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To begin this unit we will be spending two days learning an overview of Space and Space Exploration.

Day 1:

During the first day we will be watching National Geographic “Journey to the Edge of the Universe”, a documentary film about the cosmos and the universe at large. It is described as follows:

"In one single, epic camera move we journey from Earths surface to the outermost reaches of the universe on a grand tour of the cosmos, to explore newborn stars, distant planets, black holes and beyond.
Read more:"

During the movie students will be filling in a sheet answer questions in response to what the video is discussing and give their own thoughts on how this might help us as we continue our lives on Earth.

Some interesting facts from the movie are below:


Beyond the comforts of our home planet Earth, is a vast and mysterious world. Learn more about our galaxy and the secrets it holds.
  • Venus, the goddess of love, is the solar system's brightest planet.
  • Although similar in size and gravity as Earth, Venus' atmosphere is full of deadly sulphuric acid.
  • Covered with a thin veneer of rock, Mercury is a huge ball or iron and has a powerful gravitational pull for its size.
  • The strongest magnet known in the universe is a magnetar, a rare type of neutron star. To date, there have only been about ten discoveries of a magnetar.
  • The sun is so far away that if it burned out we wouldn't know about it for eight minutes.
  • The red planet, Mars, has no ozone layer and has nothing to protect against the sun's ultra-violet rays. This makes it unlivable for humans.
  • By dating the meteorites found on Earth, we can tell the planets were born 4.6 billion years ago.
  • Jupiter is spinning at an incredible rate, whipping up winds to hundreds of miles an hour.
  • Saturn is a giant ball of gas; so light it would float on water.

Read more:

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Day 2:

During the second day of the unit kick-off students will be reading the following article from the New York Times about Space Exploration Costs. Students will be divided into 5 groups, one for each of the individuals who participated in writing the article. They will only read that person's opinion and discuss it as a group. They will then create a poster about that persons opinion, which will include their name and title, with images and words that demonstrate the person's position on Space Exploration.

After they have spent 10 minutes creating their posters, each group will do a short 2 minute presentation to give the main ideas to the rest of the class. Then the class will ask 3 questions of each group to get a little more information, or clarify what they have heard. This will allow all of the students in the class to get a sense of the different arguments for or against exploration without having to read the entire article.

Article Link: NYTimes “Is Space Exploration Worth the Cost? A Freakonomics Quorum”