Take Off With NASA’s Kepler Mission! by: David Koch, Edna K. DeVore, Alan Gould, and Pamela Harman

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Humans have long wondered about life in the universe. Are we alone? Is Earth unique? What is it that makes our planet a habitable one, and are there others like Earth? NASA’s Kepler Mission seeks the answers to these questions. Kepler is a space-based, specially designed 0.95 m aperture telescope. Launching in 2009, Kepler is NASA’s first mission capable of finding Earth-size and smaller planets in the habitable zone of other stars in our galaxy. Therefore, the Kepler Mission provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary science teaching, as it combines Earth and space science with life sciences. Teachers and students can bring this mission down to Earth by using the accompanying poster, partaking in classroom activities, and visiting the mission’s website (see “On the web”).

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Reviews (2)
  • on Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:09 PM

This article does a fabulous job explaining the main points of the Kepler mission. The activities mentioned in the article would be perfect for my Earth Science class. A myriad of useful resources are mentioned in the article.

Ruth Hutson  (Westmoreland, KS)
Ruth Hutson (Westmoreland, KS)

  • on Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:04 PM

I use this article with 7th grade students in a Life Science class. Students have prior knowledge from the previous year about the universe and how aspects of the universe are being explored. I focus on the Kepler Mission because the information gained from the project is related to looking for where life could survive elsewhere in the universe. The article is a great place for students to gain information about the Kepler Mission, and then use that information to conduct a project about which planets NASA should focus their investigation on. The article builds background for the students to enrich the project. The article is also great for promoting STEM because the aspects of the project draw on science, technology, engineering, and math for the entire thing to be complete. I have been able to engage uninterested students in science through explaining the application of other areas of STEM through what they learn in this article.

Katherine Zimmerman  (Arlington, VA)
Katherine Zimmerman (Arlington, VA)

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