Teaching Notes

Example Output

Example Output
Sample graph of a transect produced using NEO ICE tool. Click image for a larger view.
In this chapter, students will use both ImageJ and NASA Earth Observation (NEO) to visualize and analyze satellite data. This image displays a map created by NEO showing Land Surface Temperature (day). A transect plot derived from the NEO Image Composite Explorer (ICE) tool is also shown here. The tools built into ICE allow students to easily explore spatial (space) and temporal (time) relationships, by animating, probing, and sampling cross sections of multiple sets of data, such as carbon sources and sinks.

Grade Level

The activity is most appropriate for students in grades 7-12.

Learning Goals

After completing this chapter, students will be able to:


Generating animations from Earth Observatory's simple-to-use Global map collection provides students with practice using a basic data access skill by visualizing side-by-side animations. Additionally, the use of NASA NEO gives students practice in requesting data for a specific time interval in a specified output format. By building the animations requested within the chapter, students will become familiar with the input settings necessary to obtain a range of data products or output. The ability to submit simple data requests to generate data products for interpretation can transfer to other data portals, enabling students to access and analyze a variety of data.

Background Information

Carbon Cycle Articles and Links
The Case Study in the EET chapter Understanding Carbon Storage in Forests gives an simple overview of carbon pathways.

For a more in-depth discussion of carbon in the Earth system, read this NASA Earth Observatory Article: The Carbon Cycle.

Examine the Mystery of the Missing Carbon by reading this story from the NASA Earth Observatory Features section.

The story Evolving in the Presence of Fire provides insight into forest systems that have frequent fire cycles and therefore a high turnover rate of carbon.

Instructional Strategies

Since the idea of using satellite imagery to track carbon in the Earth system may be new to many students, teachers will want to begin this chapter with a discussion of the carbon cycle. By including carbon cycle graphics and kinesthetic activities in the introduction to the chapter, students will be more likely to be able to visualize the connections between different datasets collected with satellites.

This chapter can be broken into several class periods. Parts 1 and 2, which use online data sets, may be taught as a single lesson. Parts 3, 4, and 5 involve ImageJ and are more complex. Teachers wanting to save time, may choose to skip this section and move to Part 6 which also uses an online analysis tool, NASA NEO. Teachers may also want to download and install ImageJ on computers before class begins.

Having pairs of students work through this chapter together will provide them with opportunities to discuss their results. Having a partner for dialogue is especially valuable in Parts 4-6 when students apply what they learned.

This chapter utilizes an instructional model developed by educational researchers at the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS). The model is known as the BSCS 5-E Model; its goal is to sequence learning experiences so that students can construct their understanding. The 5 E's are Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate.

First, students Engage with the concepts through a short activity or relevant discussion. Next, students Explore the concepts with others to develop a common set of experiences. In the Explain phase, the teacher guides the students as they develop an explanation for the concepts they have been exploring. In the Elaborate phase, students extend their understanding or apply what they have learned in a new setting. Finally, in the Evaluate phase, students and their teacher have an opportunity to evaluate students' understanding of the concepts.

You can find out more about BSCS and the 5-E model at www.bscs.org.

Assessment Strategies

To assess your own or students' ability to construct specific animations from NASA NEO collection:

Science Standards

The following National Science Education Standards are supported by this chapter:

Grades 5-8
8ASI1.3 Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
The use of tools and techniques, including mathematics, will be guided by the question asked and the investigations students design. The use of computers for the collection, summary, and display of evidence is part of this standard. Students should be able to access, gather, store, retrieve, and organize data, using hardware and software designed for these purposes.
8ASI1.4 Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence.
Students should base their explanation on what they observed, and as they develop cognitive skills, they should be able to differentiate explanation from descriptionproviding causes for effects and establishing relationships based on evidence and logical argument. This standard requires a subject knowledge base so the students can effectively conduct investigations, because developing explanations establishes connections between the content of science and the contexts within which students develop new knowledge.

Grades 9-12
12ASI1.3 Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications.
A variety of technologies, such as hand tools, measuring instruments, and calculators, should be an integral component of scientific investigations. The use of computers for the collection, analysis, and display of data is also a part of this standard. Mathematics plays an essential role in all aspects of an inquiry. For example, measurement is used for posing questions, formulas are used for developing explanations, and charts and graphs are used for communicating results.
12DESS2.1 The Earth is a system containing essentially a fixed amount of each stable chemical atom or element. Each element can exist in several different chemical reservoirs. Each element on Earth moves among reservoirs in the solid Earth, oceans, atmosphere, and organisms as part of geochemical cycles.

12DESS2.2 Movement of matter between reservoirs is driven by Earth's internal and external sources of energy.
These movements are often accompanied by a change in the physical and chemical properties of the matter. Carbon, for example, occurs in carbonate rocks such as limestone, in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide gas, in water as dissolved carbon dioxide, and in all organisms as complex molecules that control the chemistry of life.

Geography Standards

The following U.S. National Geography Standards are supported by this chapter:

The World in Spatial Terms: How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.

Environment and Society: How human actions modify the physical environment.

Time Required

Case Study: 10 minutes
Part 1: 15 minutes
Part 2: 30 minutes
Part 3: 15 minutes
Part 4: 45 minutes
Part 5: 45 minutes
Part 6: 45 minutes

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