Space science myths and misconceptions
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Space Science: Myths and Misconceptions. 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 Assoc. -Chicago Public Schools -District 194 (suburbs)

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Space Science: Myths and Misconceptions

Dale Subaitis

Henry Frazzini

Jen Lewin


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Target Audience

  • Middle School Teachers: Gen ed, Science, Math, Special Ed, etc.

  • District and State Level

    -ISTA: Illinois Science Teachers Assoc.

    -Chicago Public Schools

    -District 194 (suburbs)

  • 50-60 minutes


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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


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Teacher Invitation

  • Are you smarter than a middle schooler?

    -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 colleagues


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Seasons: SSS Unit 2

  • How does the Earth move around the sun?

  • How does the Earth’s movement cause the seasons (tilt vs. distance)?

  • Intensity of light from the Sun (angle of incidence)

  • Opposite seasons for Northern and Southern hemisphere (geographic bias)


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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 (2.2)

  • Patterns of average temperature change (and seasons) are opposite for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres (2.2)


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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)


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Solar Wind

  • Solar wind is constant, with occasional bursts

  • 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)


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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)


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Keeping an Open Mind

  • Awareness of cultural/religious influence

  • Encourage open sharing of ideas, support individual thinking!

  • Anyone seen the movie 2012??


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