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CME Science: Measuring the Velocity of a Coronal Mass Ejection
written by Rebecca Vieyra and Alice Flarend
edited by Caroline Hall
This lesson for high school physics blends kinematics and space science as students analyze authentic data from the NASA/ESA SOHO space observatory to determine the speed of a coronal mass ejection (CME). Learners will closely examine and measure coronagraph images of CME events to construct graphs of position vs. time and velocity vs. time. The lesson is designed to promote understanding of three key ideas: 1. Relationships between p-t and v-t graphs; 2. The laws of classical physics are consistent throughout the universe; and 3. Earth's sun is an ever-changing star that produces phenomena which can be observed, imaged, and accurately measured.

Note: This AAPT Lesson Plan is based on a Lecture Tutorial written for the NASA Space Science Education Consortium. See "Supplemental Document" below to download the original CME Speed Lecture Tutorial in its entirety.
Editor's Note: This lesson is most appropriate for the early phase of a unit on kinematics in a high school algebra-based physics course. It can be adapted for use in Physics First or Conceptual Physics courses by revising or simplifying the math calculations.

NGSS and Common Core Standards (15)

1 supplemental document is available
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Astronomy
- Instrumentation
= Optical Astronomy
- The Sun
= Space Weather
Classical Mechanics
- Motion in One Dimension
= Position & Displacement
= Velocity
Education Practices
- Pedagogy
= Multidisciplinary
Other Sciences
- Mathematics
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
= Problem/Problem Set
= Student Guide
- Reference Material
= Article
- Audio/Visual
= Image/Image Set
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- New teachers
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Nov 11 - Jan 15, 2022