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DRAFT: Math and Space Exploration

Task 1: Find an article, opinion piece, or blog post about the controversy surrounding funding for space exploration and briefly summarize it here. What are the different sides saying? Do you think including space exploration in math and science classes can have an effect on public opinion about the importance of curiosity driven science?  

Task 2: Find an example of space organizations/individuals using social media to connect with the public in an educational and kid-friendly way and link to it here. For example, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is currently the commander on the International Space Station and he frequently tweets from space to answer questions or share space facts. You can find a list of NASA’s social media connections on their website, but feel free to use another organization or individual related to space exploration. Do you think there is value in having students participate in these exchanges? How could you use these social media connections in your classroom to enhance learning?

Task 3: Choose a math topic and describe how you could incorporate some aspect of space exploration to teach this concept. To get started you can explore NASA’s education resources or Space Math page, but feel free to look into other space organizations to find something that fits your interests.

*I am still trying to flesh out the third task and add a question or two, but I wanted to get my draft posted. I welcome any and all suggestions!

Task Discussion

  • Lisa Ritt   April 3, 2013, 7:19 p.m.

    HI Katherine,

    I apologize for how late this is. NASA is an amazing place. I live in Houston for 3 years and, as you can imagine, the LOVE of the study of Space there is really ALIVE. The way you describe research  on curiosity is so valuable for students to feel exctied about a subject they have interest in. Thinking about people like JFK and Bill Gates and Steve they would create a goal with their engineers, scientist and mathemeticians, I love this topic. I think it has great value for students undertanding that while some folks may think the UNKNOWN is not worth knowing, where would future wisdom and growth come from. Such an important thing to instill in our students and help them EMBRACE and work on developng their ideas!

    I think finding how math problems relating to space exploration and creating word problems on this would be fun!

  • SueSullivan   March 27, 2013, 9:33 p.m.

    Katherine - Great ideas, especially Task 3.  So many of us take tech for granted, and space is no exception.  For example, many people know that a lot of tech relies upon satellites, but relatively few know about the physics involved in a successful launch.  Definitely something students should know, thanks for calling it to our attention!

  • Gina Mulranen   March 25, 2013, 12:01 p.m.

    This is SUCH an interesting and hot topic and I am really looking forward to the opportunity to research how to incorporate it into the math classroom. I was not aware of all the resources that is already available for teachers to use! How cool is it that astronaunts tweet?!

    I really think that you should emphasize the use of technology when creating the lesson for Task 3 to teach students about space exploration. Also, do you want a lesson plan with objectives and a list of activities for a 45-minute class or are you just looking for us to identify a math concept and explain how to incorporate space exploration? You can also incorporate the assignments from previous weeks into Task 3 by asking us to use a piece of technology we have learned so far in this course and apply it to the lesson and explain why that use of technology helps to teach the lesson. Just some ideas for you! I am excited to explore this topic in your assignment!

  • Maria Droujkova   March 24, 2013, 6:51 p.m.

    I would add some tech question to your third task. Your second task is about social media, so maybe the third can be about modeling, computer games, or other aspects of technology?

    Looking forward to these tasks, as well. What with news about NASA outreach funding nixed...

  • MgnLeas   March 24, 2013, 12:58 p.m.

    This is the week I am looking forward to the most! Your first task is a great way to think about space in the classroom (other than astronomy classes). I like that you have included social media into the task. So many students have access.  It makes the topic more relevant to their lives.

    I think task 3 is good. It is not too focused so it allows us a little more freedom to explore and be creative.