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Grade 9 through Grade 12 (High School)
Overview and Purpose:
The Hubble telescope has provided us with many amazing images of our universe. There is always debate among scientists, politicians, and others over the money spent on continuing to search the universe with such an expensive telescope. This activity draws your students into that debate and asks them to choose a side and defend it. Debates done well can be a lot of fun, so encourage your students to relax and enjoy each other's points of view.
The student will be able to present a PowerPoint presentation defending their opinion that either money should be spent on a telescope like Hubble or it should be used for immediate needs here on earth.
PowerPoint presentation of pictures from the Hubble telescope
Internet access for the students
Show the students the pictures from the Hubble telescope. Explain that some of them came from thousands of light years away and are our first glimpses of far away galaxies. Then present how much has been spent on the telescope and compare it to needs that could be met here on Earth (i.e. Gulf oil spill, finding alternative forms of energy).
Ask students to choose whether they would be for using the Hubble telescope (or another like it) to search the universe for unknown species, planets, etc. or if they think the money should be spent here on more immediate needs.
Have them research at least five discoveries scientists have made using the Hubble telescope and then have them prepare a PowerPoint presentation defending their position.
Encourage students to choose using the Hubble if they are uncertain about how they will appear if they do not choose to address immediate concerns. Remind them all that the exercise is more about research and persuasive writing than about judging their opinions. (If they all choose world hunger, where is the debate?)