Relationships between Windows to the Universe Magnetometer Activities and National Science Education Standards

This page provides detailed descriptions of associations between the National Science Education Standards and the three magnetometer-related activities (The Magnetometer, Terrabagga, & Magnetometer Extensions) on the Windows to the Universe web site.

The Magnetometer

1. Grades K-12
1. Unifying Concepts & Processes Standard (K-12): Evidence, models, and explanation
1. Excerpt from Standards: Models are tentative schemes or structures that correspond to real objects, events, or classes of events, and that have explanatory power. Models help scientists and engineers understand how things work. Models take many forms, including physical objects, plans, mental constructs, mathematical equations, and computer simulations.
2. Relevance to Activity: A magnetic field, which the magnetometer measures, is a model. It is a mental construct that helps us understand the forces associated with magnetism.
2. Grades K-4
1. Physical Science (Content Standard B): Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism
1. Excerpt from Standards: Magnets attract and repel each other and certain kinds of other materials.
2. Science and Technology (Content Standard E): Understanding about science and technology
1. Excerpt from Standards: Tools help scientists make better observations, measurements, and equipment for investigations. They help scientists see, measure, and do things that they could not otherwise see, measure, and do.
2. Relevance to Activity: The magnetometer is such a tool.
3. Grades 5-8
1. Physical Science (Content Standard B): Properties and changes of properties in matter
1. Excerpt from Standards: Substances often are placed in categories or groups if they react in similar ways; metals is an example of such a group.
2. Relevance to Activity: Magnetic materials (primarily iron & nickel) are such a category.
2. Physical Science (Content Standard B): Motions and forces
1. Excerpts from Standards: If more than one force acts on an object along a straight line, then the forces will reinforce or cancel one another, depending on their direction and magnitude. Unbalanced forces will cause changes in the speed or direction of an object's motion.
2. Relevance to Activity: The force of magnetism influences the motion of the magnetometer's needle.
3. Science and Technology (Content Standard E): Understandings about science and technology
1. Excerpts from Standards: "Technology is essential to science, because it provides instruments and techniques that enable observations of objects and phenomena that are otherwise unobservable due to factors such as quantity, distance, location, size, and speed. Technology also provides tools for investigations, inquiry, and analysis." and "Perfectly designed solutions do not exist. All technological solutions have trade-offs, such as safety, cost, efficiency, and appearance."
2. Relevance to Activity: The magnetometer is such an instrument or tool. The magnetometer produced in this activity is not as precise as one used by professional scientists, but it is much less expensive to manufacture.
4. Grades 9-12
1. Physical Science (Content Standard B): Structure and properties of matter
1. Excerpts from Standards: "Atoms interact with one another by transferring or sharing electrons that are furthest from the nucleus." and "The physical properties of compounds reflect the nature of the interactions among its molecules. These interactions are determined by the structure of the molecule, including the constituent atoms and the distances and angles between them."
2. Relevance to Activity: Ferromagnetism is a result of alignment of the spins of electrons. The chemical composition and crystal structure of ferromagnetic materials, such as the steel in the pins in the magnetometer, influences the ease with which one can induce magnetism in the material.
2. Physical Science (Content Standard B): Motions and forces
1. Excerpts from Standards: "Objects change their motion only when a net force is applied. Laws of motion are used to calculate precisely the effects of forces on the motion of objects." and "Most observable forces such as those exerted by a coiled spring or friction may be traced to electric forces acting between atoms and molecules." and "Electricity and magnetism are two aspects of a single electromagnetic force. Moving electric charges produce magnetic forces, and moving magnets produce electric forces."
2. Relevance to Activity: Magnetic force causes the magnetometer's needle to move. Ferroagnetism is the result of the motion of electrons (electrically charged particles) within constituent atoms and molecules.
3. Science and Technology (Content Standard E): Understandings about science and technology
1. Excerpt from Standards: New technologies often extend the current levels of scientific understanding and introduce new areas of research.
2. Relevance to Activity: The invention of the magnetometer enabled greater scientific investigation of magnetism.

