Lesson PlansBack to lesson plans archive September 12, 2013
Lesson Plan: Voyager Becomes First Spacecraft to Enter Interstellar Space
by Katie Gould, Teacher Resource Producer for NewsHour Extra
Middle and High School
Warm Up Activity
How far is the moon from the earth?
- Pose this question to students- How far away is the moon from the earth?- and give them four answers to choose from (write answers on the board):
- 73,870 miles
- 157,550 miles
- 238,900 miles
- 370,250 miles
- Go through each answer and ask students to vote (by raising their hand) for the answer they think is correct.
- Once everyone has voted, tell them the correct answer is “C”. To help the students understand the distance better show them the video clip How far away is the moon from the earth.
- Pass out the “Earth to Moon Scale” handout and let students solve the problems in pairs.
- Go over the answers and explain how to arrive at the correct answer (see answer key).
- Now show students the “Scale of the Universe” infographic and explore it as either a class together or, if computers are available, on their own.
- Now that students have an appreciation for the scale of the universe and a firm grounding in how far away the moon is, introduce them to the Voyager 1 Spacecraft by showing this video clip ScienceCasts: Voyager 1 at the Final Frontier.
- Now have students read the article “Voyager Spacecraft Reaches Interstellar Space”
- Help students looking for more depth on the topic understand the “how it works” by sharing this helpful Voyager resource
- End the activity with a video from Neil deGrasse Tyson that examines how we, as humans, are related to the larger universe in “The Most Astounding Fact”.
Special thanks to Rebecca Jacobson for her help on this lesson.
The Materials You Need
Tooltip of materials
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Tooltip of RSS content 3
March is Women’s History Month, where we highlight and celebrate the accomplishments of women who…Social IssuesWomen's History Month
In March 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the island nation of Japan, causing a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Three years later, experts are trying to assess how recovery efforts in the nuclear-affected area are progressing. Continue readingScienceWorld
By Katie Gould, PBS NewsHour Extra Teacher Resource Producer and Elizabeth Jones, PBS NewsHour Production…historySocial IssueswomenWomen's History Month
The State Department released its annual human rights report last week and concluded that last summer’s chemical weapons attack in Syria, which killed more than 1,400 people, was the worst human rights violation of 2013. Continue readingWorld
By Katie Gould, PBS NewsHour Extra Teacher Resource Producer Introduction Each year the festival of…arthistoryMardi Grasmuseums