[Ndca-l] Outer Space Lesson Plans - SETI

Tate, Tara ttate
Tue May 10 09:46:27 EDT 2011

Although I think the kids are enjoying the space unit, I think they are getting a bit bored of hand-outs and videos.  :)  Over the next few days, I am having students focus on very specific (and hopefully interesting!) space issues.

Today and tomorrow we are focusing on whether there is alien life forms :) and the SETI program.

Although they are likely a bit bored with videos, I am going to show them two today:

1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbsMJKzI0xI&feature=related  (video with a bunch of news clips about NASA's latest ET findings).

2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEiEwQ7Rf4g&feature=youtu.be - great video by Carl Sagan about the SETI program

And, a few quick articles:

1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEiEwQ7Rf4g&feature=youtu.be - article from today about SETI's budgetary issues

2 - http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/05/08/2282957/seti-shuts-down-its-hunt-for-aliens.html - SETI shut-down article from two days ago

3 - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7631252/Stephen-Hawking-alien-life-is-out-there-scientist-warns.html - alien life yes

4 - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/8276756/Alien-life-deemed-impossible-by-analysis-of-500-planets.html - No alien life

Although I am not using the entirety of this lesson plan, I did find some of this lesson plan helpful:

http://www.discoveryeducation.com/teachers/free-lesson-plans/extraterrestrials.cfm .  I will likely include the portion of students brainstorming about how we would contact intelligent life forms (that ought to be interesting) and in what format (see #2).  I also really like some of the Discussion Questions at the bottom (#1, #3, #4 specifically) - I will likely have students in groups of 2 or 3 answer those questions through brainstorming.

I also thought this assignment (I will probably have it be an in-class writing prompt) was pretty good - have students write a persuasive "essay" (I will probably do a paragraph) to "superiors on a faraway planet to adopt a custom, a behavior, or an item (for example, baseball, shopping, or a vacuum cleaner) they observed on a visit to Earth."  I am still deciding on whether or not I want to make this prompt a bit more sophisticated...I like the idea of, perhaps, having the students explain a social issue that humans have caused and how lack of understanding amongst our race continues to feed that problem.  The lesson plan in full is here:  http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/02/lp255-05.shtml

I have attached the group hand-out and the individual writing prompt.  Please feel free to email me if the attachments don't go through.


Tara L. Tate

Director of Debate, Glenbrook South HS (IL)

Chair of the Board, National Debate Coaches Association

Co-director, The 2011 Glenbrooks
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