Terrabagga

All of the standards associated with The Magnetometer Activity are relevant to this activity, plus the following:

1. Grades K-4
1. Earth and Space Science (Content Standard D): Objects in the sky
1. Excerpt from Standards: The sun, moon, stars, clouds, birds, and airplanes all have properties, locations, and movements that can be observed and described.
2. Relevance to Activity: Presuming you add planets to the list of objects in the sky, this activity delves into one of the properties of planets.
2. Grades 5-8
1. Earth and Space Science (Content Standard D): Structure of the earth system
1. Excerpt from Standards: The solid earth is layered with a lithosphere; hot, convecting mantle; and dense, metallic core.
2. Relevance to Activity: Earth's magnetic field is generated by movements of magnetic metals in its core.
2. Earth and Space Science (Content Standard D): Earth in the solar system
1. Excerpt from Standards: The earth is the third planet from the sun in a system that includes the moon, the sun, eight other planets and their moons, and smaller objects, such as asteroids and comets.
2. Relevance to Activity: Terrabaga, though fictional, should stimulate some discussion of planets in our solar system. Several planets besides Earth have magnetic fields.
3. Grades 9-12
1. Earth and Space Science (Content Standard D): Energy in the earth system
1. Excerpts from Standards: "Earth systems have internal and external sources of energy, both of which create heat. Two primary sources of internal energy are the decay of radioactive isotopes and the gravitational energy from the earth's original formation." and "The outward transfer of earth's internal heat drives convection circulation in the mantle that propels the plates comprising earth's surface across the face of the globe."
2. Relevance to Activity: Parts of Earth's core are molten because of the heat sources mentioned. Convection-driven circulation of molten metal in Earth's core generates Earth's magnetic field.

Magnetometer Extensions

All of the standards associated with The Magnetometer Activity are relevant to this activity, plus the following:

1. Grades K-4
1. Earth and Space Science (Content Standard D): Properties of earth materials
1. Excerpt from Standards: Earth materials are solid rocks and soils, water, and the gases of the atmosphere. The varied materials have different physical and chemical properties...
2. Relevance to Activity: Some rocks are magnetic.
2. Earth and Space Science (Content Standard D): Changes in earth and sky
1. Excerpt from Standards: The surface of the earth changes. Some changes are due to slow processes, such as erosion and weathering, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.
2. Relevance to Activity: Seafloor spreading is an example of a slow change of Earth's surface.
2. Grades 5-8
1. Earth and Space Science (Content Standard D): Structure of the earth system
1. Excerpts from Standards: "The solid earth is layered with a lithosphere; hot, convecting mantle; and dense, metallic core." and "Lithospheric plates on the scales of continents and oceans constantly move at rates of centimeters per year in response to movements in the mantle." and "Some changes in the solid earth can be described as the 'rock cycle.' Old rocks at the earth's surface weather, forming sediments that are buried, then compacted, heated, and often recrystallized into new rock. Eventually, those new rocks may be brought to the surface by the forces that drive plate motions, and the rock cycle continues."
2. Relevance to Activity: Seafloor spreading exemplifies plate movement in the lithosphere. Some magnetic rock and ore deposits raise issues related to the rock cycle.
3. Grades 9-12
1. Earth and Space Science (Content Standard D): Energy in the earth system
1. Excerpt from Standards: The outward transfer of earth's internal heat drives convection circulation in the mantle that propels the plates comprising earth's surface across the face of the globe.
2. Relevance to Activity: Seafloor spreading exemplifies plate motion.
2. Earth and Space Science (Content Standard D): Origin and evolution of the earth system
1. Excerpts from Standards: "Geologic time can be estimated by observing rock sequences and using fossils to correlate the sequences at various locations. Current methods include using the known decay rates of radioactive isotopes present in rocks to measure the time since the rock was formed." and "Interactions among the solid earth, the oceans, the atmosphere, and organisms have resulted in the ongoing evolution of the earth system. We can observe some changes such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on a human time scale, but many processes such as mountain building and plate movements take place over hundreds of millions of years. "
2. Relevance to Activity: Magnetic bands in the seafloor are another form of "geologic clock".
3. Science in Personal and Social Perspectives (Content Standard F): Natural resources
1. Excerps from Standards: Human populations use resources in the environment in order to maintain and improve their existence. Natural resources have been and will continue to be used to maintain human populations.
2. Relevance to Activity: Magnetometers are used to locate ore deposits.
4. History and Nature of Science (Content Standard G): Historical perspectives
1. Excerpt from Standards: "Occasionally, there are advances in science and technology that have important and long-lasting effects on science and society. Examples of such advances include: Geologic time scale, Plate tectonics, ..."
Last modified October 20, 2003 by Randy Russell.

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