Space Science:
Myths and
Dale Subaitis
Henry Frazzini
Jen Lewin
Target Audience
• Middle School Teachers: Gen ed,
Science, Math, Special Ed, etc.
• District and State Level
-ISTA: Illinois Science Teachers
-Chicago Public Schools
-District 194 (suburbs)
• 50-60 minutes
Goals and Objectives
• Addressing common myths and
misconceptions with space science
• Earth and the Solar System
• Solar weather, Earth’s seasons
• Why space science is lacking in
depth and breadth
Teacher Invitation
• Are you smarter than a middle
-Scripted mock game show
-Teacher as a contestant using “copy”,
“peek”, “phone a colleague”
• Ice breaker activity to make the
audience more comfortable
• Models best practice: students as
experts, collaboration amongst
Seasons: SSS Unit 2
• How does the Earth move around the
• How does the Earth’s movement cause
the seasons (tilt vs. distance)?
• Intensity of light from the Sun (angle of
• Opposite seasons for Northern and
Southern hemisphere (geographic bias)
Supporting Key Concepts
• Earth travels around the Sun in a
nearly circular orbit (2.2)
• Earth’s tilt does not significantly
change its distance from the sun
• Patterns of average temperature
change (and seasons) are opposite
for the Northern and Southern
Hemispheres (2.2)
Supporting Key Concepts
• At the beginning of the summer,
sunlight falls at a steep angle and
shines most intensely on Earth’s
surface (2.5)
• At the beginning of winter, sunlight
falls at a shallow and shines with
less intensity on the Earth’s
surface (2.5)
Solar Wind
• Solar wind is constant, with occasional
• Modeling Solar wind with milk or water
on laminated Heliosphere card
• If you’re at the equator, what is the
weather like? What affect does the
Solar Wind have on your weather?
• Does not affect seasons on Earth (does
not act like wind on Earth)
Supporting Key Concepts
• The Solar wind is a constant
stream of charged particles that
the sun puts out (1.3)
• Solar flares release large amounts
of electromagnetic energies and
solar particles into space (1.4)
Keeping an Open Mind
• Awareness of cultural/religious
• Encourage open sharing of ideas,
support individual thinking!
• Anyone seen the movie 2012??