Lesson PlansBack to lesson plans archive September 12, 2013
Voyager becomes first spacecraft to enter interstellar space – Lesson Plan
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
Summer academy helps refugee children prepare for life in the U.S.
A program that helps refugee children from 29 countries acclimate to life in the United States met again this summer in New York City. Continue readingasylumNew York CityrefugeeSocial Studies
Take the Political Party Quiz to find out where you fit!
Ever wondered where you fit on the political spectrum? Take this quiz to find out! Continue readingElection 2016political partyPoliticsquiz
Lionfish-zapping robot offers solution to invasive species
Invasive lionfish have devastating effects on native species and ecosystems in the Western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, but robotic technology offers a new way to stem their spread. Continue readingenvironmentinvasive specieslionfishScience
Celebrate 100 years of National Parks with these PBS NewsHour stories
For the U.S. National Park Service centennial, use these NewsHour Extra classroom resources to teach students about the importance of conservation.conservationnational parksNational Parks Servicenature
Jill Stein and the role of third party candidates in presidential elections
The third party candidate Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party says she remains the only candidate in the presidential race who is not corrupted by lobbyists’ money, corporate money or super PACs. Continue readingAl GoreBernie SandersCivicsDemocratic PartyDonald TrumpGeorge W. Bushgreen energyGreen PartyHillary ClintonJill SteinpollingPollsRalph NaderRepublican PartySocial Studiesthird partiesThird-Party