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Feel The Impact Overview
The Feel the Impact materials are part of the Adaptive Curriculum Enhancement (ACE) program developed by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL). They are designed for use with visually impaired students, whether they are found in self-contained classes or in mainstream classrooms. Some of the activities have been adapted from existing education materials designed for the Deep Impact Mission, a NASA Discovery Mission. Others are specifically designed as components of the ACE Feel the Impact materials.

The Deep Impact mission was the first experiment to probe beneath the surface of a comet, revealing never before seen materials that would provide clues to the internal composition and structure of a comet and thus to the formation of the solar system beyond Neptune. A variety of instruments, both onboard the spacecraft and at ground-based and space-based observatories around the world, observed the impact with the comet and examined the resulting debris ejected by the impact.

The ACE Feel the Impact activities are organized using an abbreviated learning cycle and are intended to be used sequentially in the order they are presented, but they have been designed to be self-contained activities that could be used to emphasize specific scientific concepts or to address specific National Science Education Standards.

When students have completed this series of ACE Feel the Impact activities, they will have had experience in conducting scientific inquiry, a greater understanding of scientific modeling, concepts of energy transfer, experimental research and analysis, including measurement and data analysis relating to the structure and evolution of comets. 

Overview of Contents

In the Feel the Impact materials, visually-impaired students are provided with a real-life context, the NASA Deep Impact Discovery Mission, in which to learn more about the solar system.  They will conduct experiments and analyze data obtained through observation and measurement of natural phenomenon.

It is estimated that the amount of time for students to complete this unit is seven to ten class periods, depending upon which options are selected for completion.

In the first two sections, Introduction to Comets and Cratering in the Solar System, students are introduced to some of the historical and current scientific knowledge that influenced the design of the Deep Impact mission. Some of the topics include:

Introduction to Comets
            Comets--What are They?
            What Kind of Structure do Comets Have?
            Why are Comets So Important to Understanding the Origin of the Solar System?
            How do Comets Evolve?
            Why was Comet Tempel 1 Chosen for the Deep Impact mission?
            What is Scientific Modeling?
Cratering in the Solar System
            What is an Impact Crater?
            The Process of Crater Formation
            Variables in Cratering
            Designing a Crater on Comet Tempel 1

In the Cratering Research section, students carry out the same type of investigation that Deep Impact mission planners conducted prior to the mission. They can gather some data on cratering and apply analysis mathematics in a manner similar to that of the mission scientists.

In What We Learned About Tempel 1, they learn how the Deep Impact scientists relied on technology to enhance the gathering and manipulation of data, how they were surprised by some of the results of the impacting of comet Tempel 1, and how this new evidence will contribute to the advancement of solar system science. Topics include:
            Facts about the Deep Impact Spacecraft
            What is Spectroscopy?
            What Did Imaging and Spectroscopy from the Deep Impact Mission Tell us about Comet Tempel 1?

National Science Education Standards Addressed In Feel the Impact Materials

Introduction to Comets
Cratering in the Solar System
Cratering Research
What We Learned About Tempel 1
Grades 5-8        
Science as Inquiry        
Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
•Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence
•Understands about scientific inquiry    
Physical Science        
Properties and changes in properties of matter
•A substance has characteristic properties, such as density, a boiling point, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount of the sample.
Transfer of energy
•Energy is a property of many substances and is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, etc.
•Energy is transferred in many ways  
Earth and Space Science        
•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.
•Most objects in the solar system are in regular and predictable motion.
History and Nature of Science        
•Nature of science and scientific knowledge    
•Scientists formulate and test their explanations of nature using observation, experiments, and theoretical and mathematical models.
•It is part of scientific inquiry to evaluate the results of scientific investigations, experiments, observations, theoretical models, and explanation proposed by other scientists.      
Science and Technology        
•Science and technology are reciprocal.  Science helps drive technology.  Technology is essential to science.  Technology provides tools for investigation, inquiry, and analysis      

Introduction to Comets
• Teacher Guide

Cratering in the Solar System
• Teacher Guide

Cratering Research

• Teacher Guide

What We Learned About Comet Tempel 1
• Teacher Guide

Educator Resources for Teaching Visually Impaired Students
Working with Visually Impaired Students and Instructions for constructing tactile models

Tactile Card Instruction and Templates
• Tactile Graphics:  How to create Braille-embossed or Swell-Form™ tactile graphics (learning)

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