Man first landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969 and last walked on the lunar surface in December l972. In fact, the Moon is the only extraterrestrial body to be visited by humans and it is the only body from which rock samples have been returned to Earth. The history of man's exploration of the Moon in the Apollo program and the knowledge we have gained about the Moon from these voyages will be the focus of this curriculum.
This curriculum will allow students:
1. to study the Moon in detail including the Moon's origin, geology, and landscape
2. to study the history of man's exploration of space including the voyages of the Apollo missions to the Moon
3. to provide opportunities for students to be active participants in a class project exploring the Moon
This curriculum was developed for students in 4-6 grades who are attending regular and special education programs in the New Haven Public School system. In addition, this curriculum is adapted to assist visually impaired and blind students in accessing the materials and information necessary to work on this topic. It is hoped that the adaptations suggested will also help teachers understand how future science lessons can be modified for students with visual impairments.
The classroom activities proposed will promote problem-solving, communication skills, and teamwork as well as scientific knowledge. It is believed that the knowledge and understanding gained from this project will assist students as they attempt to comprehend problems on a wider or global scale.
OUR SOLAR SYSTEM
The Sun is a 5 billion year old star that is the center of our Solar System. The Sun is nearer to Earth than other stars and so the Sun seems enormous to us. However, compared to other stars it is actually of average size and age. Planets, including Earth, move around the Sun. At the same time, some of the planets have one or more Moons circling around them. Earth has only one Moon---a natural satellite that is large enough and close enough to provide light to Earth at night. The second brightest object in the sky after the Sun, the Moon, produces no light of its own, but it instead reflects sunlight.
Planets are usually much larger than their Moons and hundreds to thousands of times more massive. The Earth and its Moon, however, are an unusual duo since they are similar in size. The Moon is about 2,160 miles in diameter or approximately a quarter of the diameter of the Earth. The mass of the Moon is only about eighty-one times less than the Earth. Due to its size and composition, the Moon is sometimes classified as a terrestrial "planet" along with Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.
There is no atmosphere on the Moon and no magnetic field, therefore, the Moon's surface is exposed directly to the solar wind. Therefore, its surface is not constantly being worn away by wind or rain erosion and probably hasn't changed except for the rare impact of meteorites in more recent times.
History of Moon:
Over the centuries, scientists have developed many theories on how the Moon was formed. However, prior to the study of the Apollo samples brought back from manned flights to the Moon, there was no consensus about its origin.
The Principal Theories:
l. Co-accretion : This theory asserted that the Moon and the Earth formed at the same time from the Solar Nebula
2. Fission: This theory asserted that the Moon split off of the Earth and went into orbit
3. Capture: This theory held that the Moon formed in another part of the Solar System and was later captured by the gravitational pull of the Earth.
After studying the lunar rock and soil samples, scientists know that these theories are incorrect. Instead it is now widely believed that the Moon was formed around the same time as the Earth. Thus the impact theory was developed.
4. Impact Theory: New and detailed information from the Moon rocks led to the theory that when the Earth was young and developing it collided with a very large object . The core of this body became part of Earth while the lighter material shot into space and began orbiting around until it collected to form the Moon.