FRAMING PATHWAYS TO ANSWERS: THE SCIENTIFIC PROCESS IN ACTION
Grade Level: 2 -4
Duration: Two - 45 minute periods
Students will explore the unseen energy produced by the Sun.
How can a spacecraft be protected form the Sun’s visible and invisible radiation?
The Sun produces energy - both visible and invisible to our eyes.
The light we see is visible energy from the Sun reflected off surfaces.
Some of the Sun’s energy is received on Earth as ultraviolet energy that can produce skin burns and cancer.
There are ways of blocking ultraviolet radiation.
MESSENGER Mission Connection
The atmosphere on Earth provides a measure of protection to the planet, and everything on it, from the harmful effects of exposure to sunlight. Once the MESSENGER craft leaves the atmosphere, it will be more exposed to the dangerous invisible forms of the Sun’s energy. As the craft gets closer to Mercury, this exposure will intensify. The potential for damage to the craft and its instruments is very high. MESSENGER team scientists are constantly refining their design of the craft so that exposure to the Sun’s energy will be minimized.
Standards & Benchmarks
NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS
Standard D2: Objects in the Sky
- The Sun provides the light and heat necessary to maintain the temperature of the Earth.
Standard A2: Understandings about scientific inquiry
- Scientists use different kinds of investigations depending on the questions they are trying to answer. Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test (experimenting).
Standard B8: Light, Heat, Electricity, and Magnetism
- Light travels in a straight line until it strikes an object. Light can be reflected by a mirror, refracted by a lens, or absorbed by the object.