Teacher Orientation: SCALE - Colossal Collisions
Students role-play as teams of scientists, designing a way to save the Earth from an imminent collision with an asteroid. Leveraging their newfound subject matter knowledge in the physical sciences and engineering, they announce their solution to the world.
In this unit from Stanford University’s NGSS-aligned SCALE curriculum, students (grades 8 and up) build their mastery of subject matter in physics and geoscience and explore essential STEM skills such as hypothesis development and engineering design process. Students work individually and in teams as they investigate and build their knowledge base. As a capstone assignment, students work in the classroom or virtual teams and apply their new knowledge to design and test solutions to prevent the collision. Finally, they develop and share a news story that explains how they have saved the world from certain destruction. The curriculum is delivered in the classroom or virtually on Scoutlier’s digital platform using individual or shared devices (Chromebooks, laptops, tablets, or mobile phones). On-demand and virtual professional development and certification for teachers are available for this program.
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Student Activity Sample
Teacher Orientation activity
This task introduces students to the final project, sparks students’ curiosity about asteroid collisions & introduces systems thinking.
Students will generate a concept map of questions and current knowledge about asteroid collisions.
Task 1- An Ancient Collision
This task focuses on teaching students how to analyze evidence and craft an argument.
Students will analyze a series of “resource cards” that contain clues about prior asteroid collisions and use that knowledge to craft an argument as to why it is important to prevent another one.
Task 2: Contact Forces
In this task, students will investigate how different factors affect the motion of objects and use this knowledge to help prevent a collision.
Students will explore Newton’s Laws in the context of gravity through a series of models. Students will also design an experiment to explore the interaction of gravity and Newton’s laws.
Task 3: Gravity- A Non-Contact Force
In this task, students will explore the concept of gravity, how it is related to mass, and how those relationships might impact their solution to deflect the asteroid.
Students will explore gravity through a series of demonstrations and models and begin drafting possible solutions.
Culminating Project: Solution Design
In this project, students and their teams are going to work together on preventing the impending collision of Etiam with Earth.
Students will work in groups to design and test their solutions based on what they have learned throughout the previous 2 tasks.
Culminating Project: News Segment
Students will work with their teams to communicate their solution to the “public” through a news segment.
Students will create a video news segment with their teams that details their plan and how it will prevent the collision. As individuals, students will write a detailed news article with the scientific support behind their solution.
Culminating Project: News Article
Students will create an in-depth written report explaining their solution and design process.
Individually, students will craft an article to inform the public in greater detail about their solution. Students will also review each other’s articles.
The curricula that this series of assignments is based on is from Stanford’s Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE). It’s part of SCALE’s NGSS-aligned curricula for 8th Grade Science, Unit 1: Colossal Collisions. For more information, refer to Stanford’s Teacher's Guide, or explore Stanford’s other NGSS Integrated Curriculum and webinars. Additionally, we have created our own Scoutlier-adapted curriculum implementation guide.
You can find the student activities for “Colossal Collisions” in our Expert Content library.