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published by the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering
This lesson package for middle school integrates authentic spectral data from NASA's Cassini exploration of Saturn and its moon, Titan. Students will analyze known data from UV spectroscopes, then match the peaks and valleys to spectral images returned from Cassini. With careful comparison, they should be able to determine at least two elements present in Saturn's rings and on Titan. Lesson objectives include:  
1) Match plots of new data to experimentally known data;
2) Gain a deeper understanding of the complex design that is required for spacecraft instrumentation and communications;
3) Compare/contrast chemical composition of Earth, Saturn, and Titan;
4) Understand that Saturn's moon, Titan, has an atmosphere which could contain building blocks that support life.

The lesson contains worksheet with answer key, Power Point warm-up, and vocabulary lists. This resource is part of the TeachEngineering digital library, which provides teacher-tested lessons designed to connect real-world experiences with curricular content in the K-12 science/math classroom.
Editor's Note: See Related Materials for a link to an Flash activity that gives students interactive practice in identifying digital spectral patterns from the Cassini mission.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Astronomy
- Fundamentals
= Spectra
- Solar System
= Saturn
- Space Exploration
= Robotic Exploration
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Inquiry Learning
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electromagnetic Radiation
= Electromagnetic Spectrum
Optics
- Diffraction
- Geometrical Optics
= Optical Instruments
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
= Problem/Problem Set
- Assessment Material
= Answer Key
= Test
- Dataset
- Audio/Visual
= Image/Image Set
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Assessment
- New teachers
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Intended User:
Educator
Formats:
text/html
application/ms-powerpoint
application/pdf
Access Rights:
Free access
Restriction:
© 2008 Regents of the University of Colorado
Keywords:
Cassini, UVIS, absorption lines, emission lines, spectral lines, spectrograph, spectroscopy, ultraviolet imaging, wavelength
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created November 5, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
November 5, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
July 16, 2012

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4A. The Universe
  • 6-8: 4A/M3. Nine planets of very different size, composition, and surface features move around the sun in nearly circular orbits. Some planets have a variety of moons and even flat rings of rock and ice particles orbiting around them. Some of these planets and moons show evidence of geologic activity. The earth is orbited by one moon, many artificial satellites, and debris.
  • 9-12: 4A/H3. Increasingly sophisticated technology is used to learn about the universe. Visual, radio, and X-ray telescopes collect information from across the entire spectrum of electromagnetic waves; computers handle data and complicated computations to interpret them; space probes send back data and materials from remote parts of the solar system; and accelerators give subatomic particles energies that simulate conditions in the stars and in the early history of the universe before stars formed.
4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 6-8: 4D/M5. Chemical elements are those substances that do not break down during normal laboratory reactions involving such treatments as heating, exposure to electric current, or reaction with acids. All substances from living and nonliving things can be broken down to a set of about 100 elements, but since most elements tend to combine with others, few elements are found in their pure form.
4F. Motion
  • 3-5: 4F/E3. Light travels and tends to maintain its direction of motion until it interacts with an object or material. Light can be absorbed, redirected, bounced back, or allowed to pass through.
  • 6-8: 4F/M1. Light from the sun is made up of a mixture of many different colors of light, even though to the eye the light looks almost white. Other things that give off or reflect light have a different mix of colors.
  • 6-8: 4F/M6. Light acts like a wave in many ways. And waves can explain how light behaves.
  • 6-8: 4F/M8. There are a great variety of electromagnetic waves: radio waves, microwaves, infrared waves, visible light, ultraviolet rays, X-rays, and gamma rays. These wavelengths vary from radio waves, the longest, to gamma rays, the shortest.

12. Habits of Mind

12B. Computation and Estimation
  • 9-12: 12B/H4. Use computer spreadsheet, graphing, and database programs to assist in quantitative analysis of real-world objects and events.
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Record Link
AIP Format
(Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering, Boulder, 2008), WWW Document, (http://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=collection/cub_/activities/cub_spect/cub_spect_activity3.xml#prereq).
AJP/PRST-PER
TeachEngineering: Using Spectral Data to Explore Saturn, (Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering, Boulder, 2008), <http://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=collection/cub_/activities/cub_spect/cub_spect_activity3.xml#prereq>.
APA Format
TeachEngineering: Using Spectral Data to Explore Saturn. (2012, July 16). Retrieved December 18, 2014, from Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering: http://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=collection/cub_/activities/cub_spect/cub_spect_activity3.xml#prereq
Chicago Format
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering. TeachEngineering: Using Spectral Data to Explore Saturn. Boulder: Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering, July 16, 2012. http://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=collection/cub_/activities/cub_spect/cub_spect_activity3.xml#prereq (accessed 18 December 2014).
MLA Format
TeachEngineering: Using Spectral Data to Explore Saturn. Boulder: Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering, 2008. 16 July 2012. 18 Dec. 2014 <http://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=collection/cub_/activities/cub_spect/cub_spect_activity3.xml#prereq>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {TeachEngineering: Using Spectral Data to Explore Saturn}, Publisher = {Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {18 December 2014}, Month = {July 16, 2012}, Year = {2008} }
Refer Export Format

%T TeachEngineering: Using Spectral Data to Explore Saturn
%D July 16, 2012
%I Integrated Teaching and Learning Program:  Teach Engineering
%C Boulder
%U http://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=collection/cub_/activities/cub_spect/cub_spect_activity3.xml#prereq
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D July 16, 2012
%T TeachEngineering: Using Spectral Data to Explore Saturn
%I Integrated Teaching and Learning Program:  Teach Engineering
%V 2014
%N 18 December 2014
%8 July 16, 2012
%9 text/html
%U http://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=collection/cub_/activities/cub_spect/cub_spect_activity3.xml#prereq


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TeachEngineering: Using Spectral Data to Explore Saturn:

Is Simulated By Cassini Spectral Data Interactive

This interactive activity from Project Spectra was designed specifically to accompany this lesson plan. Videos and animations provide additional support to teachers and learners.

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