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Cosmic Quilt


Level: Middle and High school

Author: Kimberly S. Adams, Argyle Middle School, Silver Spring, MD

National Science Education Standards:
http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/nses/html/index.html

Science as Inquiry: Understandings about Scientific Inquiry (grades 5-8)
Current scientific knowledge and understanding guide scientific investigations. Different scientific domains employ different methods, core theories, and standards to advance scientific knowledge and understanding.

Physical Science: Transfer of Energy (grades 5-8)
Energy is a property of many substances and is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, nuclei, and the nature of a chemical. Energy is transferred in many ways.

Earth and Space Science:The Origin and Evolution of the Universe (grades 9-12)
Early in the history of the universe, matter, primarily the light atoms hydrogen and helium, clumped together by gravitational attraction to form countless trillions of stars. Billions of galaxies, each of which is a gravitationally bound cluster of billions of stars, now form most of the visible mass in the universe.

Stars produce energy from nuclear reactions, primarily the fusion of hydrogen to form helium. These and other processes in stars have led to the formation of all the other elements.

Objective:
Students will conduct research to create an informational fiction cosmic story and picture pieces to construct the Cosmic Quilt.

Enduring Understanding:
There are a variety of objects in the universe composed of different materials and have different characteristics.

Essential Questions:
What are the various objects in the universe and what are they composed of?
What are the characteristics of the various objects in the universe?

Materials:

  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • Glitter
  • Any other art materials that you may wish to use

Warm up:
Have students to finish the following statement. If I could go into deep space, I would like to visit ___?___ because ___?___. Allow time for students to share their responses.

Procedure:

  1. Place students in groups of two.
  2. Assign each group one of the following: Black Hole, Quasar, Supernovae, Neutron Star, X-ray Binary, Pulsar, Star, Sun, Cosmic Ray, White Dwarf, X-ray Transient, Gamma Ray Burst, Active Galaxy, Dark Matter, Rossi-XTE (or satellite), Earth
  3. Each group must research (1-2 days) their assigned topic and create a picture piece and story piece on the construction paper (quilt piece). The picture would be on one quilt piece and the story on the second quilt piece.
  4. The story should be typed or written in ink.
  5. Encourage students to be creative in decorating their quilt pieces.
  6. The center of the quilt will be the GALACTIC CENTER. Use a piece of bulletin board paper equal to the size of four pieces of construction paper. Post the galactic center and have each student to add something to the image.
  7. Once all pieces are finished piece together the quilt and post on the bulletin board or wall. (see assessment)
**Make it look like a real quilt by "sewing" the pieces together with yarn or string.**

Assessment:
If this activity is done at the beginning of the unit students may give a 3-5 minute presentation on their piece of the quilt as you study each object. Students may also present their pieces with a 3-5 minute oral report and then secure (sew) their piece into the quilt.

Extension:
This activity may also be done with other objects in the universe. Research web sites:
http://rxte.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/learning_center/discover_0400.html
http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/
http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/StarChild.html
http://www.astrocappella.com/background/heg_background.shtml

Example Cosmic Quilt Layout
Picture:
Black Hole
Story:
Black Hole
Picture:
Quasar
Story:
Quasar
Picture:
Supernova
Story:
Supernova
Story:
Neutron Star
Picture:
Neutron Star
Story:
X-ray Binary
Picture:
X-ray Binary
Story:
Pulsar
Picture:
Pulsar
Picture:
Star
Story:
Star
GALA CTIC Picture:
Sun
Story:
Sun
Story:
White Dwarf
Picture:
White Dwarf
CEN TER Story:
X-ray Transient
Picture:X-ray Transien
Picture:
Gamma Ray Burst
Story:
Gamma Ray Burst
Picture:
Dark Matter
Story:
Dark Matter
Picture:
Rossi-XTE (Satellite)
Story:
Rossi-XTE (Satellite)
Story:
Earth
Picture:
Earth
Story:
Active Galaxy
Picture:
Active Galaxy
Story:
Cosmic Ray
Picture:
Cosmic Ray