37. SPIN OFFS FROM SPACE

SUBJECT: Science
GRADE: 7,8,9
GROUP SIZE: small
TIME: Several Days
TYPE OF ACTIVITY: Student Investigation
TEACHING STRATEGY: Open Discovery Guided Discovery
CONCEPTS: Spinoff Technology Research Benefits
SKILLS: Research Hypothesizing Inference

Objective: to help students understand the “Spinoff” benefits of the space program for those of us on Earth.

spinoffs from space illustration

Materials: Various books, pamphlets web sites on “spin offs” from the space program.

Procedure: 1. Ask your students to think of the things we now have because of the space program. Write the responses on the board and have someone keep a written record of them. (Most of the initial responses will quite likely be about the Space Shuttle, missiles or rockets, etc., and there will surely be a number of benefits the class will be unaware of.

2. When they have finished, explain that there are numerous benefits from the exploration of space and they can be broken into some basic categories:
a. Communication Satellites
b. Weather Satellites
c. Landsat
d. Oceanic Observers
e. Defense
f. Medical
g. Other Technological Benefits (like freeze-dried food, alternative energy sources, computers, fabrics, metal processing, etc.)

3. Break the class into seven groups and have them research the benefits of space with a focus on their specific area of concern.

4. Have the students spend some time searching for information and collecting their data. Encourage students to visit NASA sites for information on the benefits of the space program.

5. After gathering their data, have the students compile the information in a booklet with illustrations of some of the benefits they have found.

6. Bring the class together for a discussion and sharing of the booklets. Prior to class, write the original list of benefits the students had thought of on the board and then have each group present their booklet to the rest of the group. As benefits are presented, have someone write on the board those that were not brought up in the original discussion and compare the two lists.

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