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Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Watch Out for Space Junk-Using the New in your Classroom!

Watch Out for Space Junk!

With more and more responsibilities and testing pressures~ current events may be getting pushed into the background in importance. If this is the case~ you can place a news story on the board as you are doing attendance~ checking homework~ etc.(is BELL-RINGER still a term used or am I dating myself?????) and have the students read it and perhaps begin working on an extension activity.

Here's one to suggest this week.Watch Out for Space Junk!

Junk~ you see it littering the highways. There's also junk in space~ LOTS of it. Scientists estimate that 20~000 man-made objects are orbiting the Earth~ much of the junk in low-Earth orbit. Debris includes rocket boosters~ old communication and weather satellites and even tools dropped by astronauts while outside the International Space Station. And~ scientists say there are more than 500~000-tens of millions of itsy bitsy pieces of junk! And~ it's not just floating along in space. Scientists say space debris travels at speeds of about 17~5000 miles per hour.All this space junk zipping around in space could be a safety issue to space missions! Scientists are meeting in May to discuss the topic and what can be done about it. Scientists in Great Britain are developing a giant harpoon which could grab some of the space junk and pull it down toward Earth where it can burn up. Other scientists are suggesting a net which could catch space junk or a gigantic robotic arm that could grab the space junk and pull it back to Earth. Still another idea is using a ground laser that could take aim and knock space junk off of a path with space crafts and satellites.

Extension Activities:

1. Ask students to come up with ideas that might be used to clean up space junk. Draw a picture of their idea and write a paragraph explaining how it would work.

2. Brainstorm some examples of space junk from A-Z.

3.Compare space junk to ocean debris. Maybe mention the Great Garbage Patches(sadly there are more than one...). What are some of the ocean trash from A-Z.

4.Pretend you are a wrench~ chip of paint or other space debris. What do you see in space? Tell about a day in your life as you zip through space.

More Information on Space Junk: m/orbital/

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Gail Hennessey

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