Goal 13 Climate Action.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

The pledge of an action against the increases in global temperatures offers the students an opportunity to express their values.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

This resource does not have this as a focus.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Satisfactory

The activities have students reflect on reasons humans impact Earth's temperature.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Science
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory

Students explore how satellites work and what they tell us about our world.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good

There are no strategies for learners who may experience difficulties.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good

Students build their own satellites.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Very Good

Included in the resources is a rubric for teacher and student formative assessment of learning.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good

The NASA website that the students visit can be considered a real life case study of the observable changes that a satellite can provide.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.