I1 Astronomy

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Aim: To advance young people’s knowledge and experience of astronomy. Introduction: Astronomy is a science which is finding itself increasingly in the media spotlight, with major advances in technology meaning that it will continue to do so in the 21st Century. It is likely that the group will have a varying level of knowledge of astronomy depending on their interests and year of school education. The first activity is therefore designed to introduce a broad scope about astronomy in our own solar system, whilst the subsequent activities are largely craft-based. This will encourage young people to consider aspects such as the relative vastness of space and motion. Taken from the BB Company Section Discoverer Pro Pack, Skills, Interests I1


Activity 1
Bingo score sheet (one per participant)
Astro Bingo!’ template
Astro Bingo! — Terms List’ template

Activity 2
• ‘Scenario template — one sheet per group
• Pens/pencils

Activity 3
• Pencils
• Paper
• Tape
• Scissors
• Straws
• Straw Rocket Patterns’ template
• How to make a Straw Rocket’ template


Activity 1 - Astro Bingo

Aim: To introduce young people to astronomy.

• Distribute a copy of the Astro Bingo sheet to each young person.
• On the sheet there is a grid with 25 boxes, and 25 words listed below. Instruct the young people to enter one word in each of the boxes, until all 25 boxes have been filled with a different word.
• The bingo caller will then read off the meaning of each of the 25 words (randomly), without disclosing which word they are referring to. The participants will need to relate each term to the correct meaning, and cross that word off on their grid.
• Once a young person has completed a straight line (up/down or across) they should shout BINGO, and have the answers checked through.

Tips / Advice:
You could read out the terms to the young people in subsequent weeks, to see how much information they have retained.

Activity 2 - Survival on the Moon

Aim: A fun group communication and decision making exercise.


Hand out the ‘Scenario’ template and read it with the group:

You are a member of a space crew originally scheduled to rendezvous with a mother ship on the lighted surface of the moon. However, due to mechanical difficulties, your ship was forced to land at a spot some 200 miles from the rendezvous point. During re-entry and landing, much of the equipment aboard was damaged and, since survival depends on reaching the mother ship, the most critical items available must be chosen for the 200-mile trip. Below are listed The 15 items left intact and undamaged after landing. Your task is to rank order them in terms of their importance for your crew in allowing them to reach the rendezvous point. Place The number 1 by the most important item, the number 2 by the second most important, and so on through number 15 for the least important.

After the allocated exercise time has passed, stop the groups working, and read out the following scores:

Item NASA Ranking NASA’s Reasoning
Box of matches 15 Virtually worthless — there’s no oxygen on the
moon to sustain combustion
Food concentrate 4 Efficient means of supplying energy requirements
50 feet of nylon rope 6 Useful in scaling cliffs and tying injured together
Parachute silk 8 Protection from the sun’s rays
Portable heating unit 13 Not needed unless on the dark side
Two .45 calibre pistols 11 Possible means of self-propulsion
One case of dehydrated milk 12 Bulkier duplication of food concentrate
Two 100lb. tanks of oxygen 1 Most pressing survival need (weight is not a factor
since gravity is one-sixth of the Earth’s — each
tank would weigh only about l7lbs. on the moon)
Stellar map 3 Primary means of navigation — star patterns appear
essentially identical on the moon as on Earth
Self-inflating life raft 9 C02 bottle in military raft may be used for
Magnetic compass 14 The magnetic field on the moon is not polarized,
so it’s worthless for navigation
5 gallons of water 2 Needed for replacement of tremendous liquid loss
on the light side
Signal flares 10 Use as distress signal when the mother ship is sighted
First aid kit, including 7 Needles connected to vials of vitamins, medicines,
injection needle etc. will fit special aperture in NASA space suit
Solar-powered FM 5 For communication with mother ship (but FM
receiver-transmitter requires line-of-sight transmission and can only be used over short ranges)

Tell the groups that for each item, mark the number of points that their score differs from the NASA ranking, then add up all the points. Disregard plus or minus differences. The lower the total, the better the score.

0-25 excellent
26-32 good
33-45 average
46-55 fair
56-70 poor
71-112 very poor — you’re one of the casualties of the space program!

Possible Debrief Questions
• How were decisions made?
• Who influenced the decisions and how?
• How could better decisions have been made?
• How was conflict managed?
• How did people feel about the decisions?
• How satisfied was each person with the decision? (Ask each participant to rate his / her satisfaction out of 10, then obtain a group average and compare / discuss with other groups’ satisfaction levels.)
• What have you learnt about the functioning of this group?
• How would you do the activity differently if you were asked to do it again?
• What situations at work/home/school do you think are like this exercise?

Tips / Advice:
• Appoint a time keeper in each group and encourage them to be the person who monitors the progress of the group towards achieving consensus within The time frame.
• To emphasise individual versus group decision making, split the session into three parts:
1 Individuals make their own selections first, on paper (5-10 minutes).
2 Groups (or sub-groups) Then discuss and create a group decision.
3 Compare individual and group performances, e.g.:
— For equipment scenarios, group decisions are usually more accurate than individual answers, helping to illustrate the importance of collaborative group decision-making.
— For people scenarios, score individuals according to how close the group’s decision was to their own selections of who is to live and die (an indicator of each person’s influence over the group).

Activity 3 - Construct a Model Rocket

Aim: To construct a simple model rocket

1. Distribute a copy of the templates to each young person. Ask them to:
a) Cut out the paper strip
b) Cut out fins or make your own
2. Instruct them to follow the arrows to build the rocket.

Tips / Advice:
Young people can take it in turns to ‘fire’ their rockets, seeing whose rocket can reach the furthest distance.

Safety Issues I Risk Assessment:
• When launching rockets, leaders should ensure that no person is in the ‘firing line’.
• For obvious hygiene reasons, each person should only use their own straw.

For full details and diagrams see the BB Company Section Discoverer Pro Pack, Skills, Interests I1


  • astronomy
  • astronomy moon
  • company
  • discoverer
  • interests
  • moon
  • skills
  • space

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