# Learning About Aurorae - The Planterella Experiment

## Learning About Aurorae - The Planterella Experiment

### Module Overview

This unit emphasizes literacy skills for STEAM students, using the Planeterella Experiment to learn about aurorae.  Guided by text-dependent questions, students will study and gather evidence from anchor and supplemental texts on the Planterella’s design, purpose and history, magnetic currents and their role in aurorae, the Van Allen Belt, the Lorenz Effect,  and how global warming impacts aurorae.  Students will perform experiments with magnetic currents and create a lab simulation of the aurora borealis using textual evidence and data from the anchor and supplemental texts.  Students will present their findings and their experiments using the Tricaster TC40.

### Part II: Background on LMS and Science Teacher Relationship:

This lesson was created by Library Media Specialist Elizabeth Strauss, Tech (STEAM) teacher Jaime Newell, and Technology Integrator Jeanna Wagner. Elizabeth’s strengths were described as community collaboration, text based inquiry, and open educational resources. Jaime’ s strengths were described as integrating science and technology with artistic ideas with creative thinking.  Jeanna’s strengths were described as bridging the gap between instructional practices and technology tools.

### Part III: Unit Description

Lesson 1: Magnetic forces. Estimated Time: 160 minutes (Two 90-minute class sessions  , 80 minutes for the activities and 10 minutes for beginning and end of class procedures).

Activity 1: Exploring magnet polarities and forces. Students will get to use magnets to explore the vocab words “Polarity, Attraction, Repulsion, Field.” How does magnetic intensity change throughout space? Time: 20 minutes

Activity 2: Exploring electromagnets. Electric current through copper wire will create a magnetic field. Explore how to control the strength of the magnetic field. Vocab words: “Current, Magnetic field, Electricity.” Time: 60 minutes

Activity 3: Demonstrating the generator effect. Students will observe the deflection of a galvanometer needle when an electrical cord crosses Earth’s magnetic field. This experiment will be done outside so needs to be timed with good weather. Students will learn the words “Galvanometer, deflection (of the galvanometer).” Time: 45 minutes

Activity 4: Students will learn about Lenz’s Law: “An induced electromotive force generates a current that induces a counter magnetic field that opposes the magnetic field generating the current.” This will be demonstrated by an experiment with hanging a magnet into an aluminum can that is floating on water, turning the magnet, and observing what happens. Vocab words: “Electromotive, Lenz’s Law.” Time: 35 minutes

Lesson 2: Learning about Auroras: Estimated Time: 180 minutes. (Two 90-minute class sessions)

Activity 1: Magnetic mysteries of the aurora. Students will learn the names of basic auroral forms by organizing images into the correct categories. Students will learn about various phenomena associated with auroras through articles, like how they have evolved and whether or not they make sound. Students will demonstrate an understanding of where and when auroras occur. Vocab words: “Auroral substorm, arches, arcs, bands, substorm expansion phase, substorm onset, coronas, diffuse glows.” Estimated time: 90 minutes

Activity 2: The magnetosphere. Students will learn the basic elements of the sun-earth system. Vocab words: “Magnetosphere, Bow Shock, Magnetopause, Magnetotail, Polar Cusp, Plasma Sheet, Auroral Oval, Ring Current, Solar Wind.” Students will pick one in particular to write a short essay on why scientists are trying to learn about it. Time: 45 minutes. Essay time will be 30-45 minutes at home.

Activity 3: The Sun-Earth Connection. A presentation on  the Sun and its effects on Earth’s magnetosphere and NASA’s satellite mission to understand auroral substorms, THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms). Presentation time: 45 minutes.

Lesson 3: The Planeterrella - Time: Four 90-minute class periods

Activity 1: Students will read the anchor text and answer text dependent questions (listed below) to ensure thorough reading. There will be a class discussion following, regarding the possibilities surrounding the planeterrella experiment. (80 minutes)

Activity 2: Students will use their previous learning about auroras, the magnetosphere, and the sun-earth connection to create a lab that simulates auroras.. (270 minutes, 3 class periods)

Lesson 4: Tricaster, broadcasting knowledge -

Activity 1: The class designs a Tricaster production to be shown on PHS-TV and PTV for the community to by writing a script and using photos and video collected during all activities.   (Advanced TV Broadcasting Crew will produce this segment).

### Part V: Unit Essential Question

How do scientists develop theories to explain natural phenomenon such as the aurora borealis?

### Part VI: Goals for Using Inquiry

The student will be able to read, understand, and analyze scientific texts, as well as create their own hypotheses and predictions based on their understanding of those texts.

The student will explore and understand the concepts of magnetism and polarity by demonstrating the generator effect and through the application of Lenz’s law.

The student will be able to research and understand the phenomena of auroras.

The student will be able to design an experiment to build a working model of aurora simulator.

The student will be able to creatively communicate their efforts to a wider audience through the use of the Tricaster (studio in a box) to produce a video segment to share online and with their fellow students.

### Part VII: Summative Assessment Description and Rubric

ATTRIBUTE

The student will be able to:

1 – DOES NOT MEET EXPECTATIONS

2 – APPROACHES EXPECTATIONS

3 – MEETS EXPECTATIONS

4 – EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS

Next Gen

HS-PS3-5

Develop and use a model of two objects interacting through electric or magnetic fields to illustrate the forces between objects and the changes in energy of the objects due to the interaction.

ISTE 1.c.  Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues

2. Communication and Collaboration.

ISTE 2.a. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments or media.

3. Literacy

RST.9-10.8  Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author’s claim, or a recommendation for solving a scientific or technical problem.

RST.11-12.1  Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.

### Part VIII: Prior Knowledge Needed

Teachers will need to evaluate if students have prior knowledge of magnetic fields, auroras, creating a video for broadcast, and what their reading levels are.  Additionally, students will need some general working knowledge of magnets and their polarities.

### Part IX: Student Learning Objectives

1. The student will be able to describe the design, purpose, and history of the Planeterrella by reading and annotating the anchor text about the Planeterrella experiment (The Planeterrella Experiment: From Individual Initiative to Networking).
2. The student will be able to analyze the magnetic currents that the Planeterrella creates by applying information from the magnetic experiments and the Planeterrella article.
3. Students will be able to evaluate claims that the types of solar activity described in the article impact global warming by using evidence from the text and from other resources.
4. The student will be able to create a lab simulation of the aurora borealis and describe its effects using textual evidence, data, and precise details from the article and supplemental texts.

### Part X: Text Set Description

The anchor text describes the purpose, design, and history of the Planeterella.  The supplemental texts cover aurorae and magnetism.

Texts