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Exploring the Moon through - lunar.gsfc. - nasa moon pictures with buildings

Exploring the Moon through - lunar.gsfc.-nasa moon pictures with buildings

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter:
Audience Exploring the Moon through
Grades 6-8 Image Analysis
Time Recommended
1-2 hours
AAAS STANDARDS Learning Objectives:
? 1B/1: Scientific investigations usually involve the col- ? Students will classify lunar features based on their characteristics.
lection of relevant evidence, the use of logical reasoning, ? Students will use the scale of a lunar image to determine the actual size of
and the application of imagination in devising hypoth- certain features.
eses and explanations to make sense of the collected
evidence. ? Students will explain how a 2D image can provide information about the
? 3A/M2: Technology is essential to science for such surface of the Moon.
purposes as access to outer space and other remote
locations, sample collection and treatment, measurement, Students will explore what they can learn from lunar images taken by a cam-
data collection and storage, computation, and communi- era on the LRO spacecraft (LROC) and how these images can help to select a
cation of information.
future landing site.
Content Standard A (5-8): Abilities necessary to do scien-
tific inquiry:
c. Use appropriate tools to gather, analyze and inter- Preparation:
pret data. Make sure to have all the materials ready, prior to the lesson.
d. Develop descriptions and explanations using
e. Think critically and logically to make relationships Background Information:
between evidence and explanations For more background information on the LRO spacecraft mission:
Content Standard E (5-8): Science and Technology: http://lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov.
c. Technology is essential to science, because it
provides instruments and techniques that enable Additionally, please see the LROC instrument website:
observations of objects and phenomena that
are otherwise unobservable due to factors such http://lroc.sese.asu.edu.
as quantity, distance, location, size, and speed.
Technology also provides tools for investigations,
inquiry, and analysis. Procedure:
? Image of the near side of the Moon 1. Ask students to share their ideas about what they would expect to see in
? Class example transparency of specific location on the images of the Moon that might help them determine whether or not the
Moon (Moscoviense Region) area would make a good landing site.
? Images of specific locations on the Moon for student 2. Show the transparency of the near side of the Moon. Ask students to de-
? Transparencies of specific locations on the Moon (three scribe the surface. Do they see any areas that look like safe landing sites?
different regions, wide-angle and close up images of Can they see enough to make a decision about where to land? Note:
each region) students should recognize that we would need to look at more detailed
? Image Analysis worksheets (one per student) images to make decisions about where we should land.
? Image Analysis Transparency (class example) 3. Explain to the students they will be working in groups to evaluate a pos-
? Rulers sible landing site by investigating some of the features of specific sites on
? Calculator the surface of the Moon.
? Chart paper or blackboard/ whiteboard for recording
student responses 4. Introduce the mission of LROC (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera).
Explain that LROC is one instrument on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
(LRO). It is taking very high-resolution images of the Moon so that we can
learn more about the lunar surface. Teachers, if you would like more back-
ground information on LROC check out http://lroc.sese.asu.edu.
Ask students how this spacecraft will help NASA? Explain to students they will be working with real images from the
LROC instrument on-board the LRO spacecraft.
5. Display the Moscoviense Region #1 image (wide-angle) as a class sample (a transparency is recommended). Locate
feature A. Record its coordinates, measure the image in centimeters, observe the scale, calculate the actual size, and
describe the feature demonstrating the process for each task. Locate feature B on the other Moscoviense Region #2 im-
age (close up). Record its coordinates, measure the image in centimeters, observe the scale, calculate the actual size in
kilometers, and describe the feature demonstrating the process for each task. Point out to students that the different
images use different scales for distance. It is important that we pay attention to the scale for the image we
are working with.
6. Distribute the Image Analysis worksheet.
7. Describe and demonstrate the work of the following jobs using the projected image:
a. Map technician (determine location and size of feature)
b. Observer (describes the feature in their own words)
c. Mathematician (calculate size of the feature based on the scale)
d. Recorder (records the responses from the other group members)
8. Divide students into groups of four, designating a particular role above (if it is not possible to have four per group, roles
noted above can be combined as needed and completed by one student).
9. Groups will gather information about the four, labeled features on their Moon image, as well as five features of their choos-
ing. Have students label the additional features with letters (E-I) directly below the feature they choose. Once data has
been collected on each of the nine features, the whole group will work together to classify the objects based on their size
(small, medium, large) and define each category.
Note: the feature "A" on both images of each region is the same feature but at a different resolution (one is
wide-angle, the other a close up). Be sure NOT to reveal this to students at this point, as they will discover
this later on.
10. Give each group of students one of the six images. Please note that you may need to give the same image to more than
one group. Note that different groups will look at different site regions at different resolutions (wide-angle/close-up).
11. Students should work as a team for 15-20 minutes to identify features in their image and record information/ complete the
Image Analysis worksheet.
12. Put up Moscoviense Region transparencies (#1 wide-angle and #2 close-up) for a class example. Point out that both
images are of the same site region but with a different resolution. The close up image includes much more detail about a
smaller area. Teacher can now reveal that feature "A" is the same in both images. Note: in the Moscoviense Re-
gion # 2 image, "A" refers to the brighter half circle on the left side of the image that fills more than half of the image area.
13. Put up Humboldtianum Region transparencies (#1 wide-angle and #2 close-up).
14. Have the groups who worked with the Humboldtianum Region (both images #1 and #2) share their classification system
(what constitutes small, medium and large) and then point out one feature in each class. The teacher should record infor-
mation about which features the Image #1 (wide angle) group and Image #2 (close-up) group defined as small, medium,
and large in a chart on butcher paper, blackboard or whiteboard.
15. Repeat this comparison for the Goddard Region and Reiner Region transparencies.
16. Look at the recorded information about what constitutes small, medium, and large for each region and particular resolu-
tion. Lead a discussion on the similarities and differences within and between resolution type and region.
17. Ask the students to reflect on how each of these images can play a role in selecting a future lunar landing site. What infor-
mation do the images provide? What are they lacking? Share with students that when Apollo 11 astronauts were landing
on the Moon, a site had been selected that appeared to be smooth and appropriate for landing. Interestingly, as they ap-
proached the site, they found the area was covered in boulders that would make it impossible to land. The boulders were
not visible on the lunar maps available at the time. Astronaut Neil Armstrong was forced to steer the spacecraft to avoid
the boulders.
(Optional video resource: interview clips with astronaut Buzz Aldrin about the experience:
LROC images help us create a more detailed map of the Moon so we can avoid these difficulties.
18. Return to the initial question of how these lunar images help us to understand various scientific understandings related to
the surface of the Moon.

What are the dark areas of the Moon made of? The dark areas of the Moon’s surface, called the lunar maria, are composed of solidified lava flows. Scien- tists know this from photographs that show the margins of individual lava flows and from examina- tion of rocks returned from the maria.