Students will observe/investigate the movement of water through the different stages of the water cycle and determine what drives this cycle. Students are asked to think about what precipitation is then watch a video about why the water cycle is important. They observe a simple version of the water cycle and take some notes. Students are asked what stages require solar radiation, which require water to give off heat, and which are driven by the force of gravity. The teacher does several different demonstrations while students fill in a sheet that has the students recording their observations of different processes in the water cycle and how energy is involved. Students build their understanding of the water cycle through the different models that are shown or experienced. The culminating activity has them create their own model of the water cycle from the viewpoint of a water molecule including the processes, the energy involved, and gravity.
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Part 1 of the X-ray Spectroscopy Unit from NASAs Imagine the Universe! lesson plans includes a series of three lessons on the formation of elements in stars. During this three lesson series, students learn about the life cycle of stars and model the formation of elements in stars. The lessons are a demonstration of type so fusion reactions and modeling not just the changes to matter during the processes but also the energy involved in these reactions.
This interactive tool allows students to gather data using My NASA Data microsets to investigate how differential heating of Earth results in circulation patterns in the oceans and the atmosphere that globally distribute the heat. They examine the relationship between the rotation of Earth and the circular motions of ocean currents and air. Students also make predictions based on the data to concerns about global climate change. They begin by examining the temperature of oceans surface currents and ocean surface winds. These currents, driven by the wind, mark the movement of surface heating as monitored by satellites. Students explore the link between 1) ocean temperatures and currents, 2) uneven heating and rotation of Earth, 3) resulting climate and weather patterns, and 4) projected impacts of climate change (global warming). Using the Live Access Server, students can select data sets for various elements for different regions of the globe, at different times of the year, and for multiple years. The information is provided in maps or graphs which can be saved for future reference. Some of the data sets accessed for this lesson include Sea Surface Temperature, Cloud Coverage, and Sea Level Height for this lesson. The lesson provides directions for accessing the data as well as questions to guide discussion and learning. The estimated time for completing the activity is 50 minutes. Inclusion of the Extension activities could broaden the scope of the lesson to several days in length. Links to informative maps and text such as the deep ocean conveyor belt, upwelling, and coastal fog as needed to answer questions in the extension activities are included.