Protecting the Earth from Killer Asteroids

Description:  Asteroids have the potential to cause catastrophic loss of life on our planet upon impact. In 2013, the Chelyabinsk meteor injured 1500 people when it exploded over Russia. If researchers could identify potential asteroids early enough they could change their orbit to eliminate the threat to Earth. This phenomenon could be used to explore the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system or to gain a better understanding of gravitational forces and fields.

Web Resource:  Asteroid Impact Avoidance - Wikipedia


Woman Hit by Meteorite

Description:  Ann Hodges has the distinction of being the only human to have been hit by a meteorite. While Mrs. Hodges was napping on the couch the meteorite impacted her house, bounced off a table and hit her in the hip. She was able to walk away from the incident. Scientists can learn about the composition of the early solar system and the formation of the Earth by studying these primordial objects orbiting in space.

Web Resource:  Sylacauga (meteorite) - Wikipedia


Pipehenge: Poor Man’s Stonehenge

Description:  Pipehenge is a daytime astronomy device that can be used to determine patterns in the movement of our Sun and moon.  Pipehenge can be built using plastic pipes so that it is moveable or a permanent "climbable" structure.  According to the makers of this device, students can study astronomy during the day and internalize a model that they can use while observing the night sky.  Secondary students could build a device that could be used with elementary students in the same school district.

Web Resource:  Pipehenge


How Do Sundials Work?

Description:  The simplest sundial consists of two parts: a flat plate and a gnomon (or stick) that casts a shadow on the plate. When the sundial is properly aligned it will tell the local solar time. This may have to be adjusted to find national clock time due to longitude, season, and daylight savings time. Students can build their own sundial by tracing the shadow on paper (or in the dirt) at different times of the day.

Web Resources:  Sundials - Wikipedia, How Do Sundials Work? - Yale Scientific