Grade 9 Unit E: Curriculum Links | Print |

Unit E: Space Exploration
(Science and Technology emphasis)

Technologies have played an essential role in the study of space and in the emerging use of space environments. Our modem understanding of space has developed in conjunction with advances in techniques for viewing distant objects, for transmitting images and data through space, and for manned and unmanned space exploration. A study of space exploration provides opportunity for students to examine how science and technology interact and learn how one process augments the other, Through this study, students become aware of problems that have been addressed through these enterprises, and examine a variety of approaches to problem identification and solution. Students also become aware of the application of space technologies to new purposes and consider implications for the future.

This unit builds on ideas introduced in Grade 6, Unit C: Sky Science, and introduces ideas that will be developed further in Science 30, Unit C: Electromagnetic Energy.

Focussing Questions:

How have humans attained a presence in space?

What technologies have been developed, based on what scientific ideas?

How has the development of these technologies contributed to the exploration, use and understanding of space and to benefits on Earth?

Key Concepts

  • Technologies for space exploration and observation
  • reference frames for describing position in space and motion in spac
  • satellites and orbits
  • distribution of matter through space
  • composition and characteristics of bodies
  • life support technologies
  • communication technologies

STS and Knowledge Outcomes

Students will:

Investigate and describe ways that human understanding of Earth and space has depended on technological development

Identify different perspectives on the nature of Earth and space, based on culture and science (e.g., describe cosmologies based on an Earth-centred universe; describe aboriginal views of space and those ofother cultures; describe the role of observation in guiding scientijl'c understanding)

Investigate and illustrate the contributions of technological advances-including optical telescopes, spectral analysis and space travel-to a scientific understanding of space

Describe, in general terr'ns, the distribution of matter in space (e.g., stars, star systems, galaxies, nebulae)
40 identify evidence for-and describe characteristics of-bodies that make up the solar system, and compare their characteristics with those of Earth

Describe and apply techniques for determining the position and motion of objects in space - construct and interpret drawings and physical models that illustrate the motion to objects in space (e.g., represent the orbit of comets around the Sun, using a looped string model)

Describe techniques used to estimate distances of objects in space and to determine their motions

Describe the position of objects in space, using angular coordinates (e.g., describe the location of a spot on a wall by identibdng its angle of elevation and its bearing or azimuth [degrees east ofnorthjftom two locations in a room)
[Prerequisite Skill: Grade 6 Mathematics, Shape and Space, SO 101

Investigate predictions about the motions, alignments, and collision of bodies in space; and critically examine the evidence on which they are based (e.g., investigate predictions of eclipses, identify uncertainties in predicting and tracking meteor showers)

Students will:
Identify problems in developing technologies for space explorations, describe technologies developed for life in space, and explain the scientific principles involved

Analyze space environments, and identify challenges that must be met in developing life supporting systems (e.g., analyze implications of variations in gravity, temperature, availability of water, atmospheric pressure and atmospheric composition)

Describe technologies for life-support systems, and interpret the scientific principles on which they are based (e.g., investigate systems that involve recycling of water and air)

Describe technologies for space transport, and interpret scientific principles involved (e.g., describe the development of multistage rockets, shuttles and space stations; build a model vehicle to explore a planet or moon)

Identify materials and processes developed to meet needs in space and their applications to non-space uses (e.g., medicines, remote sensing, microelectronics, polymers, medical imaging, wireless communication technologies, synthesis offuels in space)

Describe the development of artificial satellites, and explain major purposes for which they are used (e.g. communication, GPS [globalpositioning system]; weather observation)

Students will:

Describe and interpret the science of optical and radio telescopes space probes and remote sensing technologies

Explain, in general terms, the operation of optical telescopes, including telescopes that are positioned in space environments

Explain the role of radio and optical telescopes in determining characteristics of stars and star systems

Describe and interpret, in general terms, the technologies used in global positioning systems and in remote sensing (e.g., use triangulation to determine the position of an object, given information on the distance-from three different points).
(Note this example involves use of geometric approaches rather than mathematical calculations)

Students will:
Identify issues and opportunities arising from the application of space technology, identify alternatives involved, and analyze their implications

Recognize risks and dangers associated with space exploration (e.g., spacejunk, fuel expenditure, satellites burning up in the atmosphere; solar radiation)

Describe Canadian contributions to space research and development and to the astronaut program (e.g., Canadarm)

Identify and analyze factors that are important to decisions regarding space exploration and development (e.g., identify examples costs and potential benefits that may be considered; investigate and describe examples of the political, environmental and ethical issues related to ownership and use of resources in space)