Students will conduct citizen science to better understand the importance of subatomic particles in relationship to astrophysical events.
- Students will be able to articulate their understanding of the importance of citizen science.
- Students can explain how subatomic particles can be used to understand astrophysical events.
Ensure that every student (or student pair) has access to a computer with internet.
- Inquiry based hook to lesson: Zooniverse Citizen Science Investigation. Allow students to log on to the Zooniverse website and click on the Muon Hunter project: https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/zooniverse/muon-hunter
- Ask students to record their questions that come up during the investigation.
Examples of student questions might be: What are muons? What is a muon ring? Why are scientists studying them? What is VERITAS?
- Transition into a class discussion that begins with students recording their questions on the board.
Option 1: Have students investigate the answers to a question they are interested in and come back to the class to share out after independent research online.
Option 2: Teacher selects 1-2 questions and guides the class in steps to research this topic online.
- Ask students to predict why they think it is important to study subatomic particles (muon, tau, electron, and neutrino).
- Follow up and show IceCube Explained video: https://icecube.wisc.edu/gallery/press/view/2169
- Allow students to engage with IceCube’s website: https://icecube.wisc.edu/science/beyond
- Articles can also be printed so that students can read and annotate the text.
- Students pair share around the question: What can subatomic particles like neutrinos tell us about astrophysical events?
- Collect their thoughts on an index card that will be collected at the end of class.
Reflection writing assignment: Why is citizen science an important part of science today? What can you contribute that a computer cannot? What are some other potential applications for citizen science?
Join the Muon Hunter talk and use hashtags to connect with other citizen scientists about their work.
Zooniverse website with the Muon Hunter project: https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/zooniverse/muon-hunter
IceCube Explained video: https://icecube.wisc.edu/gallery/press/view/2169
IceCube’s website: https://icecube.wisc.edu/science/beyond
- Ask students to submit their reflection writing assignment and any notes they have taken during the exercise.
- Students will turn in their index cards that contain an informal assessment of their learning.
Lesley Anderson, PolarTREC Teacher 2017
High Tech High School
Chula Vista, CA
landerson [at] hightechhigh.org
HS-ESS1-2 Earth's Place in the Universe
Construct an explanation of the Big Bang theory based on astronomical evidence of light spectra, motion of distant galaxies, and composition of matter in the universe.
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